Tag Archives: legal suspense fiction

Book Review: Imperfect Justice

18 Jan

The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . .  can they?

To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie’s belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.

Reid Billings thought he knew his sister — right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene’s letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.

Thrown together in the race to save Kaylene’s surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl — and find a future for themselves in the process?

Cara Putman is a homeschooling mom of four, attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women’s ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband, and her kids. Cara graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School, and Purdue University’s MBA program. You can learn more about her books at http://www.caraputman.com. And if you’d like a copy of her legal suspense novella, Dying for Love, simply connect with her here (http://www.caraputman.com/contact/) , and she’ll send you the link.

My Impressions:

Imperfect Justice is the first book by Cara Putman that my book club has read. And judging from the demands of members, it certainly won’t be the last. This page-turning romantic suspense got two thumbs-up from By The Book.

Emilie Wesley is a lawyer who fights to protect her clients from abuse and harassment. She knows a thing or two about that, having encountered an abusive boyfriend and a stalker. But something goes horribly wrong with one of her clients, and the woman she vowed to protect is dead and so is the daughter she is accused of killing. Emilie teams up with her client’s brother to find the truth and protect Kaylene’s surviving child.

Imperfect Justice combines suspense, romance and legal drama in one satisfying read. Members of By The Book found the characters real and relatable and the plot realistic. We had a great discussion of the aspects of protective orders and family violence. We also agreed that we never saw the ending coming — a big plus with our group. We read a lot of suspense, and if a book manages to surprise us, that is a big plus! Members also agreed that we liked the sincere faith of the characters, especially Reid. There were some minor plot points that we found a bit convenient and we thought Reid’s niece recovered a bit quickly, but all in all we recommend this novel.

Imperfect Justice is the second book in the series, but is easily read as a standalone. By the time we finished our discussion, many were clamoring to get a copy of book 1, Beyond Justice. And, I imagine that book 3, Delayed Justice will make more than one member’s TBR list.

Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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#ThrowbackThursday! Snapshot by Lis Wiehl

11 Jan

I have seen a number of #ThrowbackThursday posts today and thought, I have got to get in on that action! What a great way to highlight books that are still with me — those I think about long after I have closed the cover. This week I am sharing Snapshot by Lis Wiehl. My book club read this suspense novel several years ago and it was a hit. Our favorite genre is definitely mystery/suspense so of course we had to read it, but it also brought back the turbulent times of the 1960s. If you haven’t read Snapshot, we recommend it to you. If you have, we’d love to know your thoughts.

Two little girls, frozen in black and white. One picture worth killing for.

The Civil Rights Movement is less than a distant memory to Lisa Waldren—it is someone else’s memory altogether, passed on to her through the pages of history. Her life as a federal prosecutor in Boston feels utterly remote from the marches in the South that changed her father’s generation—and the entire nation—forever.

But the truth is, she was there.

When a photograph surfaces showing a blond, four-year-old Lisa playing with an African-American girl at a civil rights march in Fort Worth, Lisa is faced with a jarring revelation: the girls may have been the only witnesses who observed the killer of civil rights leader Benjamin Gray . . . and therefore the only ones who can exonerate the death row inmate falsely accused of the murder.

Soon, Lisa finds herself in the dangerous world her father had shielded her from as a child. After some searching, the Waldrens find the other little girl from the photo and, in the process, uncover conspiracy mere steps away from the likes of Bobby Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and J. Edgar Hoover.

Lis Wiehl is one of the nation’s most prominent trial lawyers and highly regarded commentators. Currently, she is the legal analyst and reporter on the Fox News Channel and Bill O’Reilly’s sparring partner in the weekly “Is It Legal?” segment on The O’Reilly Factor. Prior to that she was O’Reilly’s co-host on the nationally syndicated show The Radio Factor. She is also a Professor of Law at New York Law School. Her column “Lis on Law” appears weekly on FoxNews.com.

Prior to joining Fox News Channel in New York City, Wiehl served as a legal analyst and reporter for NBC News and NPR’s All Things Considered. Before that, Wiehl served as a Federal Prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s office.

Wiehl earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland.

Wiehl is also the author of The 51% Minority, which won the 2008 award for Books for a Better Life in the motivational category, and Winning Every Time.

She lives with her husband and two children in New York.

My Impressions:

Lis Wiehl has become a favorite author of my book club, By The Book. We love suspense, so we chose Snapshot for our November selection. Inspired by Wiehl’s father and a real-life snapshot of Wiehl as a child, this novel has all the elements for those who love suspense — fast-paced plot, smart and savvy characters, and conspiracies galore. It also has a tie to real events in our nation’s history. Perfect for history buffs and mystery/suspense fans.

Federal prosecutor Lisa Waldren has had a strained relationship with her ex-FBI agent dad for years. When he calls with a plea to help him uncover the real killer of a Civil Rights activist from the 1960s, she is persuaded to join the case not just to bring justice to a man on death row, but to build some bridges. With the help of her father’s unconventional PI girlfriend, Lisa’s friend Drew and Molly the now grown up little girl from the long ago snapshot, the team uncovers long kept secrets and unearths the truth surrounding long lost friends.

I imagine that my book club will have lots to talk about when we meet at the end of the week. Snapshot is inspired by real events in Wiehl and her father’s past. There should be good discussion on the current state of race relations in the U.S. as well as what has or hasn’t changed from the mid-196os. We have a large age span in our group (from 30s to 90+), so it should be interesting to hear everyone’s insights. The plot of this novel should also satisfy those of us who like a good mystery. Although the bad actors are disclosed early on in the book, the reader is left guessing motivations. There are also a number of shadow characters that come to light at the end of the book. There are only brief references to faith in Snapshot. Only one character seems to really live her life for God and she is a minister. Her influence is big at the end and should elicit good discussion as well.

All in all, I liked Snapshot. In fact, it is probably my favorite by Wiehl to date. Have you read this one? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

January Book Club Selection

1 Jan

This month By The Book is reading Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman. Putman is a new author for us, but this novel is in our favorite genre, so I think we will love it. Have you read it yet? We would love to know your thoughts.

 

The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . .  can they?

To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie’s belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.

Reid Billings thought he knew his sister — right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene’s letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.

Thrown together in the race to save Kaylene’s surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl — and find a future for themselves in the process?

To purchase, click  HERE

(From the author’s Amazon page) Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara Putman has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There she met Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, she shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, she’s been writing award-winning books with the count currently at 25.

In addition to writing, she is a homeschooling mom of four, attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women’s ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband, and her kids. Cara graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School, and Purdue University’s MBA program. You can learn more about her books at http://www.caraputman.com. And if you’d like a copy of her legal suspense novella, Dying for Love, simply connect with her here (http://www.caraputman.com/contact/) , and she’ll send you the link.

 

If You Liked A Time to Stand . . .

30 Nov

If you liked BTB’s November 2017 selection, A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow, check out these books!

The Color of Justice by Ace Collins.

Two racially charged cases. Two attorneys searching for the truth. But only one will stay alive long enough to find it. 

1964

Justice, Mississippi, is a town divided. White and black. Rich and poor. Rule makers and rule breakers. Right or wrong, everyone assumes their place behind a fragile façade that is about to crumble.  When attorney Coop Lindsay agrees to defend a black man accused of murdering a white teenager, the bribes and death threats don’t intimidate him. As he prepares for the case of a lifetime, the young lawyer knows it’s the verdict that poses the real threat—innocent or guilty, because of his stand Coop is no longer welcome in Justice. As he follows his conscience, he wonders just how far some people will go to make sure he doesn’t finish his job?

2014

To some, the result of the trial still feels like a fresh wound even fifty years later, when Coop’s grandson arrives in Justice seeking answers to the questions unresolved by the trial that changed his family’s legacy. When a new case is presented, again pitting white against black, this third generation Lindsay may have the opportunity he needs to right the wrongs of the past. 

But hate destroys everything it touches, and the Lindsay family will not escape unscathed.

Home at Last by Deborah Raney.

Why did their differences matter so much?

Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he’s stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters’ efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work, and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.

All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother’s white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn’t repeat in polite — well, in any company. Her father’s family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry’s incarceration, life has left Shayla’s father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn’t people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?
Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl’s aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee’s On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse. (BTB’s February 2018 Selection)

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete–and the people he loves most — will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

No Greater Love by Kathi Macias.

Forbidden romance, an unlikely martyr, and an even more unlikely hero. Orphaned four years earlier when their parents, active in the African National Congress ANC movement against Apartheid, were murdered, 16-year-old Chioma and her 15-year-old brother Masozi now live and work on an Afrikaner family’s farm. When Chioma and Andrew, the farm owner’s son, find themselves attracted to one another, tragedy revisits their lives. Chioma escapes to join an ANC rebel band in her effort to survive and gain revenge for her family and culture. When cultures clash in life-or-death struggles, Chioma must choose between violence and revenge or forgiveness and selfless love. Loosely based on historical events and set near Pretoria, South Africa, in the violent upheaval prior to ANC leader Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 and his ascendance to the presidency of South Africa, this story of forbidden romance produces an unlikely martyr who is replaced by one even more unlikely.

Top 10 Tuesday — Winter TBR

28 Nov

Although winter is officially a few weeks away, it is never too early to make a list for those long evenings when only a cup of something warm, a cozy chair and afghan, and a good book will do. Here’s my Top 10 Winter TBR — including review books and book club selections. Looks like I have a lot of good reading ahead! For more reading lists for the long winter months, check out The Broke And The Bookish.

 

Top 10 Winter TBR

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert

The Heart Between Us by Lindsey Harrel

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman

In This Moment by Karen Kingsbury

Life on The Porcelain Edge by C. E. Hilbert

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stewart

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris

 

What’s on your winter TBR list?

 

 

Book Review: A Time to Stand

21 Nov

In a small Georgia town where racial tensions run high and lives are at stake, can one lawyer stand up for justice against the tide of prejudice on every side?

Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable — defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice and to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.

Robert Whitlow grew up in north Georgia. He graduated magna cum laude from Furman University with a BA in history in 1976 and received his JD with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1979. A practicing attorney, he is a partner in a Charlotte, NC law firm. He and his wife Kathy have four children and three grandchildren.

Robert began writing in 1996. His novels are set in the South and include both legal suspense and interesting characterization. It is his desire to write stories that reveal some of the ways God interacts with people in realistic scenerios.

 

My Impressions:

Robert Whitlow is one of my book club’s favorite authors. We read every book that he publishes. A Time to Stand was our selection this month, and we were not disappointed. A timely novel, it looks at the prejudices and preconceived attitudes of a small southern town — a town that reflects America as a whole. We found this an excellent look at the racial divides within our society. Highly recommended.

A Time to Stand begins with the shooting of an unarmed African American teenager by a young white policeman. As the investigation begins, the sentiments of the town fall along racial lines. Whitlow does a great job of showing the deep-rooted prejudices and injustices that influenced the modern day attitudes of both sides. At the center of the action is Adisa Johnson, a young black lawyer who at first wants to serve as a special prosecutor in the case, but comes to represent the police officer. Controversy follows quickly.

Forgiveness is a major theme of the novel. As the young man who is shot fights for his life, his grandmother who raised him calls upon her community to grant forgiveness to the police officer. She never says justice shouldn’t be served, but does call for the healing that forgiveness can bring. Her character also causes controversy and causes Adisa to reevaluate her own beliefs. The criminal investigation and legal proceedings are interesting, but really take a back seat to the evolution of the main characters and the community as a whole as they are forced to confront deeply held beliefs that do not align with what Jesus teaches. There are plenty of twists and turns to the story, but at the end the characters and the community are stronger for the lessons learned.

A Time to Stand is Whitlow at his best. He is a strong writer whose characters speak to the hearts of his readers. There’s a lot to learn from this book, and it will cause the reader to reevaluate their own thinking. Another highly recommended read from Whitlow.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Thankfulness Edition

21 Nov

I have been a nag, bully, proponent of Christian fiction for some time now. Not only can you be sure of a clean read, but you get a book that encourages, enlightens, or just plain entertains. It’s no surprise — God is the master storyteller! And when you have an author who wants to bring glory to Him, then you are sure to have a winner. So when the folks at The Broke And The Bookish set this week’s theme as Books I Am Thankful For, I knew I would have a hard time sticking to just 10. I decided to pick the books I have read in 2017 that made me think, taught me something, or were a joy to read. I kept the list to an even dozen. To find out what books other bloggers are thankful for, click HERE.

A Dozen Books I Am Thankful For

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Home at Last by Deborah Raney

How Sweet The Sound by Amy Sorrells

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

A Trail of Crumbs by Susie Finkbeiner

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

True to You by Becky Wade

Why The Sky Is Blue by Susan Meissner

Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green