Tag Archives: legal suspense

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters Like Me, Because It Really Is All About The Books

7 May

I found this week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt — Characters That Remind Me of Myself — a bit daunting. I lead such a boring life, that it would never make it as a book. ūüėČ I really struggled to come up with the requisite 10 to fill this post, until I started thinking about what consumes a lot of my thoughts — books! I read them, talk about them, blog about them, sniff them . . . . Anyway, I came up with a list of characters that are surrounded by books too. I really wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them because of their issues, and the fact that some regularly stumble on dead bodies or engage in nefarious activities! And while my husband may say our home is starting to look a lot like a bookstore or library, I do not work at either. But I am a book pusher¬† enthusiast who makes sure everyone has the opportunity to get their hands on the story that is just right for them. Whether you like cozy mysteries, suspense, romance, women’s fiction, or time-slip novels, I hope you find a book you just need to read!

For more fun with doppleganger characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.


A Dozen Book Pushing Characters

(aka booksellers or librarians)

Bruce Cable — Camino Island by John Grisham

Violet and Daisy Waverly —Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Annie Laurance Darling — Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart

Callie Randall — Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

Helma Zukas — Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

Madeline, Janet, and Carrie — The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Rick Denton — Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

A. J. Fickry — The Storied Life of A. J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin

Claire Malloy — Strangled Prose by Joan Hess


Which character is like you?

Audiobook Review: Lethal Beauty

11 May

549051It should have been an open and shut murder case, but Mia Quinn finds out nothing about it is simple.

After a young Chinese prostitute is stabbed to death by her rich American client, the tabloids dub Dandan Yee ‚ÄúLethal Beauty‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒdespite the fact that she was the one who ended up dead. Yet even with double standards and naked prejudice working against her, Seattle prosecutor Mia Quinn is determined to get justice for Dandan Yee.

But when a key witness goes missing and an unsavory juror shuts down deliberations without explanation, Mia fears the trial‚ÄĒand the law‚ÄĒare being tampered with.

A constellation of fresh killings has Mia and homicide detective Charlie Carlson searching for a common source and puts Mia’s family in the crosshairs of a Chinese crime cabal. Meanwhile, Dandan Yee’s mother has opted to take matters into her own hands . . . and the stakes get more lethal overnight.

In the midst of all this, Mia has to contend with a fifteen-year-old son who is growing up too fast for his own good, and the idea that Charlie might want to be more than just friends. Can Mia and Charlie stop the murders and still keep her family safe? Or is the very act of seeking justice enough to cost her everything‚ÄĒand everyone‚ÄĒshe loves?


568299Lis Wiehl is one of the nation‚Äôs most prominent trial lawyers and highly regarded commentators. Currently, she is the legal analyst and reporter on the Fox News Channel and Bill O‚ÄôReilly‚Äôs sparring partner in the weekly ‚ÄúIs It Legal?‚ÄĚ segment on The O‚ÄôReilly Factor. Prior to that she was O‚ÄôReilly‚Äôs co-host on the nationally syndicated show The Radio Factor. She is also a Professor of Law at New York Law School. Her column ‚ÄúLis on Law‚ÄĚ 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:

Lethal Beauty is the third installment in Lis Wiehl’s Mia Quinn Mystery series. I have listened to all three books on audio and have enjoyed them all. Running throughout the series is the mystery behind Seattle prosecutor Mia Quinn’s husband’s death. This fact and the ongoing impact on Mia’s personal and professional life from the loss of her husband makes me recommend that you begin at the beginning. Otherwise you will miss some crucial pieces to the story.

The action begins in the courtroom. Mia is concluding a highly publicized murder trial in which the victim has been dubbed by the press as the Lethal Beauty. Forces are working behind the scenes to achieve a certain outcome. But as always, Mia is determined to see justice served. On the personal front, Mia’s family continues to deal with the void her husband Scott’s death has caused. Evil continues to creep at the door.

Wiehl’s novel deals with some tough issues and truths in the not so pretty world we live in. Crime rings which deal in drugs, prostitution, human smuggling, and enslavement are the focus of Lethal Beauty. Their tentacles are far-reaching and more often than not are not recognized by law-abiding citizens. Even as a prosecutor, Mia is unaware of what really goes on behind the scenes of seemingly legitimate businesses. The seedy underworld encroaches on middle America with little warning. On a more personal front, Mia’s character, still struggling with grief and betrayal, portrays an all too familiar reality. Her family life consists of ordering pizza, making food from boxes and rushing the kids to school and daycare as she struggles to meet professional obligations. Mia’s non-existent spiritual life continues to be challenged, and her mind and heart open ever so slowly. Mia has a lot more growing to do, and I hope there are more books to follow.

I recommend Lethal Beauty (and the first two books in the series) to all who like realism in their suspense novels. The characters, though flawed, are relatable. The crimes are ugly, but exit in our country. And the truth that is presented is available to all.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE. 

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


Author, Author! — Robert Whitlow

4 Aug

Robert Whitlow is a film-maker and a best-selling author of eight legal thrillers. He is also a contributor to a short story The Rescuers, a story included in the book What The Wind Picked Up by The ChiLibris Ring. In 2001, he won the Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction, for his novel The Trial.

His debut novel, The List, was made into a movie starring Malcolm McDowell.

In 2010, Whitlow’s second novel,¬†The Trial,¬†a film based upon Whitlow’s Christy Award Winning book¬†The Trial, and directed by¬†Gary Wheeler, was produced as a movie. The screenplay for the movie¬†The Trial¬†was written by¬†Mark Freiburger. The movie starred¬†Matthew Modine,¬†Nikki Deloach,¬†Robert Forster,¬†Clare Carey¬†and¬†Bob Gunton¬†[1]

Robert Whitlow is also a practicing attorney and lives in North Carolina.  (From Wikipedia)

Robert Whitlow stands at the top of the list of my book club’s favorite authors. ¬†We have read and discussed all of his books, except two: ¬†The List (which some had already read, but we watched the movie) and Water’s Edge (because it has just come out). ¬†I had the opportunity to sit down with Robert and his wife Cathy at the ICRS last month. ¬†Here are some highlights of our talk.

BTB:  What is your writing schedule and research practices?

Robert: ¬†Because I still practice law, I tend to write in the evenings and sometimes on the weekends. ¬†I like to keep time open for my family though. When deadlines are coming close, I will spend much more time. ¬†As to research, my legal experience helps with that aspect of my writing. ¬†I will do research on the places in which the books are set. ¬†Water’s Edge is set in northwest Georgia, an area we lived in for some time. ¬†I also did research on Ponzi schemes for¬†Water’s Edge. But, generally I have very little actual research hours invested in each book.

Kathy:  He is very disciplined in his writing schedule.

BTB:  Of all your books, which one is closest to your heart?

Robert: ¬†My first book, The List¬†and ¬†my book Jimmy are what I call “inspired books”, books I had to write. ¬†Writing Jimmy had a huge impact on my life. ¬†Following the publication of Jimmy, my daughter gave birth to my grandchild who has Downs Syndrome. ¬† My other books I believe are “sanctified imagination”.

BTB:  Jimmy had an alternate ending published online, why?

Robert:  I presented the publisher with both endings and they choose the ending to be published in the book.  A movie version of Jimmy is also currently in the works.

BTB:  Are the movies adapted from your books different?

Robert:  I am involved in the whole process of producing a movie.  The movies become independent works from the book on which it is based.  For The Trial, the focus was on healing from grief, so parts of the novel that were not integral to the focus were not included.

BTB: ¬†What is your newest book, Water’s Edge, about?

Robert: ¬†A young lawyer on the rise in Atlanta is faced with the death of his father, also an attorney. He has to deal with all the issues involving his father’s death, including the closing of his law office. In the novel, the young lawyer has to go back to his roots in order to find purpose in his life. ¬†I have used Jeremiah 6:16 for this book (The¬†Lord¬†said¬†to his people:¬†‚ÄúYou are standing¬†at the crossroads. So consider¬†your path.¬†¬†Ask¬†where the old, reliable¬†paths¬†are.¬†Ask where¬†the path¬†is¬†that leads to blessing¬†and follow¬†it.¬†If you do, you will find¬†rest¬†for your souls.‚ÄĚ ¬†But they said,¬†‚ÄúWe will not¬†follow¬†it!‚ÄĚ NET)

BTB:  Can you tell us about the novel you are currently working on?

Robert: ¬†The first draft of my newest novel is due August 1. ¬†It will be a standalone featuring a High School student faced with an unplanned pregnancy. ¬†The year is 1974, the year of the Roe v. Wade decision. ¬†The action then jumps to a point in the future. ¬†It will be a very emotional story. ¬†(Robert shared a little more about the book, but Kathy very wisely advised I not tell too much! ¬†Let’s just say, you won’t want to miss this one when it is finished.)

A Big Thank You to Robert and Kathy for speaking with me.  

My Husband’s Impressions:

Copies of Water’s Edge were snapped up quickly at the ICRS, so the publisher, Thomas Nelson, sent me a copy of to read and review. ¬†Unfortunately that copy was snatched up too — by my husband! ¬†Brian is a huge fan of Robert Whitlow and was eager to read Water’s Edge. Because it was his birthday, I let him. Here are some of Brian’s thoughts about the book.

It kept me wanting to read more and more. ¬†The main character, Tom Crane, has a set view on what success is, until he returns to his hometown and to the law practice of his dead father. ¬†He runs into all kinds of people around town who tell him what a success his father is, something he has a hard time believing since he has bills and back taxes to take care of. ¬†His uncle is also was a great character. ¬†A retired preacher, he is often awakened at night to pray for the issues Tom is facing. ¬†And the prayers, often unknown to Tom, impact the direction that Tom goes. ¬†The scripture the uncle quotes is very relevant and applicable for the day to day. ¬†Probably the best book Robert Whitlow has written.”


(I received Water’s Edge from Thomas Nelson. ¬†The opinions expressed by my husband are his alone, no coercion from anyone, including me!)