By Debbi Mack
241 pages, 2009,
available in print and downloadable
The novel rides squarely on the protagonists capable shoulders. She’s a bright and upright independent lawyer with her own practice. Stephanie Ann McRae can be a potty mouth at times, but her infrequent tirades are self-directed. Does she make mistakes? You bet. Does she fault herself when it happens. You bet. Does she occasionally skate a little close to the legal of not the ethical line? For her client, sure she does. Maybe her emotions are a little close to the surface, for a lawyer, but it all works and somehow, by page 10 you’re saying, “I’m on board. I wanna see this through to the end. Go Sam!” Because “Sam” McRae has grabbed you for the ride.
Sam is smart, but not infallible, doesn’t leap even low bushes at a single bound, so she’s easy to relate to. Early on she discovers that the FBI and her local cops are interested in her client, Melanie, because of a murder. Melanie isn’t exactly a suspect she’s a person of interest. The problem is, Melanie has gone missing.
The next thing you know Sam, who isn’t what you’d call well-off, learns that she—or someone using her name—is applying for a substantial line of credit. Mild panic insues and another layer is added to the mix. Is Sam’s client involved in the identity theft? And what’s that black limo doing, the one that appears to be shadowing her at times?
There are a lot of characters in this novel, most of whom are interesting, some of whom might has been more fruitfully developed. Sam’s love interest is at times al most an afterthought. Occasionally the writing meanders, but mostly the story maintains a high level of interest and forceful pace. The author has a keen eye for character and her writing is usually smooth and interesting. I enjoyed the novel all the way to its satisfying conclusion.