Source: Review copy, Netgalley
Publication: 13 June 2019 from Head of Zeus
It was just one night. But it was a night that would destroy everything.
Judge Juliana Brody is a woman with principles. She is happily married, she doesn’t drink, she doesn’t lose control. She definitely doesn’t sleep with a handsome stranger at a law convention. Except that, last night, that is exactly what she did.
Matias understands that if anyone found out about their one-night stand, it would destroy Juliana’s marriage and, most likely, her career. They agree that they will never see each other again.
And then, a week later, he walks into her courtroom.
Julia knew that her latest brief, a high-profile sex discrimination case, would make her some powerful enemies. But she didn’t expect her own life and the lives of her family to be put in mortal danger…
Judge Juliana Brody has everything. She is highly regarded by her peers, has a happy marriage and two children, one of whom is in remission from cancer and she sits on the Massachusetts Superior Court. On a trip to Chicago to speak at a legal conference she makes an error of judgement that will jeopardise everything she holds dear.
I do love a legal thriller; there’s something about the complexities of the law that makes for a fascinating read and I love those cases where it is one individual pitched against a mighty corporation.
That’s the case here, where Judge Brody is presiding over the case of Rachel Meyers versus Wheelz. Meyers is claiming that the management of Wheelz created a hostile work environment where sexual harassment was rife. You wouldn’t think that would be worth killing over would you? And yet, someone is determined that Judge Brody needs to bring this trial to a speedy conclusion – in the defendant’s favour and they are prepared to do anything to make sure that happens.
Compromised, with her marriage damaged, Juliana has to decide whether to give up everything she stands for or to find a way to fight back. Along the way she will find a series of Government agencies that have been more than prepared to let the enemy in through the front door and to offer them a seat at the table.
Juliana tries hard to get out in front of the situation; these are seriously dangerous people unused and unprepared to be crossed. Eliciting help from a private investigator and her old friend Martha Connolly, Juliana must prepare for the fight of her life if she is to survive
Part legal thriller, part espionage story we’re back in cold war territory, except for the welcoming in the Russians with open arms, bit. The plot feels very contemporary, and although the basic premise is well –worn, Finder is able to bring some new twists to it.
The reader will, of course, have to suspend their disbelief in order to get the most out of this cat and mouse action thriller where things fall together in a way that does not mimic real life.
The chapters are short and sharp and there’s enough action and suspense in the story to keep you reading. But the plot is a bit of a leap; the middle is quite well padded and the characterisation lacks depth.
Nonetheless, this is exactly the sort of book I might take on a summer holiday. Entertaining, fast paced and you don’t have to think too hard about it.
Verdict: Summer reading for lovers of legal and espionage thrillers.
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Joseph Finder is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen previous novels including The Switch, Suspicion and The Fixer. Finder’s international bestseller Killer Instinct won the International Thriller Writer’s Award for Best Novel. He studied Russian at Yale and Harvard, after which he was recruited by the CIA. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo: Ryan Jehangir