Josie Baylor-Bates has retreated from high profile criminal cases after successfully defending a woman who went on to kill her children after her acquittal. When an old college friend arrives at her door begging her to defend her daughter Josie intends to pass the case on to someone else but finds herself intrigued by her beautiful but delicate client. 16 year old Hannah is accused of killing her step-grandfather, a supreme court chief justice. Her mother and step-father seem to accept her guilt and are pushing to have her committed to a psychiatric facility. Josie though is determined to dig deeper and uncovers family, political and business tensions that all seem to have a bearing on the case.
This book is a real whodunnit and there are plenty of candidates for the role of the guilty party. There were enough twists and turns to keep me guessing and to keep me absorbed in the book. However some threads of the plot seemed to just fizzle out and I thought the author could have made more of the research Josie does into the victim's past conduct and Hannah's OCD and how it affects her behaviour. Josie begins to research the possibility that her OCD means she could not have started the lethal fire and destroyed the environment she was most comfortable in. However this line of enquiry becomes superseded by events and any in depth consideration of the subject is avoided. I also noticed a sprinkling of daft typos that need cleaning up.
I warmed to Josie who was a well defined lead protagonist. As well as her chequered legal career the reader finds out about her own troubled family past and her successes as a sportswoman. Josie finds herself questioning her own judgement to the point of almost alienating partner Archer which made her very human. Hannah is a vulnerable child but her outbursts made me unsure right up to the end about whether she was in fact guilty. It also made me think about how appropriate it is to treat a person of her age as an adult, but again this is a theme that could have been developed further.
Overall I really enjoyed this book which made for an easy crime read, and I would happily read further books in this series. At the moment this book is available for free on Amazon so if this is your genre pick it up!
Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 4*