Four years ago in TELL NO LIES, charismatic St. Louis prosecutor Jack Hilliard “betrayed Claire and his family, a shadow that followed him wherever he went.” He had a one-night fling with fellow attorney Jenny Dodson, an alluring person of Indian derivation and astounding beauty.
Now, Jack catches 16-year-old son Michael “getting busy” with Celeste, Jenny’s doppelgänger. Michael gets into the booze cabinet and is in no condition to drive “Cee” home. Hoping to earn his oldest son’s respect after the marital booboo, Jack keeps the alcohol and sex a secret from Claire, and takes teen Celeste home --- alone. Big mistake! Cee begs Jack to let her sober up in his car for a few hours. Jack had vowed to tell no lies, but “The lies aren’t what he says; they’re what he doesn’t say. And this is when he makes his third mistake.” Strike three. Celeste alleges rape, and a DNA conundrum casts doubt over Jack’s credibility. Ah, Jack, as Claire says, “Have you learned nothing?”
"This bestseller-bound psychological/legal thriller causes readers to question social issues and, for me, poor choices that affected my life."
Coincidentally, Jenny shows up after a four-year absence and “sends a wave of heat through his body like an addict’s first hit after a long abstinence.” She asks Jack for help with threatening letters. Who sent them and why? Her former boyfriend, Alex, was convicted of murdering Maxine, and Jenny can’t be charged again. Now, an appellate court may set Alex free, which will put Jenny’s neck in a noose --- metaphorically --- and on death row, for sure. Everything Jenny did “had nothing to do with her feelings for him and everything to do with creating the perfect alibi.”
Unanswered questions in TELL NO LIES now haunt Jack during intense courtroom drama. Presumed guilty parties are innocent…or are they? Tables turn like a tornado, as readers become quasi jurors assessing the validity of life’s prosecution and defense. I feel it is essential to read TELL NO LIES before taking on this challenging sequel.
The creative present tense omniscient viewpoint writing style puts readers in each character’s mindset, and allows the story to flow smoothly. Readers see Claire, Jenny, Michael and others not from Jack’s perspective. This bestseller-bound psychological/legal thriller causes readers to question social issues and, for me, poor choices that affected my life. The author “has a psychological grasp of people that [gives] her an edge.” At times, she waxes philosophical with zingers like, “Time is less precious to those who have more of it.”
Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on March 29, 2013