Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong, twisty plot
Cons: Characters were more flawed than I like
The Bottom Line:
Rachel caught between
Past, present, and two lawyers
Who can she trust now?
I’ve been playing catch up on a lot of different authors this year, something I’ve greatly enjoyed. I had let myself fall behind on Hank Phillippi Ryan’s stand-alone thrillers, but by reading The Murder List, I’m now ready for this month’s new release.
This book introduces us to Rachel North. At 36, she’s not your traditional law student, but she is married to Jack Kirkland, one of Boston’s premier criminal defense lawyers. Once Rachel graduates, the plan is to join forces and form an unstoppable partnership.
Before that can happen, Rachel has to complete a summer internship, and she’s landed one with ADA Martha Gardiner. Jack hates the idea because he and Martha have crossed paths multiple times over the years in court and neither likes to lose. Rachel argues that this will give her the opportunity to learn the opposition’s tactics so she can be a stronger partner after she graduates. Martha seems to single Rachel out on the first day of the internship and spends extra time with her. But is Rachel caught in the middle of a twisted rivalry between Jack and Martha?
This book takes place partially in the past, mostly in the present, and includes scenes from Rachel’s first-person point of view as well and Jack and Martha’s third person point of view. Before you let that worry you, each change is very clearly marked so it is easy to follow.
Just how easy is it to follow? While I do own the book, I listened to the audio narrated by Angela Dawe, and I had no problem at all following when and who I was with as the events unfolded.
I knew very little about this book before I started it outside of the title and the idea that a cat and mouse game was going to be involved. In this case, I think reading a teaser might have helped me a bit. My preconceived notions lead me astray at first since the book wasn’t what I was expecting. However, I soon got caught up in the story that was being told. And yes, this is completely on me.
The story that is told is intriguing for sure. Poor Rachel, and therefore poor us, doesn’t quite know what is going on and what she can and can’t share with someone. That is if there is anyone trustworthy she can confide in. The book keeps you guessing until you get to the climax.
My bigger issue were the characters. This book really is about Rachel, Martha, and Jack. They are deeply flawed characters, and we seem to be seeing them at their worst. At various times I was rooting for one or more of them, but my loyalty shifted as the book went along and I the bad sides of all the characters. I prefer to have at least one character I can root for the entire way through, so this was an issue for me at times.
Still, I’m glad I finally got The Murder List read. If you like twisty suspense, this is definitely the book for you.