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Synopsis from GoodReads: A terrified single mother must travel through hell and back to clear her name and protect her children from their maniacal father. Kelly Jensen is only six years old when she witnesses her mother's murder and her father's wrongful conviction. Thrown into foster care, Kelly is both abused and neglected, and by age fifteen she is a runaway, relying on her street smarts to become a master at identity theft. Kelly accepts the marriage proposal of a man who she thinks can offer her a better life, only to fall victim to his vicious enslavement. Years later, estranged from her husband and struggling to support her children, Kelly becomes a suspect in the murder of her lover, a congressman. Defence attorney Jake Brooks finds Kelly irresistible, and his obsession leads him to risk his own career to help her. Together, the two uncover a sordid link among immoral foster care parents, high rollers in Vegas, politicians, Kelly's husband, and law enforcement itself. Kelly ultimately takes fate into her own hands - in the grey zone that exists outside the black-and-white world of the legal system.
Review: I received this book as an ARC from the publicist (thank you so much!); I found out about it from Shelf Awareness. The mystery/thriller genre was my first love as far as books go, so I was really excited to start reading this.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Kelly was so dynamic and mysterious. Her knowledge of stage make-up leads her to become a master of disguise, easily transforming herself into other people in order to get information or execute part of her plan. It's obvious to see how her rough childhood shaped her into the person she became. The death of her mother, for which her father was imprisoned, the abuse of her foster family, and her marriage to a man that she thought would save her from it all, but who only dragged her farther into her own personal hell. As a result she puts up walls and trusts only a few. She is such a strong individual, choosing to escape her powerful husband to keep her and her children safe. I really liked Jake Brooks too. He comes off as a blood thirsty defense attorney, but underneath it all he's also kind and caring. He also had good instincts, somehow convinced that Kelly did not kill Porter, his best friend, even though she made a pretty good suspect.
I thought the story was very well written, the author got me hooked in just a few chapters. There was a lot of suspense and mystery that had me trying to guess what would happen next. A few parts made my heart pound, wondering what direction the book would take. I really enjoy books that don't have obvious major plot points, I like the element of surprise and the shock when I wrongly guess the twists and turns.
The only thing that didn't really work for me in this book was the romance between Jake and Kelly. Porter, who happened to be Kelly's lover and Jake's best friend, had just been brutally murdered and yet they seem to move on pretty quick. On Jake's end, I would think your best friend's lover would be off limits, especially since he just passed away. Kelly makes a comment that she didn't expect to fall in love with Porter, but she had; I don't think I would be getting over the death of someone I loved so quickly. Don't get me wrong, I really wanted Jake and Kelly to get together - eventually. In my opinion though, they didn't even spend enough time together to really get to know each other well enough, to be able to say they loved each other.
I thought the issue of abuse of foster children was handled really well. It's horrifying to think that anyone could harm a child, especially to foster children who have already been dealt an unfortunate card in life. To think that people take the so called "bad kids" just so the government will give them more money is appalling, and I imagine a lot of these kids are abused when the foster parents don't know how to handle them or don't want to try. This book makes me want to do something, to help out these kids that have been through so much. It would be amazing to become a foster parent, but even something as simple as participating in Big Brothers/Big Sisters (you can request to be paired with a foster child if you wish) would do a lot of good.
Overall this was a great read, very well written and kept me on my toes the whole way. If you like a good mystery, some suspense, and a little romance thrown in for good measure then you will definitely enjoy this book. So make sure you add it to you list of books to read this year, you won't want to miss this one!
Rating: 4/5 stars
If you would like to learn more about the author, Daphna Edwards Ziman, you can check out her webpage here
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Posted by Jamie Kline (Bookerella) at 4:33 PM