Former federal sex-crimes prosecutor Leotta’s third novel propels her protagonist, Anna Curtis, into the dark world of gang violence.
Anna Curtis works as a federal prosecutor on the mean streets of Washington, D.C., where just about anything and everything that can happen does. This time around, the plucky, beautiful, blonde Anna finds herself caught up in a case that leads right back to the vicious Hispanic gang MS-13, or the Mara Salvatrucha, a real-life gang known for its violence and disregard for life and the law. When things go wrong in the bust of a brothel, Anna takes over the prosecution of a gang member caught by police. But even though the case has terrible overtones, Anna is on a personal high because she’s finally agreed to marry the man of her dreams, widower Jack Bailey, head of the homicide division of the federal prosecutor’s office. Along with Jack, Anna inherits Olivia, Jack’s precocious 6-year-old daughter, whose mother, Nina, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty years ago. When Anna’s present case is linked to Nina’s death, Anna pulls the files and finds disturbing information that could lead her to Nina’s as-yet-unidentified killer; but before that can happen, a bombshell is dropped on Anna’s world, and she finds herself being preyed upon by the gang and wondering if her life will ever return to normal. The plot is cohesive, and the details surrounding MS-13 and its particularly virulent brand of violence ring true. Although Anna comes off a bit selfish in her refusal to drop prosecution of the case after being threatened, thus putting Olivia and Jack in danger, too, and an incident of courtroom violence seems far-fetched, the story still works.
Leotta shows her strongest suit when she places her action in the courtroom in this pleasing third effort.