A sleuthing lawyer returns to the streets of New York in this mystery of drugs, murder, and financial skullduggery, the sequel to Praise Her, Praise Diana (2014).
A former pro bono attorney who once helped apprehend a serial killer, Jane Larson is now a rising star in corporate litigation at Adams & Ridge, a prominent New York City law firm. She’s still smarting from the abrupt departure of her boyfriend, David Bialo. The intense, time-consuming job is to blame, and she entertains second thoughts about her career. A lull in her workload and a legal assistant’s plea cause Jane to take over a case of unpaid alimony and child support after the plaintiff’s lawyer dies. Gail Hollings, Jane’s new client, is anything but sympathetic, but Gail’s former husband, Larry Hawkins, is worse. A small-time attorney who’s had his law license suspended, Larry may also be a drug dealer. After he’s found dead, a clear-cut professional hit, Jane discovers that Larry had stolen serious money from the mob. But where is it? Most disturbing is that several of Jane’s acquaintances, including David and her best friend, Lee, also knew Larry and maybe were his customers. Finding Larry’s client files becomes a race among Jane, the police, and the killer. Luckily she meets another lawyer, Bryan, who becomes a source of protection, and more. In this second Larson outing, the husband-wife team of Rothman-Hicks and Hicks (Kate and the Kid, 2016, etc.) has again produced a fast-paced, engaging story. The first-person narrative delivers both caustic wit and serious reflection. Jane is complex, nuanced, and utterly believable as a conflicted professional debating her life’s choices (“Yes, I have been known to throw things and come out with witty but rude remarks after a few too many drinks. However, I have never made myself a fool for love, and I didn’t intend to start now”). The writing is generally so smooth and taut that the occasional bumps—hackneyed language and unnecessary foreshadowing—are easily forgiven. The plot takes on perhaps excessive speed at the end; the riveting climactic scene involves a lot of characters appearing rather suddenly and a bit too conveniently. And, to tie things up, the financial machinations could have used more details and clarity as well. Yet, overall, this is a satisfying read.
An enjoyable romp involving a shady attorney and the mob that should make readers look forward to the next Jane Larson caper.