An unconventional, absorbing legal thriller with elements of fantasy and the supernatural.


In this thriller sequel, a criminal defense lawyer’s newest case involves fallen angels and their human/demon offspring.

Virginia attorney Samson Young’s life has gotten more complicated lately. A woman connected to a case he defended and an anonymous call to his office both mention a ski trip that Sam knows nothing about. This ties to his subsequent summons to appear on Mount Hermon at the Israel-Syria border. His apparent clients in a lawsuit are Azazel and the fallen angels, who, having served a sentence of 70 generations in fire, wish to return to heaven. Sam will also make an appeal for these angels’ immortal hybrid children to become full, mortal humans. Meanwhile, he and his law partner, Amelia Griffin, continue working on cases in Bennet County. They defend a man accused of killing his wife who supposedly confessed his crime to a cellmate. Unexpectedly, Sam realizes this client and others are somehow connected to the Mount Hermon trial. Specifics on this case or those named in the summons aren’t easy to come by, as Sam’s questions generate cryptic responses. Still, it’s clear that some don’t want this particular dispute resolved; unknown individuals threaten or attack the attorney and his friends. Sam may also have a personal link to the fallen angels’ lineage. He has a telepathic ability that he uses in moderation, and his somewhat obscure family history features a relative who seems to have survived death. Soon, the protagonist will appear in front of a panel of archangel judges, with reputedly untrustworthy Samael as his opponent.

Leibig’s cross-genre novel, like the preceding installment, is first and foremost a legal thriller. For example, the counselors’ arguments propel the supernatural trial despite the presence of angels and discussions of immortality. This lawsuit teems with familiar courtroom sights, such as the calling and examining of witnesses, attorney objections, and closing statements. In the same vein, the author grounds the fantasy side of the story by often citing religious texts, including the Bible and the book of Enoch. Leibig deftly weaves religious references into the defense of the hybrids (seemingly punished for their fathers’ deeds) and the fallen angels’ backstory. The engrossing novel retains mystery as well. Sam (and readers) may surmise his connection to the angels and the hybrids, but he doesn’t get clarification until later. The author handles this with tongue-in-cheek observations, frequently noting characters’ intentional vagueness: When a member of Sam’s family “did answer, her words were often a response not to the question someone had asked, but rather to the question they should have asked.” Humor also comes in the form of snappy one-liners by Sam or legal investigator Nguyen Jones: “You’re always stitching up their softballs”; “You thought Paulo was fixin’ to trim our hedges.” While Nguyen serves as comic relief, Amelia proves herself a competent lawyer who is just as capable as Sam. The strong cast also includes characters whose dubiousness makes them unnerving, particularly as Sam believes someone is responsible for more than one recent death. There’s resolution by the end and a good chance Sam’s bizarre adventures are far from over.

An unconventional, absorbing legal thriller with elements of fantasy and the supernatural.

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64663-295-4

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Koehler Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A unique story of transcendent love.


An aimless young musician meets the girl of his dreams only to have his newfound happiness threatened by several inexplicable—and possibly supernatural—events.

The story opens as Leeds Gabriel meets with a detective while his girlfriend, Layla, is restrained in a room one flight above them. Through the interview, readers learn that Leeds was wasting both his time and his musical talent playing backup for a small-town wedding troupe called Garrett’s Band when he spied Layla dancing her heart out to their mediocre music at a wedding. When Leeds approaches Layla, their connection is both instant and intense. A blissful courtship follows, but then Leeds makes the mistake of posting a picture of himself with Layla on social media. A former girlfriend–turned-stalker wastes no time in finding and attacking Layla. Layla spends months recovering in a hospital, and it seems the girl Leeds fell for might be forever changed. Gone is her special spark, her quirkiness, and the connection that had entranced Leeds months before. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, he brings Layla back to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. When they get there, though, Leeds meets Willow, another guest, and finds himself drawn to her in spite of himself. As events unfold, it becomes clear that Willow will either be the key to saving Leeds’ relationship with Layla or the catalyst that finally extinguishes the last shreds of their epic romance. Told entirely from Leeds’ point of view, the author’s first foray into paranormal romance does not disappoint. Peppered with elements of mystery, psychological thriller, and contemporary romance, the novel explores questions about how quickly true love can develop, as well as the conflicts that can imperil even the strongest connections. Despite a limited cast of characters and very few setting changes, the narrative manages to remain both fast-paced and engaging. The conclusion leaves a few too many loose ends, but the chemistry between the characters and unexpected twists throughout make for a satisfying read.

A unique story of transcendent love.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0017-8

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense.


Twenty years after Chloe Davis’ father was convicted of killing half a dozen young women, someone seems to be celebrating the anniversary by extending the list.

No one in little Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, was left untouched by Richard Davis’ confession, least of all his family members. His wife, Mona, tried to kill herself and has been incapacitated ever since. His son, Cooper, became so suspicious that even now it’s hard for him to accept pharmaceutical salesman Daniel Briggs, whose sister, Sophie, also vanished 20 years ago, as Chloe’s fiance. And Chloe’s own nightmares, which lead her to rebuff New York Times reporter Aaron Jansen, who wants to interview her for an anniversary story, are redoubled when her newest psychiatric patient, Lacey Deckler, follows the path of high school student Aubrey Gravino by disappearing and then turning up dead. The good news is that Dick Davis, whom Chloe has had no contact with ever since he was imprisoned after his confession, obviously didn’t commit these new crimes. The bad news is that someone else did, someone who knows a great deal about the earlier cases, someone who could be very close to Chloe indeed. First-timer Willingham laces her first-person narrative with a stifling sense of victimhood that extends even to the survivors and a series of climactic revelations, at least some of which are guaranteed to surprise the most hard-bitten readers.

The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2508-0382-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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