A young lawyer with secrets of her own finds that her new husband is about as trustworthy as the murderer she’s representing on appeal.
Lily Macdonald, 25, thought her new life with Ed, a graphic designer with aspirations to paint full time, would be grand. She’s a newly minted solicitor in London, two months into a new marriage, with a shiny new case: the appeal of Joe Thomas, convicted of murdering his girlfriend by shoving her in a scalding bath. Joe and Lily’s initial conversations smack of cut-rate Hannibal and Clarice Starling scenes, with none of Thomas Harris’ nuance of character. In fact, none of Corry’s characters in her disappointing U.S. debut have much in the way of nuance; only a general sheen of unpleasantness that settles over every interaction, be it personal or professional. Besides Lily and Ed and their less-than-blissful marriage, Corry introduces their neighbors across the hall, Italian immigrant Francesca Cavoletti and her 9-year-old daughter, Carla, who catches Ed’s eye as the perfect artistic subject. While Francesca spends time with a “special friend,” Carla hangs out with the Macdonalds while Lily pursues Joe’s appeal and wrestles with her childhood demons, which neatly connect to the case. A somewhat preposterous fast-forward finds the characters 12 years older but no wiser: Lily and Ed have a son with Asperger’s; Carla is a knockout law student back from Italy; and Joe is still causing trouble from the sidelines. New romantic liaisons are formed, as are legal ones, none of which will surprise the careful reader.
Unsavory, unrepentant characters interspersed in a plot that’s as predictable as it is far-fetched make for an uninspiring read.