An engaging legal thriller that brings to mind the intelligence and ambiguity of The Good Wife.

KEEP NO SECRETS

In the follow-up to Compton’s debut novel, Tell No Lies (2008), a formerly adulterous district attorney must defend himself in court when a 16-year-old girl wrongly accuses him of raping her.

Jack Hilliard thought he’d put the past behind him. It’s been four years since we last saw him, when he was elected St. Louis district attorney, cheated on his wife with fellow lawyer Jenny Dodson and got embroiled in a murder case as a result. But when he takes too long driving his son’s girlfriend, Celeste—who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jenny—home after she and his son come home drunk, he unwittingly opens a door to the events he’s been trying to forget. Although Jack parked by the side of the road for hours because Celeste insisted that her father would be angry if he found out she’d been drinking, Celeste accuses Jack of raping her. The accusation and resulting charges, along with Jenny’s mysterious reappearance, throw a wrench in Jack’s life. His wife grows distant, his son won’t talk to him, and he can’t quite bring himself to stay away from Jenny, even if only to help her try to figure out who has been sending her threatening letters. Nor can he figure out why Celeste is accusing him of something he didn’t do, though he suspects her father has been abusing her. Compton, a former lawyer with a sharp legal eye, is tuned into the moral ambiguities that can arise in a prosecution. Her strongest writing comes in the riveting courtroom scenes, and her understanding of her characters is equally nuanced. Readers will have a hard time not rooting for Jack, a compelling if sometimes frustrating man whose innocence is never in doubt, though his adeptness at lying to himself about his own morality and what he really wants with Jenny isn’t particularly admirable or attractive. Aside from an unrealistic climax that takes Compton away from her strengths, the absorbing story makes for a worthy sequel.

An engaging legal thriller that brings to mind the intelligence and ambiguity of The Good Wife.

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0988793224

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Fresh Fork Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2013

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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