A BACKCOURT by Kris Allis

A BACKCOURT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When an accidental death becomes an obsession, a grieving mother takes the law into her own hands in this novel.

Lacy Brogdon has gone by many names: Lacy Larson, Marilyn Little, and most recently Olivet Wendell. Using a fake ID, the former Mrs. Wendell takes her husband’s money and flees to New York, determined to track down Orella Bookings, the woman who killed her son in a hit-and-run accident years ago but was never caught. In short, punchy chapters, the hunt takes place between July 25 and Aug. 4, 2008, and follows multiple characters to Miami, New York City, Las Vegas, and Peach Grove, Georgia. Orella has never met Lacy, but she already knows she’s in her cross hairs. Her friend Kathy Stockton—along with a team of police officers, a computer expert, and a private detective—was in the middle of investigating Lacy for a murder when she learned of her plan. But crafty Lacy always seems to be one step ahead of them. The large cast of characters is slightly unwieldy, but the players connect in surprising ways—from Grover Crawley, a coldhearted pimp, to Celestine North, a party girl whose catchphrase is “I’ll never go south on you, baby”—and eventually they lead to Lacy. Not all of the characters are likable in Allis’ (A Moving Screen, 2016, etc.) lively tale, but they are complex: Rajha, a mysterious hit man with no last name, learned to kill from his abusive foster father. Rochester Miller, acting chief medical examiner, has a porn habit and a chip on his shoulder but is surprisingly reverent toward the bodies he examines. Even Lacy has a soft side—her love for her son blinds her to his serious flaws, and she uses her Christian faith to justify her actions. And Orella always seems to have a drink in her hand, even when she knows she needs to keep her wits about her, which gives her more depth.

Full of red herrings, exciting locations, and meddling strangers, this multifaceted mystery shows how mishaps happen when there’s more than one plan.

Page count: 319pp
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
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