A former criminal lawyer, seeking vengeance against the man she believes is responsible for her sister’s suicide, gets entangled with dangerous culprits in this thriller.
Oregonian Angeline Porter is visiting Paris, but she’s not there for sightseeing or romance. The ex-attorney is hunting Gerard Duvernet, the married Frenchman who had an affair with her sister, Sophie. She blames him for Sophie’s tragic decision to kill herself as well as the unborn child Angeline assumes was Gerard’s. Under the pretense that she’s journalist Helen Craig, Angeline plans to murder him with poison, but the charismatic Frenchman isn’t the monster she anticipated. Moreover, after finally deciphering Sophie’s laptop and cellphone passcodes, she discovers startling new information that could change everything. Back home, Angeline’s chemical engineer husband, Hank, suffers a debilitating injury. To cover the costly treatment, Angeline goes to great, potentially immoral lengths. Unfortunately, certain individuals linked to Sophie and Gerard eventually track her down, thinking she, for starters, has access to a sizable bank account. Before long, Angeline finds herself immersed in a whirlwind of deceit, theft, blackmail, and worse. Murder may soon even prove a necessity, though not out of a sense of retribution, but rather mere self-preservation. Brooks’ (A Killing in Kauai, 2018, etc.) book, compiling a trilogy of preceding novellas featuring Angeline, is filled with genuinely surprising plot turns. What’s on Sophie’s cellphone, for example, takes the story in an entirely new direction. But it’s the protagonist who will astonish readers the most. Angeline is ethically ambivalent: A rapist client at her old law firm receives due punishment courtesy of her illicit deed. She nevertheless remains appealing throughout, as she readily acknowledges her flaws. Bolstering those traits is Angeline’s frank and distinctive first-person narration: “Somehow, I’ve now turned into an observer of my life, the emotions sitting deep inside me like a vault.” The work concludes with an exposition-heavy wrap-up that’s likewise absorbing and logically sound.
A zigzagging tale reinforced by a striking and complicated protagonist.