author: Michele Campbell
published: 3 October 2023
publisher: St. Martin's Press
source: Book of the Month
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
A young Harvard law student falls under the spell of a charismatic judge in this timely and thrilling novel about class, ambition, family and murder.
Madison Rivera lands the internship of a lifetime working for Judge Kathryn Conroy. But Madison has a secret that could destroy her career. Her troubled younger brother Danny has been arrested, and Conroy is the judge on his case.
When Danny goes missing after accusing the judge of corruption, Madison’s quest for answers brings her deep into the judge’s glamorous world. Is Kathryn Conroy a mentor, a victim, or a criminal? Is she trying to help Madison or use her as a pawn? And why is somebody trying to kill her?
As the two women circle each other in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, will they save each other, or will betrayal leave one of them dead?
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why I chose this book
Being the daughter/granddaughter/great-granddaughter of lawyers, I’m frequently drawn to legal thrillers. The premise of corruption and the blurred lines of good versus bad intriguied me.
The story is told through the dual perspectives of Madison Rivera, a law student who lands a coveted internship with a favorite proffessor/judge, and Kathryn Conroy, the judge herself. Both women hold secrets that could all too easily end both of their careers, secrets that throw them together in unexpected and inextricable ways.
The book does begin a little slowly, but it picks up quickly, and then it doesn’t stop. It is an exciting read with so many twists and turns. It’s a page-turner!
There is so much character development as the story unfolds, particularly with Kathryn’s character. The author takes the reader deep into the life and mind of the judge, although less though with Madison. But through both women, we explore the other characters involved. Kathryn’s POV delves into her past, revealing dark secrets that have informed her past, present. and future in terrifying ways. Her secrets forced her into decisions and situations that she otherwise never would have made, a life she was desperate to escape. Her story was very compelling to me, figuring out how her circumstances came to be. Madison’s perspective was very different, as she’s forced to navigate the treacherous waters between career, family, and being true to yourself.
The story was chilling at times, heart-pounding, in no small part because the events and situations occuring felt entirely possible in real. There was no suspension of belief necessary at any point, none of it seeming impossible or even improbably. The conclusion was very satisfying, answering all the necessary questions in a way that felt right to the story.
My only complaint was the imbalance between Kathryn’s story and Madison’s. There was much more focus on Kathryn’s, with her character being the real driving force behind the story. The reader is offered a much deeper look into Kathryn, into her past. But the same is not true for Madison, and I feel like a deeper insight in her might have made her feel more like a fully formed character, rather than a dupe or plot device for the judge. Although, this did change eventually.
content warning: ❗some graphic violence❗
POV: 3rd person
keywords/phrases: law, conspiracy, mob, corruption
spice: 0 🔥
- The story delves deep into the mind of Kathryn, allowing the reader to really see the things that have informed her past, present, and future.
- For both women, it’s a story of impossible situations, of the fight for control in their own lives.
- The events of the story felt incredibly true to life, which made the story chilling.
- The conclusion was very satisfying.
- I do wish there had been more depth to Madison’s past.
Read this if you like twisty legal thrillers, conspiracy plots, and stories with vague lines between the good guys and the bad.