Book Reviews: This Body of Death by Elizabeth George and Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta

This Body of Death
Elizabeth George
Harper, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-116091-2
Mass Market Paperback

In the 16th Inspector Lynley novel, we find him at home after having completed his wanderings around Cornwall trying to find peace following the murder of his wife.  Still undecided as to what to do in the future, he is approached by the temporary department head, Isabelle Ardery, to return to Scotland Yard to help her make the transition to the post for which she supposedly is “auditioning.”  She is quite aware that the team of Lynley’s co-workers resent her and Tommy can smooth the way for her to gain their support and even possibly their respect.

All too soon the body of a young woman is found, murdered, in a cemetery, and they all undertake to solve the case.  There are plenty of suspects both in London and in Hampshire, where the woman originally came from.  Ardery is like a bull in a China shop, and blunders regularly, Lynley a calming influence even if his status is undetermined.  And to add to the reader’s confusion is the regular recounting every couple of chapters of the ten-year-old murder of a two-year old tot by three boys aged 10 and 11.  Not until near the end is the reason revealed.

The novel is quite long, some 640 tightly written pages, and for some could present a tedious exercise.  However, the prose is smooth and the descriptions of the people and places skillful.  The plot is well-constructed and it is very much worth it to have Tommy back.

Recommended.

[It should perhaps be noted that the pb edition has also been issued in a larger trim size, ISBN 978-006204485-3, for $11.99]

Reviewed by Ted Feit, January 2011.

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Law of Attraction
Allison Leotta
Touchstone, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4391-9384-6
Hardcover

This initial effort from this author focuses on a couple of aspects of a legal thriller including a young female prosecutor, Anna Curtis,  in D.C., domestic violence, and the emotional ups and downs of her personal love life, not necessarily in that order.  It might be noted that the author is a Federal prosecutor in D.C., specializing in felony sex crimes.

The heart of the storyline is a case involving a young woman who is constantly abused by her boyfriend.  And as is not uncommon, she constantly relents, taking back the abuser until it is too late.  In this case, she does have him arrested, and recants her story during the trial so he walks away.  And then she is murdered.  Her boyfriend is again arrested and brought to trial for the deed.

From that point, the story really gets interesting, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader wondering what comes next.  And what comes next certainly isn’t anticipated.  About the only criticism this reader has revolves around the fact that the courtroom scenes are relatively superficial, and the legal aspects similarly glossed over (perhaps not a bad thing for the average reader).  The prose flows, and the emotional highs and lows of Anna’s romantic involvements and how they affect her work and the plot contribute substantially to the story.

Recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, January 2011.

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