Mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, horror & YA by "Cheryl Kaye Tardif" & romance by "Cherish D'Angelo". Cheryl is represented by Trident Media Group in NY.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Salon: An Innocent Client by Scott Pratt

4 stars!

Recommended for: anyone who enjoys legal thrillers

Read this novel and you’ll be guilty of one thing: immense enjoyment in a clever thriller!

Defense attorney Joe Dillard is burnt out and sick of defending guilty killers. He wants nothing more than to throw in the towel and walk away from it all. But first he wants one thing that will make his career worthwhile; he wants to defend one innocent client.

Angel Christian is a beautiful young woman with a secret and troubled past. She’s moved to Tennessee to waitress at the Mouse’s Tail, a steamy strip club owned by Erlene Barlowe. After one of the customers—Reverend John Paul Tester, who used his church’s money to fund his after-hours entertainment—becomes aggressive with Angel, a murderer sets out to make the man pay. The Reverend's body is found in a motel, minus an important body piece.

Agent Phillip Landers from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is a slimy, arrogant womanizer, and one of the least likeable characters in this novel. Landers will do anything to help prosecute this case and to settle old scores, even if it means convincing Dillard’s druggie sister to testify against her brother’s client and getting her to lie in court.

There are many other interesting characters, including Erlene Barlowe, the “madam” of the strip club who keeps her girls in line, even if it means telling them to lie. Her relationship to Angel is motherly, a trait that is intriguing. Erlene’s involvement in the case creates riveting twists and turns, and an unexpected conclusion that will leave you satisfied. And just when you think it’s over, the author throws in one last “hold your breath” scene.

An Innocent Client is an excellent thriller with compelling characters. Its only flaw is that the first half of the book has too much “tell” and not enough “show”, which bogs down the pacing. The second half is much tighter. Debut novelist Scott Pratt sets up the crime, invites us to the scene, allows us insight into the investigation, puts us in the jury box and delivers a strong close. Kudos, Scott!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of The River and Divine Intervention

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