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The Ex

by Alafair Burke

Publishers Weekly Near the start of bestseller Burke's gripping standalone, New York City DA Olivia Randall receives a desperate phone call from the school-age daughter of her ex-fiancé, Jack Harris, whose wife, Molly, was killed in a mass shooting three years earlier at Manhattan's Penn Station. Jack has now been implicated in a triple murder-one of the victims was partly responsible for Molly's death-and his only defense is his flimsy claim that at the time he had an assignation with a mysterious woman he first saw drinking champagne and reading a book on a Hudson River pier. As Olivia sets out to clear his name, she begins to wonder whether Jack is not the devoted, kind, and decent man she remembers. Internally conflicted but outwardly brash, Olivia makes an appealingly bold protagonist, and while the final twist may disappoint some readers, Burke (If I Were You) keeps the suspense high throughout, prying open mysteries of relationships and perception. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip Spitzer Literary Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Twenty years ago, Olivia Randall broke up with fiancé Jack Harris, hurting him beyond measure. Now that Randall is a top New York City defense attorney, she has a chance to atone-by saving him when he's accused of murder. Most of the evidence against Jack seems circumstantial: he was, admittedly, in the area where the shootings occurred, with a fanciful alibi that he was to meet a woman he'd seen at a glance, then connected with online. But one of the victims, Malcolm Neely, is the father of a disturbed teenager, Todd Neely, who three years earlier killed 13 people, including Jack's wife. Malcolm had repeatedly refused to get his son the help he needed. Then there was the gunshot residue on Jack's shirt, plus the implied threat he made toward Malcolm. In her third stand-alone thriller (after Long Gone and If You Were Here), Burke details the pain of the Olivia-Jack breakup gradually, as the attorney loses trust slowly in her client. VERDICT Strong characters and a plot that's handled deftly, despite its complexities, show Burke at the top of her game here. This is a compelling legal thriller with a strong emotional component grounded in a solid rational base, with a final twist to boot. [See Prepub Alert, 7/27/15; see also a profile of Burke on p. 97.-Ed.]--Michele Leber, Arlington, VA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus A sassy New York City attorney defends an old love who mayor may nothave killed the man responsible for his wife's death. Enter Olivia Randall, a mouthy liberal lawyer who doesn't take "no" for an answer. When her former fiance's teenage daughter, Buckley, begs Olivia to help get her dad out of the major-sized pickle in which he's landed, Olivia finds herself returning to a time when she was young, in love, and, ultimately, a heartbreaker. At least that's the way successful author Jack Harris remembers her. When Olivia and Jack broke up, he met and married Molly, who died in a mass shooting at Penn Station. Todd Neeley, the boy who killed her along with 12 other people, took his own life after the shooting. Now his father, Malcolm Neeley, has been killed along with two others, and police think Jack shot him out of vengeance. Jack admits he was near the area where his archnemesis was murdered but swears he was there to meet an intriguing woman he had noticed on an earlier trip and who'd come forward after a friend put out a call for her online. Olivia believes she can win this case, but soon police turn up evidence that makes Jack look bad: he'd filed suit against Neeley in connection to his wife's death. Also, testing revealed gunshot residue on his shirt. As the investigation progresses, the prosecution's case only grows more formidable, leading Olivia to question whether Jack could be the murderer after all. Burke has progressed a long way since her debut, which is fortunate for fans of crime thrillers. Her latest features smooth, engaging writing; a sharp, funny edge; and characters worth investing in. Burke has created some memorable female protagonists over the years, but Olivia might be the cream of the crop. If readers are lucky enough, snarky Olivia will snag another convoluted case and make additional appearances up the road. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Olivia Randall's courtroom successes have earned her a reputation as one of NYC's most formidable defense attorneys. But Olivia is forced to face her personal failures when her ex-fiancé's daughter, Buckley Harris, reaches out. Jack Harris has been arrested for murder, and Buckley pulls no punches in telling Olivia that she is obligated to help. Twenty years ago, Jack went through a mental breakdown when Olivia broke his heart in the most horrible way imaginable. Jack eventually married Buckley's mother, Molly, but his brief interlude of happiness was destroyed when Molly was shot by an unhinged teen who opened fire on Penn Station commuters. Now, Jack has been arrested for murdering the gunman's father, and Olivia's shot at redemption relies on returning Jack to Buckley. Olivia is bolstered by evidence that points toward an elaborate setup, but glimpses of Jack's dark side create serious doubts. Readers with a few legal thrillers under their belts will unravel the mystery easily, but investment in Olivia's fully realized character will keep them reeled in to see if she can make things right.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.