Those of you who read my blog regularly have probably realised that my preferred location for crime fiction is the UK and although I’m not adverse to fiction from other lands per se, when it comes to how crimes are investigated and tried, I tend towards the UK. I have however recently got (belatedly) hooked on the TV series, The Good Wife, which has given me my sole grounding on the roles of the US defence and prosecution attorneys. So when I opened The Ex and was immediately introduced to the defence attorney, Olivia Randall I felt at home. Olivia is rung by the teenage Buckley Harris to ask her to help her father who is talking to the New York Police Department following a shooting in a nearby park.
Olivia had been in a serious relationship with said Jack Harris and has harboured guilt about the end of their relationship ever since. It is quickly established that Jack was at the park, he’s been caught on CCTV and the police soon come up with what seems like an excellent motive, one of the victims was the father of the boy who shot his beloved wife Molly in a mass shooting three years earlier. Jack with other families caught up in this earlier shooting were suing the father, but this had just been dismissed as no case to answer. Jack is confident all will be ok, after all he has an alibi of sorts, a good if totally bizarre reason to be at the park. Surely this misunderstanding will soon be cleared up?
This novel had me longing to know more with enough dilemmas to keep me questioning, not only whether Jack was guilty or not but also how wise Olivia was to take on the case given their shared background, albeit one that had ended on a sour note some twenty years before. The pace is good with the revelations if not coming thick and fast, in a steady drip so that if you are like me your opinion will change about the main protagonists a number of times before the finale. But best of all for me, was the courtroom drama which was a mirror image of an episode of The Good Wife with Olivia coming up with alternative scenarios to ensure that, despite the seemingly iron-clad evidence the prosecution have unveiled, that Jack will go home to care for his teenage daughter Buckley. All of this isn’t helped that her own investigations make Olivia herself wonder how well she really knows Jack now, and maybe how well she ever knew him.
I’m not going to pretend that I particularly liked many of the characters, they all, including Olivia had something ‘off’ about them, but I don’t read books to become friends with those who inhabit the pages, I read to be entertained, and this book gave me bucket loads of entertainment as well as a mystery to be solved. And yes, for once I had it worked out, not too early on, but satisfyingly not just before it was finally revealed so as well as a cracking good read, I get a pat on the back!
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Faber and Faber who granted my wish on NetGalley which allowed me to read this complex drama that certainly kept my brain working at trying to solve the mystery while giving me a great courtroom drama.
The Ex was published on 2 February 2016 so if this sounds like one you’d enjoy, I suggest you get a copy.