This is a legal procedural set in Washington, D.C., about Anna Curtis, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the US. Attorney’s Office, a job the author has done in real life. Also like Anna, the author worked for a while in the misdemeanor domestic violence division. According to her interviews, the stories she encountered at work both inspired and horrified her, and she wanted to share them in the form of a novel. Why fiction? She said:
“In fiction, your characters can do all these things that you couldn’t do as a lawyer — they can run amok and do fun, crazy things that you never could do without getting into trouble.”
The protagonist, Anna Curtis, gets in plenty of trouble. Having been brought up herself in an environment of domestic violence, she finds herself repeatedly attracted to “bad boys,” but like many of the women she represents, she just can’t see what she’s doing. When her latest client ends up killed by her battering boyfriend however, Anna vows not only to avenge her dead client, but to straighten up her own life as well. Both goals turn out to be more difficult than she imagined.
Evaluation: This is Leotta’s first book, and one can detect a little unevenness in the execution. When she is on her familiar turf in the courthouse, her writing has an easy flow and expertise. Romantic scenes are occasionally awkward – but it could just be me. Personally, I can’t imagine that if I had just had a near death experience and was being hugged, that I would think to myself, “His muscular pecs rose and fell as he breathed.” I also found the exposé scene of the turns-out-to-be-bad guy a bit over the top, but again, what do I know? Leotta actually deals with a lot of bad guys; maybe being on the psychological edge makes these guys a bit apt to jump the shark.
These are just little moments in the book, however. Overall it is an entertaining reading experience. Would I read a follow-up book involving Anna Curtis? But of course!
Published by Touchstone, 2010
I really liked this book, and as I don’t really read many of this genre, it sort of stood out to me. I liked that the bad guy wasn’t easy to guess from the first scenes, and though the romance aspect did feel a little awkward, I ended really being entertained by this book. Great review, I can see we felt very similarly about it.
I’m glad you can see potential, moving forward. Good stuff!
I can totally empathize with many authors’ difficulty writing a believable love scene. The line you quote made me laugh, but I think you have to be more free in description of love scenes. Too many people are uptight about it so they rely on cliches from bodice rippers. I’ve never mastered the problem.
I got a chuckle out of the line about his muscular pecs! I don’t think I’ve ever had a thought like that in my life.
Haha! I don’t know WHAT I’d be thinking if I had just had a near-death experience.
Glad you liked the character and appreciated the book for the adventure (not the pecs)
You made me laugh with your description of pecs and hugging and near death experiences! I think I have a copy of this one – I remember the vivid colors. Packed away, of course. I’ll keep it in mind.
I think the love scenes are very hard to make natural in a book…maybe all mention of ‘pecs’ should be left out..lol
Haha! Love the part about the muscular pecs! 🙂
I so would not be thinking about the pecs if I just escaped death!! Sounds like a good book for the most part!
So into this genre right now!
I love reading debut novels because you can see the flaws (weird, I know). You can still tell when they have real talent and it’s like you are in on something at the ground level. This looks like one I’d like. Love books set in DC.