Thursday, December 14, 2017
IMPERFECT JUSTICE by Cara Putman
A lawyer herself, Cara Putnam gives readers into the stressful world of those who use the legal system to help victims of domestic
abuse in the new book IMPERFECT JUSTICE. As the book opens lawyer Emilie Wesley waits for a client to appear at a hearing for a domestic protective order. When Kaylene does not show, Emilie fears that the woman has lost the courage to seek protection from her husband. Within minutes of arriving back at her office, Emilie learns that Kaylene is dead and so is her teenage daughter. Video recovered by the police make it appear that Kaylene was the shooter, and now her younger daughter is in critical condition at the hospital. Her husband maintains that Kaylene went on a shooting spree intending to kill the whole family. Nothing in this scenario seems believable to Emilie, and the failure to get Kaylene and her daughters away from their home situation weighs heavily on Emilie.
Although the director of the Haven, the shelter where Emilie works, tells the young lawyer to move on, she just can't. So when Kaylene's brother Reid contacts her saying that he discovered a letter requesting him to seek custody of the girls if anything should happen to Kaylene, Emilie agrees to work with Reid to find out the truth about the shootings.
Putnam has made Emilie an interesting protagonist. Kaylene's death has put her in a tailspin, resulting in her work suffering, both at the Haven and at her second job writing legal stories for an online publication. Then she begins to feel that someone is following her and when she finds an unsigned note in her purse, she is sure she is being stalked. She doesn't share her fears with Reid or anyone, but
as her anxiety increases she becomes more sure that her car accident months earlier is somehow attached to whomever is following her now. Reid himself is a bit of an unlikely action hero. The younger brother of Kaylene, he could have probably helped her, but he never knew of her abusive situation. Her death makes him feeling guilty and bound to honor her letter, but his real skills lie in making investment profits for his wealthy clients, not in confronting police about crimes. Naturally as Reid and Emilie work together, attraction grows, but really both are too fragile to see how deep that caring goes.
This book clearly does show that justice can be imperfect. Emilie's job shows that protective orders (restraining orders) can seem to risky for abuse victims to seek, and too often the professionals who want to help cannot convince victims that action will be successful.
Then there is the weak, slow moving investigation of the supposed murder-suicide. This suspense book is NOT a book of chase scenes, but rather a quieter gathering of bits and pieces of truth about Kaylene's family. Emilie's own stalking story, well - that's another story!
If you've read other Cara Putnam books and liked them, then I am sure you will like this addition by a best-selling legal thriller author.
At times I felt the book moved a bit too slowly, but I was drawn into the world of those who chose to help victims of domestic situations. Although Kaylene's husband's presence in the novel is very much in the background, Putnam did an excellent job of showing his cruel domination and his perverted sense of power.
I received a copy from Litfuse. This review reflects my own opinions.