Book Review: Maximum Security, by Rose Connors

Copyright 2004 – Rose Connors

Scribner – published by Simon & Schuster

Hardcover, 255 pages

At the urgent request of Harry Madigan, Marty takes on the defense of Louisa Rawlings, a woman suspected of murdering her wealthy husband.  Harry is Marty’s law partner.  He’s also her lover – but he used to be Louisa’s.

Marty is simultaneously intrigued and disturbed by her new client.  Louisa Rawlings is Marty’s polar opposite.  Glamorous and charismatic, she’s entrenched in the good life, openly coveting every luxury money can buy.  District Attorney Geraldine Schilling believes Louisa was motivated by greed, and to Marty, that motives seems all to plausible.  It also seems too tidy.  Marty’s gut tells her the murderer was motivated by something far more personal.

As the evidence against Louisa mounts, though, Marty begins to doubt her own judgement.  The people she normally turns to for perspective are incapable of helping her.  Her young associate, Kevin Kydd, is so bewitched by Louisa that he’s in danger of jeopardizing his entire career.  And Marty fears that Harry might be too…

When I picked up this book at the local library I was mainly interested in an easy read, garden variety crime novel.  That’s pretty much what I got.  The main character, defense lawyer Marty Nickerson is likeable and the narrative flows smooth and easy.

The story jumps quickly into the meat and potatoes of the murder for which Louisa Rawlings is accused.  The characters are interesting and the circumstances of the crime (and the relationships between the characters) set up the book for some really juicy scenes of drama, twists and betrayal.  The first few chapters really hint at some potential rekindling of a relationship between Louisa and Harry, and the evidence against Louisa is circumstantial but strong.  The scenes of Louisa’s bail hearing are probably the best in the book, where we meet the calm and wise judge whose tolerance and enjoyment of the weird and wonderful ways of the justice system make for some entertaining scenes.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the story really lived up the potential.  John Grisham this is not.  The ending was fairly predictable and I have to admit, I really didn’t “get” the clues that Marty finds when she’s investigating the murder on behalf of her client.

Despite these shortcomings, the book is an enjoyable read.  If you’re looking for a garden variety crime novel, albeit one which is probably better written than most, this book is a great choice.  It won’t get your pulse racing too hard, but you’ll almost certainly enjoy it.

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