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Tuesday, May 12, 2015


4 stars out of 5

This is the second book in the series featuring Joe Dillard, who started as a criminal defense attorney in the first, An Innocent Client. This time out, he's switched to the dark side; burned out by his experiences defending guilty clients, Joe has accepted a job in the prosecutor's office. He'll make less money, but the opportunity to make amends for getting all those baddies off, he believes, will make up the difference.

He learns early on, though, that the office is no bed of roses; he's forced to work with another attorney who's at best a bumbling idiot, but the guy is related to the boss's wife and therefore enjoys free rein. At first, Joe is assigned to a rape case that is similarly complicated; the accusation is against an "upstanding" businessman who's a pillar of the local rural Tennessee community. While that's evolving, a family of four is brutally murdered. In short order, a retired high school principal and his wife meet a similar fate, and the evidence (and a witness) point to two young men and a young woman, all of whom are Satan-worshippers.

The young men are captured, and it's up to Joe to make sure they get their due (for one, that's execution, but not for the other one, who's a juvenile and thus ineligible for the death penalty under Tennessee law). There's insufficient evidence, though, to reel in Natasha, the young woman believed to be at the very least the instigator of the grisly murders if not the killer herself. She remains on the outside  looking in, making everyone involved worried that before long, she'll stop looking and start acting. And with Satan as her guide, life for everyone involved in the case soon could become a living hell.

Events move along at a rapid pace, prompting me to carve out extra time to get it finished. If I have a complaint, it's that the ending seems a little too contrived (and admittedly, the Twilight Zone aspect turned me off a bit). The epilogue wrapped up all the loose ends in a neat and tidy fashion - but again, a bit too quickly for my liking (and, IMHO, some of those ends were a little too important to warrant such short shrift).

As I said in my review of Pratt's first Dillard book, I'm happy to find a new-to-me series I can turn to when I'm looking for something easy to read and/or to fill in the gaps between release dates of books by my favorite authors. Although this one may be a tad less enjoyable to me than the first one, it certainly didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the series. On to the next!

In Good Faith by Scott Pratt (Phoenix Flying Inc., December 2013); 384 pp.

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