Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Review: Least Wanted by Debbi Mack

Least Wanted is the second book in this mystery series featuring lawyer Sam McRae. I’m not exactly sure why I started with this one instead of Identity Crisis. Maybe the description sounded more interesting, maybe I liked the cover better. In any case, this is the one I read first.

I fell in love with Mack’s writing from the very first page. The prose was clear, engaging, and vivid with just the right amount of wit. The author does a great job of introducing us to Shanae and Tina Jackson, two characters vital to the story.

In fact, I think Mack’s description of Tina in the first chapter should be studied by writers who want to make their characters come alive. Just the right mixture of metaphor, exposition, and dialogue, which, by the way, sounded pitch-perfect to my ear.

As soon as I reached the third chapter, however, the story changed directions completely. I was thrown off, and it took me a moment to understand Sam McRae was now taking on a different case. This was, I think, both the book’s greatest strength and greatest weakness. On the one hand, having Sam involved in three (maybe four?) different cases at the same time added a nice touch of realism. Real lawyers do in fact work on more than one case at a time. The juggling of these cases also provided for a nice glimpse into Sam’s personal life. On the other hand, trying to keep the cases and characters straight felt like more of a challenge than it should have been.

My other quibble with the story was with the ending. Without spoiling it, I felt that Sam should have had more of an active role in a climactic confrontation, and that this confrontation was over far too quickly to satisfy.

On the whole, though, Least Wanted had more than enough intrigue and detection to keep this mystery fan happy. I enjoyed the twists and plot developments, and I especially loved Sam’s snarky attitude. I look forward to future adventures with her, and won’t hesitate to buy the next one when it comes out.

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