Sunday, March 19, 2017

Book Review (2017 Edgar Nominee): The Ex by Alafair Burke

The Ex

Author: Alafair Burke
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Date of Publication: January 16, 2016
Pages: 304

     This is a topsy-turvy roller coaster ride of a book which keeps you guessing until the last pages.  Olivia Randall is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in New York City who is hired by her ex-husband.  Jack Harrison, the "Ex", is now a widower and single Dad.  His second wife Molly was tragically killed in a mass shooting three years prior.  Three seemingly random people are murdered in a park in Manhattan and Jack is first a "person of interest" and then is charged with the murders.   Jack has motive:  one of the murder victims is the father of his wife's shooter.  Jack was also in the area of the shooting and physical evidence links him to the shooting.  Jack's explanation for being nearby is a shaky story about a woman he met on the internet inviting him to meet there.   The police see this as a slam-dunk conviction.  Olivia sees this as a set-up.

     Olivia culls miles of surveillance tapes, boxes of phone records and internet data to ferret out the details of a complex hoax.  The police, on the other hand, use the same data to build a more formidable case against Jack.

     This is a very contemporary murder mystery - well written with characters who are very believable, if not all that likable.  The conclusion was a surprise to me and wrapped up all of the numerous loose ends in a complex plot.  All in all, this was an entertaining read which kept me guessing until the very end.  The plot was a bit convoluted but made sense in the end.  This is a very worthy nominee for the Edgar Award.


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