My new character-driven legal suspense novel, Weighing the Truth, has just been released in print and electronic formats. Here is a review by Midwest Book Review.
“Weighing the Truth‘s legal suspense story opens with Natalya Drummond and her colleague’s visit to their client in San Quentin Prison, as they work on his death-row appeal case.
“But even in the beginning, all is not as it seems: Nat’s determination to do a good job as a defense lawyer for some of the most dangerous people in prison is offset by her recognition that her job holds conundrums and special challenges other kinds of lawyers don’t face every day: “Nat was trying to figure out how they could get through the visit efficiently and spend the least possible time in the company of the pugnacious rapist-murderer they were supposed to get off of death row. None of the inmates she’d represented in the past were as vicious as Hegner, even though they’d all committed serious crimes. And this was her first visit to a death row inmate—and one who was threatening them besides. Despite Hegner’s hostility, though, Nat wanted to do a good job on his case; she didn’t do things half-assed. A man’s life was at stake, after all.”
“It’s this determination to not just perform a duty but do it well that lands Nat in trouble as events spiral out of control to challenge all her values and intentions. From little annoyances to big issues, Nat finds her carefully honed façade of control and efficiency being attacked on different levels (“She took several deep breaths, reminding herself she had to act composed, unruffled. That was the way women attorneys were supposed to act, despite any stray emotion—at least from her observation of the older female lawyers she knew; they never seemed to flinch at anything that was sprung on them, however humiliating or outrageous.”), to the point that her professionalism and goals begin to erode.
“From how appellate lawyers handle issues of guilt and innocence and develop a “natural sense of justice” to Nat’s suddenly questionable drive to be conscientious against all odds, Weighing the Truth is more than a legal thriller. It’s a close inspection of morals, ethics, and values in the face of threats, gang involvement, attorney interactions, and a level of professional involvement that suddenly turns all too personal, unexpectedly placing Nat on the other side of the witness stand.
“As Nat’s situation leads to a series of nightmares and a brutal attack, she finds herself moving away from everything familiar and set in her life.
“Fans of legal thrillers are in for a treat: where competing books are driven by legal cat-and-mouse courtroom encounters,Weighing the Truth instead provides a riveting focus on the motivations, psychology, and sometimes-conflicting special interests of the criminal defense lawyer, surveying how this can spill into personal lives and choices.
“Far more character-driven than most legal thrillers, Christine Z. Mason’s approach will delight readers who look for more personal touches and protagonist development in their legal fiction.” —D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review