Deadly Proof (2017) by Rachel Dylan is the first book in the Atlanta Justice series. This novel was recently published on September 5, 2017 by Bethany House Publishers. This novel comes in all forms including eBook, and is 311 pages in length. With a full-time job and a precocious five-year old, this story took me four days to read. I received a free copy of Deadly Proof through the LitFuse Publicity Group. This in no way has influenced my opinion of the book. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give this novel 4 STARS. This novel is a Contemporary Christian Romantic Suspense.
About the Book
Riveting new series offers legal suspense with a romantic twist!In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything-even murder-to keep the case from going to trial.
About the Author
This story is a page-turner from page 1. I was genuinely engaged from the moment I began this book to the very end. Anyone looking a for a fast-paced, action-packed legal thriller, this is definitely the book for you.
I really like the overall dynamics of this story. I like that Kate Sullivan, the main character, is a 38-year old lawyer who loves Jesus and fights hard for what is right. I truly do not know anymore in this day and age if there is a practicing lawyer who does that (I’m sure there is, I just don’t know of any). I think a lot of lawyers fight for the truth they are willing to believe, but I’m not so sure lawyers fight for actual truth anymore. BUT, in this book, Kate fights for actual truth and refuses to do anything outside of the law. It is really refreshing. I also like that the opposing counsel whom Kate is up against is a long-time friend from college. That dynamic really adds to the tension between these two lawyers and the drama that ensues throughout the case they are fighting.
I love the message of forgiveness and reconciliation that weaves its way throughout this novel constantly. Kate, throughout this book, is like a moral guide for Landon James, the hero, which is pretty cool because it’s rare that the female lead gets to actually be the dominant figure. Again, Kate is a really refreshing protagonist! Kate, who has already come to peace with events from her past, is a pretty stable person. She has gone through the process of forgiving herself for her not-so-good past moments. So, she is like the voice of reason for Landon constantly praying for him and slowly encouraging him back to Jesus. Landon has been hiding from his past. He shoves it all down and lives a life full of regret and shame. He has also given up on God. As he gets to know Kate better, Landon realizes he needs to make a big change. He acknowledges that he needs to ask God for help. He realizes he needs to forgive himself. And, he understands that he needs to seek out those he has hurt and reconcile. Landon struggles with this, which is very realistic. It’s hard to forgive yourself for the stupid things you’ve done. You have to contend with shame and guilt. There is a part that wishes that these ugly feelings and memories could just be swept under the carpet and never dealt with again. But, that’s not how reconciliation happens. Landon gets this, swallows his uncomfortable feelings, and does the right thing. He asks for forgiveness and mends bridges. I really love this aspect of the novel!
Two elements keep me from scoring this novel as a 5-STAR story. First, this novel is set in Atlanta, Georgia, yet there is NOTHING that gives this story a Southern flair. Not one character speaks with a Southern accent. Every character could easily be a TV news reporter from Southern California. In fact, I forgot this book was even set in Atlanta until one character mentioned something about looking out at the Atlanta skyline. Atlanta, and those who live there, have a unique identity, which I just could not see in this book. The second issue I have is with the romance. It takes a very long time for either character to mention any kind of attraction, and when they do everything happens so immediately. I didn’t feel the attraction at all but I knew it was coming because I could follow the formula. The main characters by themselves are believable and realistic, but as a couple I had a hard time buying it. However, I could get past these two issues and enjoy the suspense of the novel.
Overall, this story is highly engaging and quite the page-turner. I found the legal aspects very intriguing. A few times I had to put the book down and ask my best friend, who holds a law degree, to teach me more about criminal law and the many facets to that branch of law. I love the message of forgiveness and reconciliation, and I enjoyed trying to figure out all the ins and outs of the case. I did enjoy this book, and I do look forward to book 2 in the series, Lone Witness due out in 2018. If you love legal suspense novels then this book is for you!
Enter to win a copy of Deadly Proof. Five winners will be chosen! Click the link below to enter to win. The winners will be announced December 7 on the Litfuse blog!