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When the serial killer known as Cupid is finally caught after a string of victims (the bodies of whom some have yet to be found), Prosecutor C.J.Townsend is brought onboard to bring the killer to justice. But facing the Defendant across a crowded courtroom, C.J finds herself facing her greatest terror. For the man standing opposite her in the Dock is the same man who broke into her apartment and raped her twelve years before!!
Knowing that this revelation will see her being removed from the case and knowing that she is the best person to see Cupid get not just convicted but also the death penalty, C.J remains quiet about her past whilst ever more determined to see justice being done. But, as the case against him looks ever more shaky, C.J finds herself crossing moral, and sometimes legal, boundaries in a bid to get the result she wants. And then there is the big question....could the evidence be wrong? Could the man who raped and attacked her all those years ago actually be innocent of murder? And how far is C.J willing to go to get retribution?
This debut novel from female author, Julianne Hoffman is incredibly impressive. Though I had initial reservations at first, these soon became redundant the further I progressed with the plot. If I had one complaint, it would be that the first few chapters dealing with C.J's attack and rape went on, for me, a tad too long. There was also the matter of me not paticulary liking either C.J in her early incarnation or her pig-headed fiancee. But as soon as we reach the present day, the story picks up and C.J emerges as a strong, competent lead who is every bit the equal of characters such as Temperance Brennan from Kathy Reichs' books or Sara Linton from the novels of Karin Slaughter!
Part courtroom drama/ part criminal investigation, the book undergoes many twists and turns and if the end twist is a little obvious and expected, it is no less enjoyable. The good news is that fans of this book get to see a return for C.J Townsend in Hoffman's next novel, Last Witness, which picks up unresolved plot strands from this novel. I, for one will certainly be giving that a go!!
In the meantime though, this is an excellent debut and I look forward to seeing where the author progresses from here!
I had never heard of Jillianne Hoffman before, but had heard that her first novel 'Retribution' was very good, so after borrowing it from my mum (yes, again!) I decided to find out for myself.
Chloe Larsens has a lot going for her. She is in her final stages of gaining her law degree, knowing that she will be working in a prestigious law firm, and has a boyfriend who she is expecting to propose to her. Then Chloe's life changes forever. She is viciously attacked both sexually and physically in her own home. However, the worst part for Chloe is that her attacker knew a lot of personal details about her, such as her favourite perfume, and her dads nickname for her since she was a child. Her attacker left no evidence at the scene, and unfortunately he was never caught ...
Twelve years later...
Chloe has changed her name to C.J. Townsend, and is now working for Miami Dade as one of the county's best prosecutors. She has been working on a major case of a serial killer for over a year, nicknamed 'Cupid' after killing young females and removing their hearts. An arrest is made for a driving offence, but it looks like the young rookie cop has just caught Cupid. C.J. believes that she is ready for anything that this case could throw at her in court, until she hears Cupid speak for the first time .... Who is he? Why does C.J. completely freeze up in the courtroom? Could he have a lot more to confess to .....?
The book was very gripping throughout and I felt a lot of concern and worry over C.J. In my opinion, if an author can get me to feel personally for their characters, then it must be a good book, and it was. The way Hoffman describes the murders of the young girls, and the state of their bodys, feels like she has learned her biology before writing her book! The way in which she explained the killings was quite gory and made you imagine this horrible scene in your head - again, I think this shows a good author.
The court room again is very convincing, and I believe its safe to assume that the author must have great knowledge of a courtroom and the law 'lingo'. I love the subject of law, and this book, with its courtroom scenes, makes great law reading, and I feel like I really learned a lot from it.
In my opinion, the ending was quite predictable and I could see it coming from about the middle of the book, and even though it wasn't a shock when my predictions were found to be true, it was still very interesting to read.
Hoffman has released a second book called 'Last Witness' which is a follow on from this book, so it makes obvious sense to read this first so that you understand the storyline before going on to the second book.
I can understand now why people have been talking highly about this book, and I am glad I have read it. I am now hooked, line and sinker into the follow on book, and I have a feeling she is going to be a very successful author, and possible one for Patricia Cornwall to watch out for!
This is the first book I've read by Jilliane Hoffman and I'm so glad I came across it as it's one of the best in it's genre.
The book hooked in me from the start. The first section of the book was quite horrific and it dives right in which left me feeling genuinely scared and horrified. It tells of a young woman in an apartment alone when a man ties her up and... well I'll let you read the rest but it's not nice. The way Hoffman details what happens makes you feel extremely uncomfortable and really sets the emotion for the rest of the book.
Then the book moves forward twelve years following Miami State Attorney Chloe "C.J." Townsend right in the middle of a serial killer investigation. A suspect is found and what unravels throughout the remainder of the book is excellent. Every chapter keeps you guessing and keeps you hooked. I really enjoyed reading this book, I love a good thriller and Hoffman has really hit the nail on the head.
This book has a sequel but I've heard bad reviews from it which has put me off from reading it.
This is one of those rare crime thrillers which will probably stick in your mind, unlike many which you so easily forget about once finished.
Chloe Larson is studying for her final law exams in New York City when she is brutally raped by a man who seemingly knows everything about her life, from where she spends each evening down to her favourite perfume. Twelve years later she is known as CJ Townsend and is living in Florida, one of Dade County's top prosecutors, working in a team trying to catch a serial killer who has been abducting, raping and mutilating young women.
When an arrest is made her world is turned upside down; CJ is convinced that the man who stands accused is the man who raped her in New York. What follows is part courtroom drama, part police procedural thriller with CJ having to decide whether to give the case up which would mean revealing her past or carrying on with the case and risk having her past exposed anyway if the accused man recognizes her.
The story bounds along at a fair old pace with little time to breathe despite the fact that the action takes place over a couple of months. The author is yet another American lawyer turned author and it shows; attention to detail is precise and in this particular novel sees the emphasis on the legal system and its intricacies - I felt I learned a fair bit about how the system works in America and found that the author managed to work in a lot of detail quite easily within the dialogue so that it didn't come across as a legal text book.
The characters are easily recognizable to anyone who reads this kind of book regularly and should be seen as an familiar aspect of the genre rather than as showing a lack of imagination. Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter and Kathy Reichs seem to share the same catalogue of characters; the strong ambitious female lead character, well-educated, lives on her own, has trouble committing to long-term relationships and has a strained relationship with other family members. Throw in the love interest, usually a colleague from a partner agency, possibly someone working on the same case and along with him comes a colleague, plain-speaking, considered boorish by some but with a heart of gold. Yes, Jilliane Hoffman understands the formula and has produced a predictable set of characters that brings nothing new to the genre.
The one big problem I had was with the defence attorney, supposedly a ruthless and ambitious lawyer who later undergoes the most ludicrous change in character - comepletely unbelievable!
Just as well then that the story is pretty good with plenty of twists and turns and which, when all becomes clear, you can look back at and say "Of course!" I've been disappointed recently with books that bring in new characters right at the last minute or in which the detectives discover some completely new evidence close to the end; not so Jilliane Hoffman - all the clues are there waiting to be picked up.
It's certainly not for the squeamish but the blood and gore is not gratuitous (fans of the genre might like to know that I would rate this somewhere between Patricia Cornwell and Karin Slaughter in terms of graphic descriptions). Hoffman is economic with her words but manages to get across the horror of the murders pretty well.
The book is quite heavy on dialogue making it easy to read and keeping the pages turning; it's not especially clever but it does make you think and it engaged me from the start. The pages kept turning all the way although I did find the ending a little unsatisfactory.
Overall, it's full marks for the plot but points lost for re-hashing the same old characters. I'm sure there'll be more from CJ Townsend - if that's as predictable as her characters!
Published by Penguin
A promising young law student is violated in her bedroom by an unknown assailant. Years later, as a lawyer in the Public Prosecutor's Office, she begins investigating a case that threatens to reopen all the old wounds and bring her terror back to life.