The Ex – Alafair Burke

Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder three years earlier—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is, who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets and absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

This was my first introduction to Alaflair Burke. This was a story that gripped me instantly wrapping its words around me, seeping into each and every pore. Burkes’ writing is captivating and gripping and as the story unfolds, being with it twists and turns I was never quite sure with direction to think.

The plot of the story is a good one and certainly standalone from any I have read before, being a suspenseful thriller and easy to read with suggestions throughout to prompt the questioning of the characters it ticked all the boxes for me.

The story was written from Randall’s point of view, but we also had insight from police interviews and court hearings as the story was told through script in parts, which made the plot feel real and obviously drew strength from Burke being A former Deputy District Attorney and sharing with the reader how it would appear in reality.

‘The Ex’ is predominantly a legal thriller, which is something that I don’t tend to read but I wasn’t overwhelmed with the legal aspect throughout the novel and understood the context in relation to the story, it wasn’t too ‘jargon’ related and I never felt confused or misunderstood.

I found Harris to have chameleon characteristics and from one chapter to the next I was continuously questioning his innocence, I pitied him for all he had been through in his life, the loss of loved ones and how he wanted to meet someone new and how that ending in being questioned for a triple homicide. I felt the desperation of his fight and struggle he endured and felt the raw emotion of the strong bond underlying the relationship with his daughter.

Randall played her part well, she had secrets that attached her to Harris, she felt that ‘she owed him’ after the mistakes she had once made many lifetimes earlier she could help him, protect him and most importantly claim his innocence and repay her sorrowful debt walking away guilt free. As readers we question her relationship with Harris, when learning the back story we wonder if she still ‘feels’ for Harris on a level other than professional, if she genuinely believes his innocence and why she caused heartache twenty years before.

Randall and the characters of her team work well together enlightening us through the pages of how the legality of the plot works behind the scenes away from the court house bench.

Buckley Harris is my favourite character a confident 16 year old with an old soul and wise mind. The love for her dad is unconditional and solid strong, she tries to protect him against the fierce world by alerting Randall to the situation pleading for her to help, pulling her into their lives and initially playing a main part in trying to prove her dad’s innocence.

Buckley Harris stood out to me in this particular scene immediately respecting her all the more for having a wise soul.
“and they just happen to know Jack’s favourite book?” “Easy”, she said. She walked over to a nook in the corner of the kitchen and came back with an iPad. She used Siri’s microphone to search for ‘Jack Harris Eight Days to Die’ tapped the screen a couple of times, and pushed the tablet in my direction. It was the Q&A from the website good reads, posted a month and a half earlier.

Buckley Harris is a clever character, with quick wit and a hard casing, albeit with a soft centre, with a multitude of fresh emotions fluttering across her face which is how we attain more about her character and how she is feeling throughout the novel. We, as the reader, are more than aware that her dad is her main focus and she needs more than anything for Randall to ensure his freedom. It is interesting to read how, as the story unfolds, the relationship between father and daughter is and the main reason why we believe Harris’ innocence, Buckley is all he has left.

The finale of the story is wonderfully written and concludes things nicely tying up all of the loose ends, leaving no stone unturned. I never anticipated the ending and it did take me by surprise. This is a excellent novel, praise to Burke and I will certainly be recommending this. This has already made my Top Ten for 2016.

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