Powell draws on her experience as a lawyer to great effect: the courtroom scenes come alive in meticulous detail, although Powell never allows that detail to overwhelm readers or slow narrative momentum. For example, Maureen continually muses over the individual jurors, especially a pair of older women on the lookout for "sneaky lawyer tricks." We also see Maureen plan and update her strategies by simultaneously suing the offending producer and his company, balancing the risks. The nuances of nondisclosure agreements and arbitration clauses are deftly inserted into the story, lending an especially rich view of the legal process.
In addition to the legal theatrics, Powell has added another layer of mystery with Maureen's dark relationship with her father. The story unfolds neatly, and we get the first hint when we see that Maureen always calls him by his name, not "father." Their history infuses the story, building to a crescendo without ever turning preachy. But although Maureen is the compelling main focus, the rest of the cast is likewise well-drawn, especially bright and feisty paralegal Yolanda. And the courtroom case itself never disappears behind the family drama, which unfolds in horrific, heartbreaking detail. Powell has written a book that dares to be a legal thriller, family drama, and polemic. Remarkably, she succeeds at all three.
Takeaway: This inspired legal thriller digs deep into sexual harassment, courtroom drama, and more.
Great for fans of: Alafair Burke’s The Wife, Chandler Baker’s Whisper Network.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-