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Complex characters in a twisting story...

  • May 7, 2013
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Tell No Lies by Julie Compton is the first of a series (two so far) of novels centered around District Attorney Jack Hilliard and his fellow lawyer and one-time lover Jenny Dodson. That's "one-time" as in "slept with her once", but it happened at a time and under conditions that made the two of them front-page news. Dodson was put on trial for murder, facing the death penalty. Hilliard was her alibi, as the night of the murder was the night he visited her house. He's convinced that she couldn't be guilty of the crime, as he they were together that night and he knows she isn't capable of killing someone. But as things progress, he's not sure he knows anything about her at all...

I inadvertently read Keep No Secrets first, as I picked up the wrong book to get started. Unfortunately, it means I knew what happened in Tell No Lies. Only the details and nuances were left to be discovered. It wasn't quite as bad as I expected, though. Tell No Lies added the character background I was missing, and that's what makes these two books interesting reads. I know I should dislike Hilliard, but there's an element to him that makes it hard to hate him. I know I should be taking the side of his wife, but she's not necessarily a completely likeable person as events in Jack's life starts to unfold. Dodson goes back and forth from likeable to detestable to pitiful to a number of other things. Bottom line... these characters are real and human, and Compton does, in my opinion, a good job in weaving them into a twisting story that doesn't let up until the final page... at which point you *then* need to read Keep No Secrets. It's as if there's no break in the action.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed

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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #46
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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St. Louis ADA Jack Hilliard has it pretty easy in attorney Compton's less than assured debut. Jack is married to a beautiful and intelligent law professor; he's also the protégé and assumed successor to his influential boss and mentor, DA Earl Scanlon, and is considered by his peers to be an all-around charismatic and upstanding man, both in and out of the courtroom. But all that is hearsay: Jack, for the life of him, keeps making the same mistakes and placing himself again and again in compromising situations—on purpose. In a bid to become district attorney, Jack sidesteps admitting his anti–death penalty stance in order to get elected, then he falls for his campaign treasurer, Jenny Dodson. When Jenny is accused of murder, will Jack provide the alibi that could save her life but wreck his career? Despite Compton's efforts to make Jack sympathetic, many readers will have a hard time caring about a lying, cheating jerk.(May)
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