Absence of Reason: A Hilary Adams Mystery by Linda Y. Atkins

Absence of Reason: A Hilary Adams Mystery by Linda Y. Atkins
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (231 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

When a friend is accused of murder, a feisty attorney will have to outsmart a serial killer if she wants to prove her client’s innocence—and stay alive.

Criminal defense attorney, Hilary Adams, is about to tackle the case of her career—defending an accused serial killer. In each murder, the evidence gathered against her childhood friend, Professor Tom Blackstone, was overwhelming; the motive obvious, at least to the police and the local prosecuting attorney. But to Hilary, nothing in this case has been right from the beginning. It has all the earmarks of someone systematically setting up her client. But who would want to and why? Coeds, sexually assaulted and murdered, are turning up everywhere. Time is short and the list of suspects even shorter. Hilary has to act fast to save her client and in the end to save herself.

Hilary Adams is a very strong main character, who seems very real. She is whip smart, knows the law inside and out, and is determined to defend a childhood friend, Professor Blackstone, from charges of murder.  Combined with sexual assault, the charges could result in the death penalty if proven. Hilary seems to be the only one who doesn’t believe in the overwhelming evidence against her client. And her client isn’t helping her, as he slides into self-pity and depression. But Hilary can save him if indeed anyone can.

The supporting characters are also very well defined. There is Sam Monroe, ex-FBI and now a PI, who has a long friendship with Hilary. He does his job, even though he thinks that Hilary is blinded by her friendship with her client. Lieutenant Peter Elliott is certain that he has arrested the right man, but as things heat up and he is pressured to move faster than he feels is prudent, he begins to wonder about the case. He is in love with Hilary, although she isn’t ready for a steady relationship, but he also really respects her abilities as a lawyer. He agrees with her that the important thing is to catch the right murderer. Even the minor characters have depth, such as Hilary’s secretary Annie.

This is the first in a series, and I’ve already read the second, third, and fourth. Since this is the first, I was prepared that it might not be quite as strong as the others. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is a very strong story which has been effectively crafted for maximum suspense. One technique that I found especially helpful in involving the reader and building suspense is the way the murderer’s point of view is used, not often, but most dramatically. I knew even before Hilary did that Blackstone was innocent. But I didn’t have a clue as to the identity of the real murderer until nearly the end. This meant that I was all but pushing Hilary, Sam, and Peter, in the directions they should go. As the suspense built, I found that the book was impossible to put down.

Mystery lovers are sure to enjoy Absence of Reason. In fact, I highly recommend the entire series of now four novels, a series which I hope continues to grow as I’m definitely a fan of Hilary Adams.

Speak Your Mind