The law has no compassion. — Christopher Darden
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aroostine Higgins has done something I didn’t think could be done. She made me read a ‘lawyer book’ – and actually fall in love with a ‘lawyer character’. Awesome. You have to realize, I have no patience with the American (or any other) “Justice System”. Because there is no “justice” to be had. Frederick Douglass had it right, all those years ago: Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. And it hasn’t gotten any better.
Aroostine is Lenape, one of the tribes of Native Americans the white man destroyed. They came in, stole the lands, murdered the people, and the ones they didn’t murder they shoved onto reservations in the poorest lands possible – barren, useless lands no one else wanted. And then? And then, they stole our children. Aroostine is a Lost Child. Her grandfather took her when her parents died. Then, when her grandfather died, she was taken by a white family and raised white. She has no history, no connection with her peoples. But that is about to change.
Aroostine, an attorney with the DA’s office in Pennsylvania, and her husband Joe, are in Oregon, trying to piece their lives, and their marriage back together. This is the second in a series, I really hate that I missed out on the first one – I will be going back to read it. Apparently, Aroostine was an up-and-comer in DC and her hubby Joe, a master carpenter, was a jerk, unable to handle her success. Things happened, but this volume, while touching on the happenings, doesn’t ruin my reading of the first book. I will catch up when I read “Critical Vulnerability” – which I will read.
Aroostine’s vacation is interrupted when her old boss, Sidney Slater, Director of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, – the man who threw her under the bus on their last case – asks her to check in on an embezzlement case on the Chinook Reservation. Well, injuns’ is injuns’, right? (Crossing eyes) Surely she will ‘fit in’ and be able to find out why their whistle blower has clammed up. So much for a vacation. And when Aroostine walks in to her whistle blower’s house to find him dead in his chair with a bullet between his eyes, it begins a tightly paced story of mystery, murder, and ultimately heartbreak that kept me enthralled.
What really interested me was Miller’s grasp of life on the reservation. Her characters felt ‘real’ and her of a mindset so very different from the white mans was surprisingly believable.
I will be reading the first in the series, and placing the series on my watch list for new installments.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you are a mystery lover, you should check it out.
I’m Melissa F. Miller, author of the Sasha McCandless legal thriller series and the Aroostine Higgins legal thriller series. I’m also a practicing attorney. When I’m not in court or on the playground with my three delightful children, I’m hard at work on my next novel.