Book Title: Duplicity
Author: Jane Haseldine
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Series: Julia Gooden #2
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Date Read: 04/10/17
Pub Date: 03/28/17
Julia Gooden knows how to juggle different lives. A successful crime reporter, she covers the grittiest stories in the city while raising her two young boys in the suburbs. But beneath that accomplished facade is another Julia, still consumed by a tragedy that unfolded thirty years ago when her nine-year-old brother disappeared without a trace.
Julia’s marriage, too, is a balancing act, as she tries to rekindle her relationship with her husband, Assistant District Attorney David Tanner, while maintaining professional boundaries. David is about to bring Nick Rossi to trial for crimes that include drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and bribery. But the story becomes much more urgent when a courthouse bomb claims several victims–including the prosecution’s key witness–and leaves David critically injured.
Though Julia is certain that Rossi orchestrated the attack, the case against him is collapsing, and his power and connections run high and wide. With the help of Detective Raymond Navarro of the Detroit PD, she starts following a trail of blackmail, payback, and political ambition, little imagining where it will lead. Julia has risked her career before, but this time innocent lives–including her children’s–hang in the balance, and justice may come too late to save what truly matters…
Have you ever followed a high profile case on television and just known the defendant was guilty? Now, imagine you are actually being paid to report on the case; you’re a competent journalist who is fully invested in seeing this scum bag go down, except the only witness set to testify is silenced in an explosion at the courthouse. Oh, and your estranged husband, who happens to be the Assistant District Attorney is injured as well. This is where our leading lady Julia Gooden finds herself when we begin reading. I don’t know about you, but if my boss told me to back off from a case like this, with all I had involved, I don’t think I could follow instructions either. The set up for this novel gives a completely different feel than the previous in the series, but more on that in a minute.
What is so attractive about this series is that you can read them in order and soak up all the characterization in The Last Time She Saw Him before moving on, or you can simply pick up Duplicity to read as a stand alone. The novels complement each other well and carry over continuing characters, but you could just as easily pick this book up on it’s own and not feel confused. While the first book featuring Julia Gooden was a suspenseful mystery with a slow burning plot, this entry had a completely different feel of a high octane thriller! There was so much action packed into the story and the pacing had you wanting to blow through the book in a single sitting. I also feel the cover is a huge improvement to the last; the blue is striking and really draws the eye in.
I’ll admit, I was able to connect more with Julia this go around than I did in the previous book, but in my humble opinion I feel that her ex-boyfriend, Detective Raymond Navarro, is truly a fan favorite. I immediately connected with him in the first novel and only grew to love him more in this one as well; I don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say I’m interested to see where Haseldine choses to take his character on down the series. It was also highly enjoyable to read about a working mother with two small children; sometimes as women we need characters who don’t feel all that different from us, and Julia is a working, semi-single mother who at the end of the day is fully human like the rest of us.
In retrospect, this was a great read and a wonderful addition to the series. I’m really pleased and quite impressed with the author’s choosing to write Duplicity with a completely different feel than her first in the series; it was a risky move and one that paid off. Changing things up kept me on my toes and the characters, plot, and pacing were fresh, something I’m always grateful for. Whether you pick this up alone or go ahead and invest in both books, you’ll be pleased with just how entertaining Haseldine’s writing is. Recommended to fans of thrillers, mainly those in the sub-gene of investigative journalism with a heavy legal sense.
*Many thanks to the author and TLC Book Tours for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to participate in the blog tour.
Jane Haseldine writes the Julia Gooden mystery series for Kensington Publishing, including The Last Time She Saw Him (July 2016) and Duplicity, which will be published in April 2017. Jane is a journalist, former crime reporter and deputy director of communications for a governor. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons.