Reviewed by Bethany Kelly
The Ex by Alafair Burke focuses on Olivia Randall, one of the most talented criminal defense lawyers in New York City, as she fights to make up for her past.
Jack Harris, a widower with a teenage daughter, just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time on one of his morning runs. He sees a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress picnicking by herself with a bottle of champagne and a book. And for the first time since his wife’s murder, he thinks about getting into the dating scene again. The sighting of this woman sets into motion a string of occurrences that lead to Jack being at the scene of a triple homicide. The catch? One of the victims is connected to his late wife’s murder.
When Olivia gets a call one morning from Buckley Harris, Jack’s daughter, she knows that she has to help Jack. He couldn’t have committed a crime so brutal. Could he? As the evidence against Jack piles up, Olivia must face (and answer) one simple question: does she really know Jack as well as she thought she did?
This novel is written in the first person. This point of view can sometimes seem very limiting, especially if it isn’t done right, but this was not the case with The Ex. Not only did it keep me entertained but it also kept me guessing throughout the entire book. One thing I will say is that the mystery genre requires a bit of a limiting POV to keep the puzzle from being put together too quickly, so choosing the first person was a good move.
Olivia is a solid character that on the exterior may seem like someone you wouldn’t want to be friends with; however, she does grow to be more likable when you begin to see things from her perspective. She has things in her past that she regrets but she is a good person who tries to make up for those things. I think that Burke did a fantastic job of making Jack a well-rounded character as well. His personality is multifaceted and that kept the novel interesting. Burke is definitely talented in character creation.
I also think that the story line is creative and enticing. Burke does a good job peppering clues throughout the novel as to who the killer is. The ending was well thought out and was definitely a shocker.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this book. I probably wouldn’t have discovered The Ex on my own but am happy that I got the opportunity to read it.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking. Check out her website at www.bckwritingcorner.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.