by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to order it from Amazon.
When former New Jersey prosecutor Sandy Moss moved to Los Angeles to work at the high-priced family law of Seaton, Taylor, Evans and Wentworth, she never expected to be handling as many criminal cases as she would divorces. After surviving and succeeding in a previous murder trial with actor Patrick McNabb as a very attentive client, Sandy now has her hands full attempting to prove that the LAPD is railroading uber-suburban mom Madelyn Forsyth into a prostitution conviction as the new Hollywood Madam. On the heels of that frustrating loss descends upon her the now-even-more-famous acting star Patrick, insisting that Sandy take on a divorce case for his fellow actor/celebrity friend Cynthia Sutton. Sandy is unable to say no to the charismatic man-child, even when the barely-divorced former-murder-suspect Patrick presents his new fiancé “real estate professional.” Perhaps that’s why their nearly getting shot by a passing car seem relatively normal in comparison.
Things quickly escalate, as things tend to do whenever Patrick is around. Cynthia’s divorce case becomes a homicide trial when she is found standing over her almost-ex-mother-in-law Wendy Bryan, murdered by Cynthia’s bloody TeeVee acting award (she was snubbed out of an Oscar nomination). Assuming that his experience as a (television show) attorney and a (television show) private investigator gives him the credentials to second seat on Sandy’s court cases, Patrick insists on tracking down the culprit despite her assertions that they don’t need to catch the murderer to win the legal case. Enabling Patrick is Angie, Sandy’s bestie from New Jersey who moved to LA to help her friend settle in and has become a bit of a moocher never left. Now Patrick’s personal assistant/Girl Friday, Angie encourages their investigation into who framed Cynthia and wanted Wendy out of the picture. When another shooting sends Sandy’s second chair lawyer into the hospital and the amenable Detective Lieutenant K.C. Trench suggests that she may be the target, Sandy’s life becomes further complicated with an overprotective Patrick who at least has the sense to hire a professional bodyguard. The one thing that Sandy knows, though, is that unlike what always happens in movies and TV shows, the killer will never confess in the middle of a dramatic court testimony. Never.
This second in the series continues to be an absolute delight, bursting through with the sharp humor that is a trademark of the novels by E.J. Copperman/Jeff Cohen. Sandy likes to think that her New Jersey background elevates her above the shallowness of the LA inhabitants, but it causes her to underestimate them as well. A lovelorn Patrick following her around both exasperates and intrigues her, especially when he often proves to be unexpectedly helpful. The multiple court scenes will remind readers of the hilarious trials seen in the works by Lisa Scottoline, Parnell Hall/JP Hailey, and Paul Levine. Sharp dialogue, wry observations about the LA lifestyle, and the many red herrings and plot swerves will keep readers engaged and riveted to the very last page. Bring on the next in this series, now!
To enter to win a copy of Judgment at Santa Monica, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “judgement,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 13, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
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