Book - Next of Kin

Steve Taylor-Bryant examines the evidence and reads Next of Kin by L F Robertson, thanks to Titan Books...

When Greg Ferrante is found shot to death at the side of his swimming pool, suspicion turns immediately on his once-glamorous wife, Sunny, now worn down by years of living under his thumb. Sure, there's no way she could have pulled the trigger, but soon she is arrested anyway, accused of hiring her daughter's boyfriend to commit the crime. In a whirlwind trial, Sunny is convicted and sentenced to death.

And then, for a decade, she waits on death row, until Janet Moodie, appeals attorney, delves into the case. One thing Janet is sure of: Sunny is innocent. But her client is hiding something. Who is Sunny protecting--and is she really prepared to die to save them?

I’m quite the fan of L. F. Robertson’s novels about Janet Moodie, her last one Madman Walking was one of my top two books of that year and I couldn’t have given it higher praise than I did. I loved the law aspects of both the previous novels, and both have helped me to start to scratch the surface of understanding the legalities surrounding the death penalty, but what I took most enjoyment from with Next of Kin was not the legal case but the personal journey that Janet Moodie went through.

Much like Madman Walking, the crime at the centre of Next of Kin is an enthralling one with some twists and turns as the case is re-investigated through the novel. As you’d expect from an author of Robertson’s calibre, each character involved in the story is important and essential, you’ll find no filler or padding here but, unlike the previous books in the series, I felt we got to know Janet more in this one as both her past tragedies, and the ones more recent, come home to roost. The physical and psychological impact that daily life, loss and ageing has are explored wonderfully by Robertson as she puts Janet through the ringer a bit again but what you’re left with as a result is a classy and well constructed character piece that puts you in Janet’s shoes, wondering how you’d react.

L. F. Robertson is fast becoming my go-to author for smart and wonderful storytelling. The legal cases are interesting, the criminals human, the system tough, and the characters worthy of your time. Next of Kin, like Madman Walking before it, demands your attention, rewards you on every page, and is front runner for book of the year already. Stunningly well executed character driven story that stays with you long after you close the book.

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Image - Titan Books

Next of Kin is published on 25th June and is available to pre-order now.

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