Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review: The Ex by Alafair Burke

The Ex
Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.

 Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancĂ©, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

 For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?
This is only my second book by Alafair Burke, but I feel like I'll most likely be adding her to my list of authors to keep an eye on - as well as to my Scanning the Backlist feature.  I was excited when I looked her up on Goodreads to see she has quite a few books published, including a few series.  I think she writes an excellent psychological/legal thriller.  I like her characters, particularly the nuance and balance she develops.  You don't have purely good and purely evil stereotypes - everyone is believably flawed.  I also think she does a good job here of building suspense, keeping the reader engaged, and providing a twist ending (which is critical for me in my enjoyment of this type of book) that I, for one, did not see coming.

Entertainment Value
Again, this is just super fun to read.  It's well-written, but that's not the highlight for me, and I don't expect it to be in this genre.  I think well-written for crime writing means entertaining.  Could I put it down?  The answer here is no, which means it's well done on both levels.  I binged it after my BFFs left Sunday morning and it was total distraction therapy.

If you're a fan of legal/psychological/procedural thrillers, this is one you'll want to read.  I'll be adding Burke to the list of authors I can reliably turn to and whose backlist I need to examine, because this is exactly what I enjoy when I'm in the mood for some distraction.  I loved that I didn't see the twist coming and that the ending felt well-crafted but also had some shock value.

A big thank you to TLC for having me on the tour and providing me with a copy to review.  Click here to see the other stop on the tour!


  1. Everyone has had something positive to say about this one. I haven't tried ABurke yet but definitely think this one will be it. I love the psychological thrillers.

  2. I always love a good ending!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.