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Choices: Volume II of the Lincoln County Law Trilogy by Jerri Blair

5redstars

choicesThis stunning legal thriller begins in 1980 in Lincoln County, as we get to know J.T., an intelligent lawyer who is hard at work on another case. Before long, we come along a chapter that details an unnamed character who happens to be gay, who is aiming to hide his secret lifestyle, as he is a beloved public figure, who doesn’t want the truth to come out. A colorful cast of characters dominate the pages as this suspenseful murder mystery unspools across multiple plotlines. Eventually we learn the public figure’s identity, as he is outed when charged with the brutal killing of his gay lover. As J.T. and his law firm take on this major case, he and his fellow lawyers learn the complexities of sexual orientation, coming to realize that being gay is not a choice, as the name of this novel suggests.

By tackling the challenges that come into play when we are forced to fight to protect our fundamental rights as Americans, author Jerri Blair creates a sensational thriller that is both engaging and well-written. As a lawyer herself, Blair clearly has a great understanding of the criminal justice system, and it shows from the realistic way the cases are displayed on the page. By weaving scenes in the courtroom with personal scenes at home and out and about Lincoln County, the author paints a full picture of the small-town life in the south during the early 1980s, when the public perception of homosexuality was much different than it is today. A subplot referencing a hate-filled crime fueled by the controversial subject of abortion is also handled with great skill. By perfecting the pace of the novel, the revelations and twists come at just the right time throughout the book, always maintaining mystery, while answering questions and brining up new ones throughout the narrative. This is an expertly crafted thriller that is sure to keep your interest until the very end.

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