Author: Allen Eskens
Performed by MacLeod Andrews, Christine Lakin, Tina Huang
Published: September 2021 by Mulholland Books
Category: Legal Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Audiobook, Book Review
Lila Nash is on the verge of landing her dream job – working as a prosecutor under the Hennepin County Attorney – and has settled into a happy life with her boyfriend, Joe Talbert. But when a woman is pulled from the Mississippi River, barely alive, things in the office take a personal turn.
Lila Nash is still living with the repercussions of a nightmarish summer eight years ago although her partner, Joe, sees the strong woman Lila has become despite what happened to her. She’s waiting on the results of her bar exam, hoping to secure her dream job as a prosecutor. Meanwhile she’s working as a law clerk under vengeful old adversary, Frank Dovey, who is determined to make it his mission to see there would be no law career for her. Luckily, Lila finds an ally in her tough but fair supervisor, Andi Fitch.
Over their six years together, Lila had done her best to convince Joe—to convince herself—that she had moved past what had happened to her that night. In truth, she had survived, but she had not healed, and deep down she knew it. Keeping that from Joe meant that he didn’t really know her. How could he? He didn’t know about the sharp fragments of doubt that floated loose in her blood. The woman Joe knew, the strong, fierce Lila Nash, had been constructed out of spare parts.
Sadie Vaulk has been drugged, assaulted and thrown into the river where her attacker assumed she would go over the falls and never be seen again. But Sadie is a strong swimmer and her survival instinct is even stronger. She manages to reach the shore where she is rescued, barely alive.
When the prosecution for Sadie’s case falls to Andi and Lila, Lila has no idea it would bring to the fore all the memories she had done her best to suppress, triggered by the suspect, Gavin Spenser. But, despite her meltdown at the pre-trial hearing, Lila was committed to the prosecution’s case and along with Andi and Detective Niki Vang, the three strong women protagonists worked with each other to try and fit the random pieces of evidence together.
Not realising this was book three in a series until I’d listened to it, I can say it works very well as a standalone. Apparently each book is a complete story with certain characters making appearances in all three. I’ll be looking out for the others.
The Stolen Hours is a multi-layered legal thriller, character driven, tense and suspenseful as justice can sometimes seem unattainable despite the effort being put in to secure a conviction, and with some excellent courtroom scenes. Parts of the storyline highlight the intimidation tactics men can adopt and use to their advantage, and how easily females can be treated unjustly.
The characters are well defined, Lila particularly and it was good to witness her growth as the story played out. Plus a look into the mind of a despicable antagonist who believed he was too clever to be caught. Most of the characters are engaging, bar the obvious, and the narrative held my attention throughout with wonderful writing and plotting.
Excellent narrators added immeasurably to the overall listening experience.
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