A murder mystery tackled from the point of view of a lawyer rather than a detective with the culprit becoming clear during the course of the trial. There are four murders: one premeditated; one attempted; one self-defence and one revenge and they all have different perpetrators and all get their comeuppance in a circle of power and corruption. Valda has scrapes of her own and never fully comes clean despite her complicity – hence the book title. Tim Logan
The highlight of this book for me was the trial, which was written with great legal accuracy as well as with forensic detail and a fair share of drama, put downs and wit as in any real life trial. Money is the root of all evil, as goes the cliché, but it is very true in this book – other than Jack who is an honourable character, all the others live by the money-sword and die by it. The characters are true to life, but not in a way that gives you faith in human nature. A good read, free flowing, with excellent use of language and vernacular. Got a real feel for the locations as well. Vicky Anne
I really enjoyed Not Guilty Not Innocent. The opening sequence in Belfast had me hooked straight away and I wondered what the lawyer was doing there and then I found out he was bailing out some London émigré Russian’s gangster’s moll and I just knew this was going to get tasty. I didn’t quite get how Valda, the rock and roll singer, got to meet the lawyer, Jack, and maybe there is just a shade too much coincidence in the fact that they meet in Belfast and they are both involved in one way or another with the same gangsters back in London. But it all made for a rattling rollercoaster of a ride once they’d crossed the Rubicon and those gangsters were coming after them. OHSoccermom
Now this is a real thriller with interwoven plots and enough edginess to keep you turning the pages. The two main characters, Valda Kramer and Jack Lauder, come from entirely different molds and I never would have suspected those two to get together. The author did an incredible job in developing their relationship with enough steam, tension and verity to keep me pulling for both of them.
Jack is out of the same mold as Indiana Jones and Valda, well, I’d peg her as a cross between Amy Winehouse and Kinsey Millhone. Separately and together, they take us through a complicated murder that involves British politicians, a Russian mobster and a full cast of dubious, eccentric and impish characters and witnesses. The trial itself is strained with enough tension to keep even the most skilled criminal defense attorney guessing.
All in all, I can’t recommend this book enough! Paul H Landes – Bestselling Author
I have looked out for Lisa Gordon’s books since I read her debut novel A Sealed Fate because I felt then she had a gift for quirky but credible plots and I wondered how that would develop. Next of Sin is her second offering in a similar genre, which I would place really as a fusion of the crime (serial murder) novel, the thriller / adventure novel with a fair bit of Chick-lit interest also thrown in. Once again she doesn’t disappoint with the quirky plot. It’s another serial murder plot with a twist; there are echoes of Enderby in that it’s not so much a whodunnit as a case of the lead character (Gaby) having the dilemma of how does she expose the murderer to an incredulous world before he gets to her first?
Gaby is a great heroine but there again I like Gordon’s heroines. I loved Valda in her first book and I love Gaby in this one. They are probably chalk and cheese. Valda is the tough cookie with the soft centre and Gaby is soft on the outside but with a quartzite core, which comes out in her determination. She is also very spiritual, which isn’t a surprise with Gordon novels as she likes to introduce an element of astrology or the occult. Gaby would be a candidate for the examination room marked Canonization except you are willing her to go through the door of the next one. This, by the way, is marked Carnalization. She’s a bit of both but shouldn’t all nice girls have that in their locker? You will be only too willing to kneel down to prayers with her, if that’s what she wants, but you can’t but hope that the missionary position will figure somewhere.
It’s a fast-paced symphony: there’s the first movement where it hits you in the solar plexus to start with as the villain gets off on a rampage; and then the slower movement where the author brings you back into the world of weddings and honeymoons and girls with top jobs thinking about their own empowerment and only secondarily about their men. The blokes are certainly not at the centre of their universe; they are satellites there for their interest and sporadic devotion. It is the kind of role-reversal you would expect from a woman writer who knows her own mind and prizes her own individuality above all other things and looks on men in the fond but slightly dismissive way that men have traditionally looked upon women. Then there’s the third movement, an endgame, a race against time, particularly from the moment that the villain begins to understand that Gaby and others are on the case. They are eliminated one by one.
You will know what I mean by quirky when you discover Gaby’s family are actually rooting for the villain. A weird and wonderful tapestry of human emotions, which definitely gets my vote and I can see how her writing has developed too. She has a much more assured touch now as if she has found her voice.
What do you do if you discover that someone very close to you is a killer?
That’s what this book is all about. Lisa describes the doubts, the conflicts of emotion and the raw feelings of reality as the story unfolds. The protagonist, Gaby, and her friends come across with consummate reality, and before the end of the book, you come to know them very well.
Lisa has either travelled widely, or really knows how to use Google Earth. No matter, the descriptions of the many international venues come across vividly, and you feel yourself transported to each of them.
I think I would have given this book a five star rating were it not for the number of typos. It is only because of that that I have awarded four stars.