Title: Defense for the Devil (Barbara Holloway #4)
Author: Kate Wilhelm
Read by: Carrington MacDuffie
Category: Legal Thriller
Audio published: 2007 by Blackstone Audio (First published 1999)
Rating: 2½ out of 5 stars
Mitch Arno always meant bad news for Folsum, Oregon. When they ran him out of town seventeen years ago, he left behind a wife with two daughters and a family that never wanted to see him again. When he returns, he brings trouble in the form of a lot of suspicious money. As Barbara attempts to counsel Mitch’s wife about the money, a second form of trouble arrives, Mitch’s corpse..
I wish I could give this one like 3 separate ratings, but that’s not how I have my reviews usually set up. But I can always change my own rules, right?
Thriller portion – 3½
Maggie’s ex ransacked her place and left behind a suitcase of cash that Barbara is trying to get for Maggie. Problem , of course, comes in with the “why did the ex have the suitcase of money?” Of course, ex is found dead, beaten to death. Must have something to do with the cash, right? The DA doesn’t seem to think so and, instead of going after the real bad guy, the crime boss who employed (and was double-crossed by) the ex, charges Maggie’s brother-in-law who she adores. Of course, Barbara ends up defending him, doing everything she can to get him off the hook even while the bodies start piling up. It’s a good plotline, if a little confusing at times. Lots of bad guys, lying, shady deals, and someone is obviously willing to kill whoever he needs to protect himself. I like a good courtroom thriller and this fits in that category.
I like the characters too. Barbara is determined and dogged. Her dad is smart and supportive. Her assistant is excited and competent. The PI she hires is useful, as always. And the secondary character, Maggie and her clan, while not as fully drawn as the continuing characters are still warm and endearing.
Title portion – 4
I kept wondering who the “devil” was she was defending. Was the brother-in-law actually guilty? Was she somehow providing a defense for the real killer? The title mattered, which isn’t always the case.
Relationship – 2
Barbara met John in the last book and now they’re married and it’s rocky to say the least. Neither seems to approve of the other’s job. They alternate between grumping at each other and desperately needing each other. They can’t manage in the small apartment they rent so instead of getting a new, bigger place, they get adjoining apartments that they share, so they each have their own space. It’s just odd. You know they’re in trouble. And the danger she’s putting herself and those around her, worries him too much. I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t make it back to town in the next book. The love story parts of this series usually seem to be the weak spot for me. Barbara can be so melodramatic and self-centered really. This portion of the story annoyed me enough that it lowered my rating for what was otherwise and enjoyable book.
I’ll definitely keep reading the series, though, at least as long as I can get them from the library to listen to.
Barbara Holloway Series
1. Death Qualified
2. The Best Defense
3. Malice Prepense
4. Defense for the Devil
5. No Defense
6. Desperate Measures
7. Clear and Convincing Proof
8. The Unbidden Truth
9. Sleight of Hand
10. A Wrongful Death
11. Cold Case
12. Heaven Is High
13. By Stone, By Blade, By Fire