reviewed by Gail Byrd
Sandy Moss, Attorney with her New Jersey tendencies in terms of approaching situations got tired of prosecuting criminals and moved to Los Angeles to practice family law. While she changed her focus for practicing law, she retained her typical, according to her, New Jersey approach to situations. She thinks it’s the perfect setup for surviving in the high-pressure environment of Tinseltown.
Witness for the Persecution by E. J. Copperman is the third in his series featuring Sandy and her friend, Angie who moved out to help Sandy stay grounded. Rounding out the recurring characters is Patric McNabb, Hollywood star and Sandy’s constant boyfriend. Patrick met her during a trial where she was pressed into work as a defense attorney and now thinks she is the most brilliant attorney who ever tried a case. On top of that, he has declared his undying love for her and in this novel their relationship has advanced to the point where he is hoping she will move in with him. Sandy is reluctant, primarily because in the past, Patrick has hotly pursued any number of women, then quickly bored of them once he had their attention. She has acknowledged she loves Patrick, and doesn’t want to give in to his request, only to have him leave her stranded.
In addition to her work as a family attorney, Sandy has developed a reputation as a defense attorney and her new law firm has decided to establish a small section for providing defense in that arena and making Sandy head of it. While she protests that fact, her boss points out that in truth, Sandy loves the work. Therefore, when a director Patrick has done some work with is accused of murdering the stunt man on his current film, he is referred to Sandy and she is pressed into taking the case.
As Sandy begins to research the case, she learns Patrick is tangentially associated with this case, having had a small part in the current film. He swears he was not there on the day the stunt man died, and will not be called to testify in the case. It also slips out that he’s the one who has referred the director to Sandy for representation. All these reasons combine to push Sandy into accepting the case.
Like the first two books in the series, this one is a light-hearted romp, with Sandy being placed in some difficult positions and being extricated from them either by her own smart mouth, Angie’s unique style and decision to become Sandy’s personal security guard, and later, when things seem to get more series Judy is hired as a professional bodyguard. This is the second appearance of Judy in the series, and while she is a minor character, she is so well drawn that she adds tremendous depth to the story.
Other characters who round out the book and are well created include the director, who is so obnoxious it’s not hard to understand why someone would want to frame him for murder. He is attached to two women, wife number one, who he keeps in the background because she isn’t glamorous nor young enough to add to his credentials, according to him; and wife number two, a young, attractive woman who accompanies him to premieres and otherwise seems to be intellectually limited. Finally, there is Detective Trask, who is primarily the strong silent, “just the facts ma’am”, police officer Sandy has encountered before. Her nature is to try and create ripples in his rigid persona, and also try to figure out what his opinion of her is.
Because these secondary characters have appeared in previous books in the series, there are some relationships that have developed prior to this book. Readers who like to read series books will probably enjoy reading the books in order. However, the mystery itself is completed within this novel and, as such, the book can be read as a standalone.
While the mystery is enjoyable, there is one clue that gets overlooked in a way that may cause the reader to wonder why it wasn’t more fully investigated. Readers who are trying to solve the puzzle may find themselves wondering why more questions aren’t asked or, indeed, may see the hole created by this clue and wonder why it hasn’t been more fully examined.
For those who have read the first two books in the series, this will be an enjoyable addition to the story and they will likely enjoy reading about how Sandy and friend’s lives progress. For those new to the series, they may decide it would be more enjoyable to begin with the first book and read the books in the order in which they were written.
I would like to thank Severn House and NetGalley for an advance reader copy of this book for review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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