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Damaged [Mass Market Paperback]

Pamela Callow
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 2010
Haunted by the death of her sister and wounded by her ex-fiancé's accusations, Kate Lange throws herself into her new career at a high-powered law firm.

When the grandmother of a lonely private school student seeks her counsel, Kate thinks it's just another custody case. But then the teen is brutally murdered. And it isn't only Kate who wonders if her legal advice led to the girl's death.

Put on notice by Randall Barrett, the firm's charismatic managing partner, Kate must fight for her career, for her reputation—and for redemption.

Unwilling to live with the damage she may have caused, Kate pursues the case on her own and unearths some chilling facts.

Facts that lead straight to the heart of a legal conspiracy.

Facts that lead Kate directly into the surgically skilled hands of the Body Butcher.

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Product Description

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 27, 5:00 p.m.

Springtime in Halifax was not known for its warmth or sunshine. Nor was Lyons McGrath Barrett, one of Halifax's premiere boutique law firms.

Kate Lange allowed herself a one-minute break and gazed out her window on LMB's associate floor. Drizzle specked the glass, obscuring the line of cars snaking along Lower Water Street. Friday night rush hour was just beginning.

She turned back to her desk—an elegant mahogany-finished number with matching credenza—forcing her eyes to focus on the separation agreement spread out in front of her. The fourth this week. The twenty-seventh since she'd joined LMB. She grimaced. The irony was not lost on her. She'd left Marshall & Associates because of a preponderance of family law clients.

A rapid knock on the door broke through her thoughts.

Her pulse jumped in her throat.

It was Randall Barrett. Himself.

She'd never met LMB's managing partner before. He'd been in absentia during her job interview. She suspected it was because she was the former fiancée of Ethan Drake, the criminal investigations detective he believed sent an innocent man to jail. Two years before, Ethan investigated Randall Barrett's old soccer buddy, Dr. Don Clarkson, for the death of a critically ill patient. The media buzzed with the story: Had Dr. Clarkson misjudged the amount of morphine the patient could handle or had he perpetrated a mercy killing? The autopsy was inconclusive. The case hinged on the testimony of the patient's son, who claimed Dr. Clarkson had assured him his mother would not suffer any longer. Randall Barrett believed Ethan unduly influenced the teen.

Don Clarkson bankrupted himself with his defense but was convicted nonetheless. Randall Barrett stepped in to handle his appeal. But despite Randall's attempts to convince the Court of Appeal that Ethan had thrown the investigation, the appellate judges upheld the conviction two to one. Neither Randall Barrett nor Ethan Drake had gotten over it. The hostility ran deep.

Kate stood, smoothing her skirt. "Hello, Mr. Barrett." She gave him a brilliant smile, grateful she wore the new suit she'd bought with her last paycheck. It had been a toss-up between replacing her old articling clothes or the old kitchen piping, but the lure of the Jackie O-style suit had been too strong. When she heard the pipes groaning that night, she'd regretted her extravagance. But she couldn't bring herself to take the sleek cream suit back and ask for a refund. She'd learned a long time ago that there were no returns in life.

Now, eyeing Randall Barrett's exquisitely tailored gray suit, she was glad she'd kept it. He, of all people, needed to see that she belonged in this office, that her name would have a place on LMB letterhead. Because it didn' t, not yet. Not for another two months.

And only if she cut it.

He smiled, showing off his strong, white teeth. It did nothing to ease her jitters. "Please, call me Randall." He raised a brow. "May I come in?"

She straightened. Flushed. "Of course."

He walked toward her, filling her office with plain, old-fashioned male virility. Geez. Now I know why all the single women in the firm get flustered when his name is spoken.

He stopped in front of her desk. A manila folder was tucked under his arm. In her heels Kate was almost as tall as he was, but his charisma gave him the benefit of a few extra inches. His brilliant blue eyes drilled into hers.

She forced herself to hold his gaze. It gave nothing away. Which was what she supposed she could expect. But it still rankled. Known for his keen analyses and eloquent arguments, she could learn a lot from him. If he gave her a chance.

His eyes sharpened, then drifted away, lazily scanning the piles of folders on her desk, resting for a moment on the stack of Reports of Family Law. "You busy?"

Now there was a loaded question. She had no doubt that he'd used that casual inquiry on every new associate who entered the firm's hallowed corridors. If she said no, she'd surely go to billable hours hell. And if she said yes, she'd sound churlish to LMB's top dog.

"Can never be too busy," she said.

A blond brow lifted. "Good." He tossed the file on her desk. "You've got a new client. She's waiting for you in the reception area."

He'd done this on purpose, wanted to test her. She flipped open the file, knowing Randall Barrett wouldn't be giving her what she wanted—that wasn't his style—yet unable to control the small hitch of hope that maybe, finally, she'd be able to show him that she was capable of so much more than the family law cases that had been thrown her way.

The file contained only one sheet of paper. Four words had been hastily scrawled in black pen: Marian MacAdam. Custody matter.

The sight of it filled her with disappointment, resignation. Resentment, even. But not guilt. That would come later.

She closed the folder carefully. The writing was on the wall. Randall had her firmly slotted in the family law group. All the platitudes her mentor, John Lyons, had given her about the probationary period being a time to assess her strengths and see where she best fit in the firm were bull. She hadn't received a single litigation, insurance or corporate case since she'd been here. Just family law. The pink ghetto.

She met Randall's gaze. His was cool. Amused, even. Damn him. He knew she was pissed off. And he liked it.

She circled her desk, crossing her arms. "I have only two months left of my probationary period."

A small smile curved his mouth. He turned and held open her office door, waiting for her to collect her latest family law client.

His lack of response was specifically designed to intimidate her, she knew. She strode through the doorway, knowing he was too much of a gentleman to walk in front of her, no matter his natural inclination to be one step ahead. Over her shoulder, she said, "When John Lyons recruited me—" the slight lifting of Randall's brows showed he hadn't missed her meaning "—he told me I'd be working in the civil litigation group." She began walking down the hallway.

"John didn't have the authority to tell you that," Randall said matter-of-factly, falling into step beside her.

She hoped her face didn't reveal how much that casual revelation threw her. Not long after she'd arrived at LMB she'd suspected John had less power in the firm than he'd like to think, but she never expected that the managing partner would come out and say it to a first-year associate. Partners usually stuck together.

"Why did you hire me, then?"

"We brought you in for a probationary period—" His careful choice of words was deliberate. Kate's stomach clenched despite her resolve to not let him intimidate her. "—Because we need to see where your strengths lie."

"I thought you'd seen them pretty clearly on the Robertson file." She'd single-handedly won the day for her Davidlike client, resulting in an offer of employment from John Lyons, who represented the Goliath insurance company.

"Yes, there's no question that John was impressed with your work on that file. But that was one case. We deal with a multitude of clients and issues at LMB. We need to be confident of your abilities to handle both the clients and the issues." Translation: she was now swimming in a much bigger pond and needed to prove she could be a shark like all the rest.

They approached the glass door that led to the reception area. She stopped, crossing her arms. "Unless you give me some civil lit files, you'll never know."

"You'll get your chance, Kate." Randall held open the door. "Do a good job on these files and we'll see if there's something we can give you from the litigation group." His eyes met hers. Piercing. Sharp. Looked right through her.

She wasn't fooled for a minute that he was interested in her. She knew he wasn't. He just expected her to respond to his magnetism like every other female he encountered.

Well, she did, if she was honest with herself. How could she not? But he wasn't her type. Too cocky, too confident, too arrogant. And yet, there was a pull there. An awareness in her body that had everything to do with primal urges and nothing to do with self-respect. To respond physically to a man so sure of himself was humiliating.

She stepped around him and walked through the doorway into the reception area. The glass door closed behind her. Randall had not followed her.

She took a deep breath. Randall's patronizing "be a good girl" attitude had been hard to take. But he had thrown the bone she craved her way. She'd waited too long and desired it too deeply to walk away from it now. Because she knew if she forced the issue with Randall while she was still on probation he'd tell her to take a hike.

Her new client pushed herself to her feet when Kate approached.

"Mrs. MacAdam?" Kate asked, hoping she was wrong. She'd expected a middle-aged woman, but Marian MacAdam must have been well into her seventies. She wore a beautifully tailored camel overcoat that helped camouflage her stooped back. A pink-and-orange scarf was tied artfully around her neckline. Kate bet she drove either an Audi or a Mercedes. That was the car of choice for well-heeled Halifax matrons. The only thing that gave her away was her eyes. They looked anxious and tired.

"Yes," Marian MacAdam replied, her gaze sweeping over Kate. Uncertainty flashed across her face.

Kate put on a reassuring smile. "I'm Kate Lange." She held out her hand. Marian MacAdam grasped it, her fingers knobbed with arthritis but surprisingly soft and warm.

"My office is this way," Kate added briskly, holding the glass reception door open for her. They walked down the hallway, Kate forcing herself to shorten her stride, making small talk about the weather and the tulips. Marian MacAdam nodded, but said little. Her breathing came in shallow puffs by the time they reached Kate's office.

"Please, have a...

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damaged June 13 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
DAMAGED, Pamela Callow's first novel, is everything you'd ever want in a mystery/thriller. From the outset, overwhelming anxiety over the fate of Kate Lange, her precarious position within the law firm where she's worked for only a few months, not to mention her personal danger brought on by her immutable belief that she has to track down a killer, keep the tension high. Added to all this, is Callow's incredible ability to weave an intricate tapestry of mystery, fear, pain and guilt.
If you have time for only one book this summer, let it be DAMAGED.
You will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Thrill Ride June 24 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book has everything you need to keep you turning the page. Kate is a strong protagonist who, after setbacks in her past, is now struggling both personally and professionally. The combination of emotional themes, great characters, plot twists, unique setting, and the creepy Body Butcher make this thriller a must read for Summer. You won't be disappointed!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read June 28 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I carried this gripping thriller around in my purse for two days, sneaking it out at every opportunity to read the next page. I was so hooked I even had to finish one chapter by reading it under the table while I was out having lunch with my kids - I don't think they noticed! Can't wait for book two - Indefensible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Feel the Thrill - You wont be able to put it down March 2 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Fantastic first novel by Pam Callow - full of thrill, mystery, lawyers, police, romance -- all set in the beautiful seaside town of Halifax - if you have ever lived there you will feel the streets walked as you feel the thrill!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  47 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Debut Aug. 24 2010
By Lori Johnston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Damaged, author Pamela Callow's freshman effort at legal mystery/suspense/conspiracy thriller, started slowly but if you are patient, you will be rewarded by what became a page-turning, perfect summer read. It builds slowly, while painstakingly laying the groundwork on central character Kate Lange, her former fiance, Detective Ethan Drake, Kate's employer, and its partner, Randall Barrett, plus a bevy of supporting characters.

I found the murder mystery and conspiracy aspects of the story to be especially fascinating, having not guessed far ahead of time the connections and the "solution" before Kate (one of the bigger disappointments for me with mysteries/thrillers). I also appreciated the resolution, as it didn't stretch reality to unnatural boundaries and it seemed the natural course by the end of the book.

I liked the character of Kate by the conclusion of Damaged although I was a bit neutral about her throughout much of the early story. I always like a tough, determined character with some humanity and all three traits were in evidence as I flipped that last page. I was particularly pleased to note that Ms. Callow will have a new mystery featuring Kate releasing next year and I hope that we will learn more about Kate on this next venture.

By the same token, I hope that we will receive additional insight into the characters of Ethan Drake and Randall Barrett, who both seemed to be yearning for additional literary time. I felt that both characters still have a wealth of information to share and excellent storyline potential.

I also hope that we will see Kate's neighbors again, the elderly sisters Muriel and Enid, who I found engaging and pleasing. Is it possible that these two have secrets themselves or is it just the conspiracy buff in me at work?

Damaged, considering its subject matter, isn't heavy on the gore or violence, although it may have a few objectionable words. There is no sexual matter, although a brief innuendo, and some mentioned drug use.

In all, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Damaged to fans of the mystery, thriller and/or legal genre, all of whom are sure to be satisfied by this debut work that packs a powerful little punch.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damaged - Two Stories In One July 28 2010
By K. Herbrand - Published on Amazon.com
Kate was a new lawyer at Lyons McGrath Barrett law firm. She knew that she was going to have to work hard to prove that she belonged there. Having recently ended an engagement to Ethan Drake, detective, she had got a new job, bought a new house, and acquired a dog named Alaska.

Barrett was determined to keep Kate practicing family law for 2 reasons - He had a bone to pick with Ethan Drake and with John Lyons - the partner who had recruited her. He assigned her a case with a futile outlook. A grandmother (Marian) wanted custody of her granddaughter (Lisa) - but did not have any proof that the granddaughter wasn't being taken care of properly or that she was doing drugs. The hitch was that Lisa's mom was Hope Carson, a criminal court judge known for her icy personality and demeanor.

Kate tells Marian that she really doesn't have a case, but after mulling it over tries to call her back to discuss it. Unfortunately it is too late and Lisa has been murdered and dismembered. Talk about opening a can of worms! Now Kate has to worry that she did everything by the book in talking with Marian. She figures she can throw her law career out the window when John Lyons assigns her a litigation file with Trans Tissue as the client. Trans Tissue makes surgical products and they are being sued by someone who believes they contracted Hep C after an arthroscopic knee surgery using their product. See, the surgical products are made from human tissue from cadavers harvested by tissue suppliers.

So you really have two stories in one. You have the medical mystery of how this patient contracted Hep C and you have the very grisly thriller of the serial killer. There are quite a few supporting characters which are absolutely necessary to round these out and the book kept me tuned in all the way to the end. They did not give anything away too quickly but rather dropped the pieces in a little at a time. Definitely a must read. I am eagerly awaiting the second book in the series Indefensible, which is due out in January of 2011. I just discovered there is a third book - Tattooed coming out in August of 2011 and a fourth book planned for 2012.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Series with Potential Sept. 30 2010
By DRob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

Damaged, by Pamela Callow, is the first book in the Kate Lange mystery series. In this book, when a teen-aged girl is found dead and dismembered, attorney Kate Lange fears that the legal advice she gave to the teenager's grandmother led to the girl's death.

This is the third book I have read in the last 6 weeks with the particular plot device upon which this novel hangs, and although the other two books were written by established mystery writers, I like Callow's handling of the plot the best, so kudos to her. I tumbled to it rather quickly but perhaps if it hadn't been for the other two novels, it might have taken me a little longer.

Kate Lange is an interesting character-- while I might sometimes wish she were just a little bit smarter and not quite so naive, she is like most real people, trying to make sense of the world and her life and her job and trying not to screw up too badly.

My biggest gripe against this book is that Callow depicts the cops as completely incompetent.They appear to be clueless in what to do to investigate this case; they don't seem to have any knowledge of how to talk to hookers on the street and the lead detective is so wrapped up in his angst over his broken relationship with Kate that he makes too many obvious errors in trying to resolve the case. Consequently Kate is forced to investigate because the cops just don't seem to know what to do.

My other gripe is that some of Callow's depictions miss the feel of reality-- for instance, her depiction of the life of a hooker seems to be based more on what Callow imagines a hooker's life to be than on any semblance of reality.

However, on the whole I liked this book and look forward to reading more in the series. There is a tinge of romantic suspense in the book, but not so much that it detracts from the overall novel. The setting of Nova Scotia adds just a touch of the exotic to the locale, which is a nice change. If you like Karin Slaughter or Lisa Scottoline, you will probably like this series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Sept. 12 2010
By creative quilter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This fast moving thriller combines a bit of the legal genre with a lot of the mystery. The heroine is a character who is endearing because she is flawed enough to be believable. On occasion her ability to survive is a bit over the edge but it all works together to create a fascinating read that is hard to put down. When she is first introduced it is as a fairly newly minted lawyer who has recently broken the relationship with her policeman fiance when another officer unveils Kate's past to her fiance in front of others. His inability to understand why Kate has hidden her past from him is compounded by her own anguish at having the painful past dredged up. Nonetheless, the tension between them remains strong and is an integral part of the story, as is her past.

As first the granddaughter of her client is murdered in a horrid manner, then others are found to have been a well, she is thrust into the middle of the investigation. As a result she learns about body donation to science, how those bodies are used and what can become an ugly side of the business when greed and a lack of integrity drive the principals. The characters are cleanly drawn while the story offers enough twists and turns to keep the reader riveted. Even the ending offers freash surprises. A book worth reading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Callow Delivers Feb. 16 2011
By Sandy Toes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I thought Damaged was a great read! This makes me anticipate Callow's next literary offering. Kate Lange is the smart lawyer, with all the insecurities of a woman who is trying to overcome an early life that left her dealing with fear and guilt. As she discovered she was being used by the lawyer that hired her into a prestigious firm, she refuses to let anyone rob her of her future! The plot has many twists and turns. This is a great page-turner.
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