From Publishers Weekly
With this graphic serial killer/courtroom thriller, debut novelist Hoffman joins the lengthening list of high-powered legal ladies whose professional expertise serves as the basis for authentic, insider crime fiction. Blond, beautiful law student Chloe Larson is looking forward to a great future with successful New York businessman Michael Decker. Her expectations are shattered forever after a madman in a clown mask rapes and tortures her until she is near death. She survives physically, but psychologically slips into an extended mental breakdown. Twelve years later she's dyed her hair mousy brown and become unassuming, hardworking C.J. Townsend, assistant chief of the Miami Dade State Attorney's office. A suspiciously lucky break nets serial killer suspect William Bantling, and C.J. takes over the prosecution as part of her normal workload. When Bantling stands up in court and speaks, C.J. realizes he's the man who raped her years ago. C.J. learns that the statute of limitations has run out on her rape and that her involvement in that case might very well cause Bantling to be freed on a technicality. Love interest Special Agent Dominick Falconetti knows there is something seriously wrong as C.J.'s mental state begins to deteriorate, but she brushes off his concern and immerses herself in her work on the case. The far-fetched resolution will throw some readers, but Hoffman compensates with a compellingly horrific villain and an undeniably exciting final confrontation.
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Hoffman comes on to the scene with a vengeance in her debut novel. It's 1988, and Chloe, fresh out of law school and cramming for the New York State bar exam, has her future shattered when she is brutally raped and maimed; she blows off the exam and her would-be fiance because she is so haunted by the crime and the indelible mark it has left on her life. Cut to 2000; there is a serial rapist on the loose who doesn't just injure his victims, he carves out their hearts and leaves them for dead in conspicuous places. On the case is compassionate officer Dominick Falconetti of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and when a suspect is found, Dominick is teamed with C. J. Townsend of the Major Crimes Unit of the state's attorney's office. Together the talented cop (male) and aggressive prosecutor (female) build the case against the creep, but there is an urgency to C. J.'s actions that makes Dominick wonder about her motivation. This is a fine first novel, with twists and turns of the highest order and an ending that is downright breathtaking. Mary Frances WilkensCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved