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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Thrilling Thursday Review: Righteous Exposure by A K James

Strongly individual thriller with a powerful theme of justice and morality.

Title: Righteous Exposure
Author: A K James
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Crooked Cat
Published: 14 Feb 2012

Source: purchased on my Kindle

Find it at Amazon UK or Goodreads

The blurb says:
Revenge, retribution and redemption.

Doctor Alita Ramirez has achieved hard won goals, despite her humble beginnings from a poor Hispanic neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas. When she by chance discovers the truth about her past, she is driven to take drastic action. Alita is prepared to jeopardize everything, even her life, to expose the hypocrisy and cruelty of one man – Robson Cutter.

One of the richest men in San Antonio, Cutter is a pillar of his community. Alita’s quest is to reduce this pillar to dust. She knows a dark secret about Cutter that will bring him to his knees, but exposing the past of such a powerful man requires extreme measures. Will Alita have the strength and determination to succeed?

My verdict: a twisty thriller with an unusual quest
This debut novel packs a serious punch. With well-drawn characters and a plot that really ramps up the pressure, I was highly reluctant to put it down. My kids always know I'm reading a good one if I'm unwilling to put it down to stir and poke at dinner, and this was definitely the case here. Alita's central plan requires some suspension of disbelief, but it isn't too hard to believe a woman under the pressures she faces could come up with such a crazy idea. And then, as one thing after another threatens to undermine that not-so-brilliantly-constructed plan, you can't help but root for Alita.

At the same time, and cued by the title, the reader is invited to consider how 'righteous' Alita's actions are. Cutter lives a dreadful life, but does that mean Alita's actions are justified? It's always a good sign when a book leads you to think more broadly, to consider its morals and messages, and this novel certainly ticks that box.

I enjoyed the writing style, particularly the initial knitting of past and present to help us understand Alita's background and her current circumstances. There are plenty of well-placed hints that help to raise the tension level, as we can see people closing in on Alita, but there are also sufficient red herrings and dead ends that the eventual conclusion of the plot did not disappoint.

Overall, I'd recommend this as an engaging and unusual thriller.

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