Monday, May 2, 2016

Mission Hill - Pamela Wechsler

First line: "I'm in bed, silently reciting their names."

Abby Endicott is the chief of the Boston District Attorney's Homicide Unit. Coming from a wealthy family, Abby isn't the typical ADA. She wears designer clothes, drives a Prius and lives in a posh apartment. Her family regularly hounds her to leave the DA's office and find a job that's a little more upscale, a little less dangerous. But Abby loves her job; it's the center of her universe and she has no intention of going anywhere.

Abby's cases haunt her nightly. Instead of counting sheep she counts the people she's prosecuted for murder. The gruesome and terrible ways people have snuffed out the lives of others. Despite the four years of cases--26 murderers--she's completely unprepared for the case that summons her at three in the morning.  A fellow ADA is the victim; his body is found at tow lot, conjuring up questions about what he was doing there in the middle of the night.

But the victim's murder is the police's case right now. This heinous assault on the ADA's office leaves Abby with a high-profile case the victim was preparing to take to trial, a case that Abby has personal ties to. Despite her history with the victim, the judge allows Abby to take over the prosecution. As she puts her case together, the police investigate her colleague's murder and the two start to cross paths. Abby's determined to put her accused murderer behind bars, but her doggedness may put her in the morgue instead.

Pamela Wechsler's debut novel conjures up hints of Linda Fairstein's Alex Cooper with her financially secure ADA protagonist. She also has hints of Alafair Burke's Samantha Kincaid with her gutsy, no-nonsense female homicide prosecutor. But Wechsler offers her own contributions to the genre as well. Abby's personal baggage is integrated into this first novel, adding dimension and flavor to her character. Her boyfriend, Ty,  and a detective colleague, Kevin, provide avenues for development of Abby as well as being strong, interesting supporting characters. All of these aspects leave opportunities for Wechsler to continue the growth in Abby's character in subsequent additions to the series.

While the plot's case isn't anchored to Boston, Wechsler does develop the city's setting throughout the novel, as well as provide an insider's view of courtroom procedure. The pace of the novel is swift and the suspense is maintained throughout. Mission Hill adds a fascinating new female protagonist to the genre and gives legal thriller fans a new series to enjoy.

Mission Hill is available starting tomorrow in hardcover from Minotaur (ISBN: 9781466887138). It is also available as a unabridged audio download from Recorded Books, narrated by Morgan Hallett. You can find a copy at your favorite independent bookstore or any of the following online retailers:

Alibris Amazon Audible
Book Depository iTunes Kobo


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