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by Beverley McLachlin
Simon & Schuster, May 2018
352 pages
$14.99 CAD
ISBN: 1501172786

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Although she heads a tiny criminal law firm in Vancouver, Jill Truitt finds herself tapped to defend urbane businessman Vincent Trussardi on a charge of murdering his wife Laura, a prominent and highly-regarded socialite and social benefactor found dead in their home.

Defending Trussardi will prove to be a challenge. Trussardi is very wealthy, an intensely private man, self-contained to the point of arrogance, and conceals a personal history that can only harm his defence. His background will not endear him to the jurors: Oxford-educated, he collects cars and major works of art, sails in World Cup races, and in the past had kept the company of a succession of beautiful women.

Ignoring everyone's warnings, Truitt takes the case, and before long her talents are put to the test; for amongst the evidence against her client are the facts that his wife had been found dead in her own bed, the victim of a gunshot to the head; the gun used to end her life was owned by Vincent Trussardi, and kept in a safe to which only he had the combination. His alibi is that he was out sailing alone when his wife was killed, and had his cell phone turned off. Not a promising beginning. Add to that the fact that Truitt will be facing a cunning and devious opposing counsel in the courtroom and the young lawyer is facing an almost certain recipe for disaster.

Making life yet more difficult for Truitt, Laura Trussardi was the cousin of Michael St. John, a man with whom Jill has been in a close personal relationship for thirteen years. He implores her to drop the case, and she refuses—a decision that just might drive them apart forever. There are many revelations that stem from the case and her investigation, but before the case has ended Truitt will make a life-altering discovery that will call into question not only her handling of the case, but also her personal future.

FULL DISCLOSURE is a fine, layered novel, part courtroom drama, part whodunit, and all entertaining thriller. Author Beverly McLachlin has impeccable credentials, having served as a lawyer and jurist for nearly four decades, including seventeen years as Chief Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court. But FULL DISCLOSURE is no mere personal vanity piece, something produced to while away her retirement years and gain her a snippet of additional fame. It is a classic legal thriller and an entirely credible tale featuring believable characters, including not only an engaging protagonist but also the slimy and self-serving denizens of back alleys and the corridors of law; and although occasionally predictable, her story contains enough twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent fan of courtroom dramas. There are as well some sly personal references: "The Arthur Erickson building that houses the Supreme Court of British Columbia is light and airy, and [contains] a portrait of the chief justice of Canada on the wall (when she was young and looked good) to remind me that sometimes, occasionally, women actually do rule."

Readers will, I am sure, look forward to the next instalment in this promising new series in Canadian crime writing.

§ Since 2005 Jim Napier's reviews and interviews have appeared in several Canadian newspapers and on various crime fiction and literary websites, including his own award-winning site, Deadly Diversions. His own crime novel, Legacy, was published in the Spring of 2017, and the next in his series is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2018.

Reviewed by Jim Napier, May 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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