A Killer’s Kiss Review
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Victor Carl is a slick Philadelphia defense attorney who really should know better. He can successfully defend two-bit drug dealers, so he’s got the brains. Maybe it’s judgment that he’s lacking, as he doesn’t have much to show for his talents. Yes, he could use clients with more money. However, his biggest fault is that he’s a hopeless romantic.

Victor receives a call from his old flame, Julia, who’s seeking to rekindle their romance. She left him years ago for Wren Dennison, a wealthy urologist. Could their relationship work? They just need to get Wren out of the picture. Simple enough—a divorce. But just when Victor is ready to re-consummate their relationship, he receives a visit from some unwelcome visitors—two cops who inform him that Wren was just found murdered.

Julia has motive, though she claims that she’s innocent. Victor can’t represent her due to a conflict of interest—but it doesn’t matter anyway, as she feels comfortable with Wren’s long-time personal attorney, Clarence Swift. Even with all of the red flags, Victor feels that he must protect her at all costs, thus digging deeper and sinking quicker into the mess until there’s no turning back. He even fantasizes about their life together as he dismisses her lies, one after another. He realizes that there’s even evidence that she could be framing him for the murder. Still, he can’t let go.

A Killer’s Kiss grabbed me from start to finish. Sure, I wanted to slap Victor around a bit—actually a lot. After all, what happened to the natural instinct of self-preservation or even the notion of a betrayed lover’s thirst for vengeance? But I found myself really feeling for this poor sap. Author William Lashner, a former trial attorney for the Department of Justice’s criminal division, keeps his readers in suspense, throwing in a myriad of unusual characters and situations. Gangsters, dirty cops, innocent victims, and a truckload of motives emerge. We also learn that Victor isn’t the only man who’s under Julia’s spell. Add to that evidence that Julia is a romantic herself—in her own sordid, psychotic way.

A Killer’s Kiss is Lashner’s seventh novel featuring attorney Victor Carl, though it’s the first one that I’ve read. Unfortunately, Lashner states in the acknowledgements that he and Victor intend to “take a short break from each other” and start “hanging out with different people.” Hopefully, we’ll see Victor back in a few years. Meanwhile, I have six other opportunities to get to know him better.

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