“Deadly Proof” by Rachel Dylan

Kate Sullivan is a 30-something lawyer who is given the biggest case in her relatively short career: lead counsel on a very big Pharma case involving a class action of families who have lost a member as a result of using a new drug from a global Pharma giant, MPC. Kate’s the plaintiff bringing the case against MPC and a college buddy, Ethan, is leading the defence.

We’re quickly thrown into the action as an insider (an MPC employee) having conferred with Kate is mysteriously murdered. Kate employs a PI to help her get to the bottom of that case to see if it has anything to do with her much bigger case. Of course it has a whole lot to do with it. Landon, an ex-Army Ranger, is the PI and there are immediate sparks between him and Kate and it’s clear their relationship will create fodder for the story’s romance angle.

Dylan knows the legal mumbo-jumbo well and I found all this really well handled. She made it sufficiently understandable that I found the more the case moved forward the more interested I was in it and wanted, like Kate, to get to the bottom of it. MPC wouldn’t make it easy for her. Increasingly, we come to see that MPC will do anything, or will they? to make sure they don’t have to settle the case before going to trial.

I liked how Kate was an intelligent career focused woman and was single. Often in Christian fiction our single female lead is just starting out in life in her twenties. Kate is also a Christian and I liked how Dylan showed her faith and walk with the Lord in the day to day. It was very realistic – we do pray before we go to an important meeting or have a bad guy chasing us. I also enjoyed Landon’s struggle with his faith. He felt abandoned by God, a common concern many experience, and Dylan didn’t just solve this matter for him. The respect he had for Kate’s faith was also lovely to read.

I struggled a little with the romance. It was a bit too melodramatic for my liking. They both had ‘history’ that kept being referred to that impacted both of their self-confidences but we never really got to understand that history very well. Many reviewers have mentioned they didn’t really connect with Kate and Landon and I understand that. Besides being thrown into the action around the case, a lot of their other interactions appeared … well, melodramatic. Sorry to use it again. I didn’t enjoy Landon’s tactile approach to Kate … it appeared a bit smarmy. And unprofessional. You don’t stand behind your employer’s chair and give her a shoulder massage. The many references to touching, taking his hand, etc got a bit tiresome. As did Landon’s “I should have been there for you, Kate” and “I don’t deserve a woman like her” … Yes, the struggle with self-confidence is a good topic to cover but I felt a more experienced author would have dealt with it better so that it came across more sincere and believable.

The ending felt a little contrived as it suddenly happened and was soon wrapped up. I think Dylan needed to give some indication of the rivalry between the key players earlier in the story as I struggled with believing the authenticity of the story’s resolution.

But bravo to Rachel Dylan for starting a series that has some real legal cred and I hope we see Kate and Landon further develop their characters in future novels. However, I wonder, if the series will move on to Kate’s two girlfriends, also both single and lawyers, and explore cases they’re involved in. I’ll be keen to read the next instalment.

If you enjoy a good legal case that hums along at a good pace with some good likeable characters then you’ll enjoy Deadly Proof.

I received a complimentary copy of Deadly Proof from NetGalley as part of the Litfuse Blog Tour but this had no influence on my review.

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