"The Ex" by Alafair Burke


Book Description: Twenty years ago, she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife, Molly, by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That's when Jack's world falls apart.

Olivia Randall is one of New York City's best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancĂ©, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife's murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is, who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

As I have said multiple times, Mary Higgins Clark is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I read one of her books co-authored by Burke. I enjoyed that book and decided to give Burke's novels a try. 

Can a good, sweet, loyal, kind person commit a horrific crime? I dove into "The Ex," and right away found the backstory intriguing. The writing style reminded me a bit of MHC, but in the first person, which I don't mind. I relate well to the first-person narrative. The characters were multidimensional, and the author kept me guessing about Jack's guilt or innocence by revealing one little piece of evidence at a time, just enough to cause doubts about his pleas of innocence. I had figured out the answer to that question before the story ended, and there were a few points about the scenario that I found difficult to believe, but it was still an enjoyable read to me. I already have another Burke novel on reserve.