Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Wages of Sin by Nancy Allen (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"In rural McCown County, Missouri, a young pregnant woman is found beaten to death in a trailer park. The only witness to the murder is Ivy, her six-year-old daughter, who points to her mom’s boyfriend—father of the unborn child. County prosecutor Madeleine Thompson promises the community justice, and in the Ozarks, that can only mean one thing: a death sentence.

When Madeleine’s first choice for co-counsel declines to try a death penalty case, she is forced to turn to assistant prosecutor Elsie Arnold. Elsie is reluctant to join forces with her frosty boss, but the road to conviction seems smooth—until unexpected facts about the victim arise, and the testimony of the lone eyewitness Ivy becomes increasingly crucial. Against Elsie’s advice, Madeleine brings in the state attorney general’s office to assist them, while cutthroat trial attorney Claire O’Hara joins the defense.

Elsie will not let the power of prosecution—of seeking justice—be wrested from her without a fight. She wants to win the case, and to avenge the death of the mother and her unborn child. But as the trial nears, Elsie begins to harbor doubts about the death penalty itself. Meanwhile, the child Ivy is in greater danger than anyone knows."

My Thoughts:

I am having a really great year in regards to finding new to me authors to follow and Nancy Allen can easily be added to that list!  This is going to sound weird to say but at first I wasn't sure that I wanted to read this one.  I am always hesitant to read mysteries where children are involved as I don't want/like to read about violence towards children.  Saying that though, I couldn't resist wanting to read this one based off of the above summary.  I believe this book could be considered a legal thriller which is a genre that I haven't read in years.  I was intrigued especially because this book was going to focus on the death penalty which is one of those controversial subjects that you don't see that often in books (or at least the books that I read).  I am so glad that I decided to give this book a try as I have now found a great new series and author to follow!  Success!  One of the things that instantly drew me into this book was the main character, Elsie Arnold.  She was great and so utterly realistic that I can't even describe it.  The author really brought her to life for me as the reader in so many ways.  She wasn't perfect and she made mistakes but she felt all the more real because of it.  This was just one of those books that takes your expectations and utterly exceeds them.

What I found really unique about this book was the fact that from the beginning the reader knows who the bad guys are.  The mystery wasn't so much about who the bad guys were but how the main characters were going to be able to figure everything out which isn't like your typical mystery.  I loved this book for that alone!  When you read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, it always fun for an author to take you by surprise by the plot line of the book.  I also really appreciated the fact that this author's knowledge of the justice system came through so easily and in a way that was very understandable for me as the reader.  I wasn't thrown off by too much detail or unnecessary explanations of legal processes which can often happen with a book like this.  Instead, the author brought our justice system to light in a way that really hit home for me as the reader.  There is a very gray area when it comes to certain things and the way our justice system handles them (especially the death penalty).  I loved that Elsie struggled with trying the case because it meant that she was ultimately helping to sentence someone to death.  I've said it before but it bears stating again:  this book felt so realistic to me because of things just like this!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am eager to read more by this author!  There are two other books in this series to look forward to which is really great.  I sure do love when that happens!  I found this book to be thought provoking at times and for that alone I would recommend it.  Don't let the subject matter put you off- the author portrays everything that happens in a sensitive manner that didn't put me off at all.  I found the ending of this book to be intense and absolutely perfect.  It left me very excited about this series and ready to read more.  I would recommend this book to fans of thrillers and mysteries alike.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A mystery that made me think- a sure sign of a good read!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss as part of a PICT tour.


  1. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Samantha. I too hesitate when it comes to reading books that involve crimes against children. I can see why this one appealed to you--it does to me too! It's been ages since I last read a book involving the death penalty. I will have to keep my eye out for this one.

  2. Loved this review and the comment from LF! Thanks so much, Sam--& hope you'll check out my other Elsie books!

  3. Great review! I love discovering new series and I think this is one I have to add to my TBR list!

  4. Great review!
    Thanks so much Sam for the recommendation!


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