By William Bernhardt
Release Date: March 22, 2022
Ebook Available from WV Reads!
3 Stars - A fast-paced read that's part mystery and part courtroom thriller. I was new to the Splitsville series and found a lot to like in this entry. This was both dark and humorous at times, and the storyline regarding the human trafficking industry was engrossing. But I'm not sure I ever really connected with this entire plot or cast of quirky characters.
Bernhardt's work is hit and miss for me, and this one was somewhere in between. I liked to see him branch out from the Ben Kincaid series, and Kenzi is a strong female lead. Her backstory opens up a lot of possibilities for great stories. I liked her relationship with her sister and potential boyfriend Alex. She's clever and determined. But somehow, her relationship with her family and daughter felt more like filler to me, which was a disappointment. I needed a bit more everyday woman, softer side or something like that, to relate to her.
This started off on the wrong foot a bit, and I'm not sure I truly clicked with this one because of it. I loved the realistic dialogue and the sharp scene and location descriptions. And the violent opening is also almost trademark Bernhardt. Plus, it's important to the plot in ways you don't imagine until later. But I felt a little unsettled by it, maybe it left me off-kilter. The original ideas with Kenzi's firm handling mostly civil and divorce cases, dealing with her dad's, etc. might really grab some readers. It just didn't hold my attention as a subplot. The human trafficking angles were fascinating but a bit hard to take too. And I didn't appreciate that the political jabs started early. As an independent, I don't like fictional characters having such strong opinions in the way of making opposite-party people look like clowns. It's better left out or mostly off the pages. While this was entertaining, I don't think I'm eager to hop into the rest of this particular series. But the aspects that didn't work for me may be enticing for other readers.