‘Vindication’ had an intriguing premise, but when I started reading the book, I wasn’t completely sure if I’d like it. But when I finished the novel, I realized I loved it. So much so, I’m tempted to go back and read every one of the Matt Royal books.
First, what I liked.
My first impression was that the book is gorgeously written. The style is lyrical, with each word seamlessly flowing into the next. Apart from being incredibly easy on the eyes, this made it very easy for me to construct the scenes at reading pace.
The characters too are incredibly well-developed, but perhaps that is because this is the latest in a long series of books featuring most, if not all, of these characters.
I make it a habit to delve into a book without any substantial knowledge of what the book is about. This is a double-edged sword. It sometimes makes for breathlessly entertaining reading, but it can also lead to bitter disappointment if the book is poorly written.
I’m happy to report that this book falls into the former category.
This whodunit is developed in a sublime manner, with all sorts of clues to let the reader form his or her own theory as to who the killer might be.
At the 30% mark, it seemed fairly obvious to me who the killer was, and I must confess I thought it was lazy writing if I was able to deduce the killer’s identity so early in the book. But I read on, and I’m glad I did.
Initially, I was curious about how the author would establish the identity. But as the story progressed, I realized I could be wrong. That someone else might be the killer.
Turns out I was right and wrong at the same time. While my guess as to the killer’s identity is spot on, someone else, someone unexpected, is the master of puppets.
The legal side of the story (Matt Royal is, after all, a first-rate lawyer) is done in a very reader-friendly manner. There is no heavy-handed exposition peppered with incomprehensible legalese. On the rare occasion that calls for a legal term to be used, it is duly explained by the author so the readers are able to keep up with the story without any interruptions.
There are books that drag endlessly, and there are books that feel too short despite a sizeable story.
‘Vindication’ is the latter. At 320 pages, it never feels boring. It is not heavy in the middle. That’s a good thing.
Now, what I didn’t like.
One of the few things I didn’t really buy were the point of view chapters where JD was concerned, and Matt Royal’s separation anxiety.
The abrupt shift from first person to third is jarring, and many passages feel superfluous, as the author often treads upon areas which were already covered from the protagonist’s POV.
Then there’s Matt’s constant pining for JD whenever she is not around. For an accomplished and retired lawyer, it makes him sound incredibly juvenile and not keeping in with the character.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll conclude by saying ‘Vindication’ is a breezy legal thriller that I will definitely recommend as we get closer to the publication date.