Book review: Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta

Law of Attraction
by Allison Leotta
Touchstone/Simon&Schuster 2010

Law of Attraction is an excellent debut novel by a natural storyteller that will be highly enjoyable to those who, like me, enjoy legal thrillers. Anna Curtis is a newly qualified assistant attorney in Washington, DC, whose role is to deal with misdemeanours, usually concerning domestic violence. By this route, she handles the case of Laprea Johnson, whose boyfriend and father of her twins has beaten her up. Anna prepares all the paperwork for cases such as these and builds up the material ready for trial. When Laprea’s court date arrives, however, Anna is disappointed and worried about the outcome.

Anna’s personal dilemma is that the defence attorney, Nick Wagner, is a gorgeously handsome man she knows from law school. Nick makes a strong play for Anna, who succumbs. Their romance is rudely interrupted, however, by the next, inevitable crisis in Laprea’s life. This crisis finds Anna seconded to the state’s chief homicide prosecutor, Jack Bailey. Increasingly conflicted both by her feelings about Nick and about possible holes in the case the prosecution is preparing, Anna heads into personal and professional disaster.

There are lots of things to like about this book. It is a good story, well told, with plenty of twists and turns – including a good one at the end. Anna is an attractive protagonist, with just the right mix of ambition and personal insecurity. Perhaps the most interesting aspect, though, is the message held in the title of the book, the “law of attraction”. Both Anna and Laprea are examples of people who suffered ordeals in their childhoods and are inevitably affected by these experiences as adults in the choices they make. Without being heavy-handed, the author shows convincingly the pain and conflicts inherent in rising above the strong formative influences we experience as children.

I purchased this book.

Read other reviews of this novel at: Psychotic State, S. Krishna’s books and Rhapsody in Books.

Above the Law: interview with the author, who is a federal prosecutor in Washington, DC, specialising in felony sex crimes and domestic violence.

Author’s website, with more information about the book and her next novel, and more. Extracts from reviews of the book can also be read at the author’s website.

Video (via the publisher) of the author talking about her book.

10 thoughts on “Book review: Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta

  1. Interesting review and the fact that the author is a federal prosecutor adds an interesting dimension. I don’t always think they make the best writers, although there are some notable exceptions such as Anne Holt.

  2. Maxine – This does sound like a good read, and your review is as ever excellent. I think we’re influenced in our adult choices by the backgrounds we have and when that is handled well, it can lead to a very solid character development. It’s good to hear that the legal aspects of the novel, as well as the mystery, are skillfully handled too. Good thing I didn’t have my credit card with me when I read this review😉

  3. Always good to find more legal mysteries, a genre I began reading while in high school, in the Middle Ages.

  4. Thanks for the heads up on this one. I am reading it now due to your review–just what I needed to get me out of my crime slump, which I can’t seem to get beyond this year for some strange reason. It is a page turner–I don’t tend to like legal thrillers (I think I’ve watched too many of them on TV or something), but I very much like this one and may have to reconsider not picking up these sorts of books in the future. Also I’ve been to DC a number of times–my sister used to live in Adams Morgan, so the descriptions are actually meaningful to me–a nice touch.

    • Thanks, Danielle. I liked this one as it is a good combination of page-turner and sympathy for the situation that the women find themselves in- which in the case of women like Laprea, is rarely dealt with in any depth or sympathy in crime fiction.

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  7. Your review makes me want to read the book so I will look out for it.
    Have you read any books from Massimo Carlotto?

    • Thanks for your comment, Laura. Yes, I read Poisonville (which he coauthored with someone else) – which I found excellent and can highly recommend. I also read the first of his trilogy set at the end of WW2 (Carte Blanche) which I also liked.

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