Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Chelle Cordero
Available: Paperback, Kindle
Eight years after the abduction and murder of his fiancé, Tom Hughes throws back his last drink pondering the next day’s hearing. Her killer had been found. Consumed with rage and wanting to confront the man who took his future away, Tom leaves the bar and stumbles upon an attractive well dressed woman named Alli whose badly bloodied her knee after twisting her ankle. Uncertain why such a woman would be found so late in a rather dangerous part of town, Tom comes to her aid. Though cautious of a complete stranger wanting to help her, Tom insists ensuring that Alli does not suffer the safe fate as his fiancé years before.
At the hearing, Tom begins to think perhaps his life can finally move on with the killer to be tried and a new woman in his life. His dreams quickly unravel when he learns that Alli is the killer’s attorney. Taunted by the man as they leave the courtroom, Tom beats him so badly the killer is hospitalized and later found murdered. With his life turned upside down, Tom is now accused of murder and Alli must prove his innocence.
Chelle Cordero begins Within The Law with a great setup of murder, betrayal, and plot twists that engage the reader immediately. As I read the opening chapters, I was reminded somewhat of Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent. Cordero then takes a turn I didn’t expect, and the opening story arc closes. In Ken Follet style, the novel subsequently explores the tragic sequence of events keeping Tom and Alli from being together. The novel is, therefore, less courtroom murder mystery and more star-crossed love story.
Cordero’s writing and plot is engaging and entertaining. One is drawn to Tom and Alli and their story just as they are drawn to one another. The dialogue is real and crisp and the novel moves quickly. Within the Law makes a great summer beach read.