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30 May 2012

Melissa F Miller: Irreparable Harm (Sasha McCandless #1)

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Sasha McCandless - new legal thriller heroine
In her debut novel Melissa Miller introduces us to a new legal thriller heroine - Sasha McCandless - who is different to most fictional lawyer heroines because she has the self-defence skills to protect herself from attack.

Sasha has just completed 8 years of long and arduous hours of her legal apprenticeship and is close to the holy grail of a partnership in a large legal firm. She endures 6 days a week at the office (with little time for a social life), rising before dawn and getting home in time to fall exhausted into bed.  To cope with the pressure, to save time in the morning she sleeps in her jogging gear, grabs a quick cup of coffee and starts her morning exercise run to daily Krav Maga self defence practice.

One of her law firm's biggest clients is a major airline where one of their planes inexplicably loses all pilot control and crashes into a mountainside. During urgent legal damage control to avoid costly class actions from families of passengers killed in the crash, Sasha and her team quickly become suspicious about whether the crash was accidental and further crashes may be planned.

Her fears are confirmed when she is attacked to prevent her completing her investigations. Using her self-defence skills, she inflicts severe injuries on her attackers. From then the race is on to prevent a further crash, helped by her loyal staff and an Sky Marshal who is also convinced that the crash was not an accident.

While some of the action is over the top and unbelievable, this is a page turning and mostly satisfying action thriller .

I enjoy legal thrillers immensely but wonder why a profession that to me is next on the boring list to accountancy can generate so many fictional investigative and action heroes. Maybe it is because the US legal system is played like a football game that it is possible to make fantasies about the match play and create fictional legal theatre.

Because some of the character development is patchy and some action unbelievable, my basic rating is 3.5 stars. But as this is a pretty good first novel and I am keen to read more about Sasha's later exploits I have upped this to a 4 star rating.

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