“It will make you look at your darkest desires and then turn away in shame.” No shock Sherlock what was your first clue? In this psychological thriller “Of the Law” by Susan Wingate (Sixteen Cat Tails Press) is a sort of twisted memoir/ murder mystery. The main character is Harvey Fleming, the chief of Police for Dahl Island near Washington D.C. He is quickly caught up in a multi-year and multi-faceted web of lies and deceit orchestrated by the local ne’re do well and rich socialite Leona Malouf who has just been murdered and no one is complaining too loudly. Leona was out to get the money left over from her deceased husbands estate that he left mostly to her children leaving her with reduced means. She, on the other hand, is willing to step on, pay off, or even kill anyone who gets in her way. Harvey is personally touched by how many of his own friends’ lives’ she has ruined and throughout the story destruction is usually left in her wake. What inflames him even more is how she can extricate herself without getting touched by the law. Finally in a climax a spectre from her past returns and gives the book a masterful conclusion.

This book is a hard pill to swallow however. All the things that we think about at night or in the shower are exposed on the page as we explore mental institutions and government bureaucracies. Every vice is splayed out before the reader in all its horrors. The first part of the book is exploring the fanciful and panged mind of Harvey Fleming, a widower himself actually. And picking up the necessary background to explain Leona’s death. Because of how many lives in this small town she had ruined the list of people with a beef against her is long but he is deteremined to find the truth among the lies and bribes.

Which brings me to the part I didn’t like about the book. The frequent off shoot plots and stories that were meant to add to the plot sometimes took wings themselves and seemed to fly the reader away from the main story and it could be pages before the reader is returned to the events at hand. It is generally a good idea to keep back story to a minimum but this book seemed to go overboard a little too much.  That said, Susan Wingate is probably the new Queen of the murder mystery. Her literary skills are masterful and her command of the human psyche is remarkable. Certainly I will be looking forward to more material out of this author in the future. The book is available everywhere for $21.95 and in ebook form at the website below. Prepare for an in-depth investigation of the human mind in, “Of the Law.”

The website for the book is:http://www.ofthelaw.com  

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