Monday, June 4, 2018

ARC Review: The One You Can't Forget by Roni Loren

Series:The Ones Who Got Away #2
Pub. Date:June 5, 2018
Publisher:Sourcebooks Casablana
Length:416 pages

This is only my second read from Roni Loren, and I'm jumping into a series already in progress. The One You Can't Forget is the second installment of The Ones Who Got Away. I haven't read the first book, and I felt like this one worked okay as a standalone. The series focuses on a group of heroines (and the hero of the first book), who are survivors of a mass shooting at Long Acre High School. The stories take place 10-15 years later, and our heroines are a close group of professional women living in Texas.

The heroine in this installment is Rebecca Lindt, a high-priced, ball-busting, cheater-hating divorce attorney. She was also highly unethical. We got off on the wrong foot, and we couldn't ever get back on the right one. See, the book starts off with Rebecca doing something highly unethical for an attorney. Because it happens in the first few pages, I'm gonna discuss it as I don't think its a spoiler. (If you disagree with that - stop reading now.)  See, Rebecca is in a mediation session for a contentious divorce and the wife and her attorney step out of the room to confer. Rebecca walks over and opens opposing counsel's files and looks through them... then uses the information she learned to force a favorable settlement for her client. WTF??? As an attorney myself, I was agog. This is absolutely horrid. She has violated attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine. I understand that you hate cheaters and they deserve everything karma has coming to them... but you should not violate your own professional ethics woman! Man, this just bothered me through the whole story and so I was predisposed to find Rebecca's every fault and flaw and not give her the benefit of the doubt. Given some of her other behavior, I just had an overall feeling that she was not a good person. And that really wasn't the case. She was a tragic heroine, a school shooting survivor that did something incredibly mean and stupid when she was a kid... but I wouldn't wish a violent act on anyone I just had a really had a hard time sympathizing with her character.

Wes Garret is our hero, who was also a somewhat tragic dude. Wes lost everything in a messy divorce, where Rebecca represented his wife and helped to ruin his life. So now he is an aspiring culinary artist without much direction, having gone from the limelight into a downward spiral that resulted in alcoholism and rehab. The recovering alcoholic aspect is not a characteristic that I really care to have in my heroes. As someone who does not have an addictive personality, I just can't relate to that battle. But it wasn't a deal breaker and I ended up liking Wes despite his faults. I totally would like to shake the spit out his ex-wife as she sounds truly vile. I liked his work with the disadvantaged students at the high school; he really seemed to be a great teacher even if that position was very far from his original ambition. Notwithstanding his recovery, I felt like his character needed less personal growth than our heroine.

The story as a whole was not bad. I liked the plot and how everything was laid out. I liked the Burnt Cheeseball and the kids. I liked the girl posse of survivors. I was glad that this book wasn't trying to bash me over the head with gun control arguments. I was very conflicted about the mugger and his potential apprehension, or lack thereof. But man, I am still just grumbling over that ethical violation in the beginning. I feel like I need to put it in my next ethics training presentation. This is why it's an occupational hazard for me to read books that delve into the legal arena - I tend to pick those aspects apart. I just can't help it. 

I am interested in some of the other characters, and am curious about their stories. (Though I didn't care for Rebecca's father, and had some iffy moment's with Wes' brother.) But I may give one of the other books in this series a shot (as long as there are no more attorneys).

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca.

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