Forsaken Oath by V.S. Kemanis (Dana Hargrove Legal Mystery #3)

I’ve been reading the Dana Hargrove books from the very first one called Thursday’s List, ever since the author contacted me with a book review request some two years ago. Then the second book came out, and now the third.

The first one was a good book. The second one was even better. And this third one, Forsaken Oath, well, it really shines.

So far the series takes place somewhat in the past, gradually following Dana Hargrove from a rookie prosecutor still wet behind her ears to her becoming a powerful, fearful and just prosecutor, standing behind those wronged by others. The year now is 2001.

Dana is just about to go on a well deserved holiday with her husband Evan, who is also a practicing lawyer, albeit in a different sector. Things don’t go as planned, however, as Dana’s past suddenly comes back to haunt her in the form of Ellen, a former rather mediocre employee who is hell bent to free her criminal brother from prison no matter the cost.

Ellen is now the head of an organization focused on freeing wronged prisoners, and she has a plan in motion to free her brother who was booked some years ago for scamming people out of their hard earned money. And her evil mastermind plan involves destroying her old nemesis Dana Hargrove.

Ellen is a weak character, and I’m glad to see that Dana’s instinct about her was right from the start. I never really liked her and only felt once something akin to sympathy, because I saw how much she loves her brother. But in the end she got exactly what she deserved, in a very interesting twist of fate. I really didn’t see that one coming.

There are two main stories in the book, which elegantly intersect at the end. It is not the first time that somehow both Dana’s and her husband Evan’s cases meet, but it might just be the first time when Dana’s entire family is threatened by some really evil guys.

I quite enjoyed the second storyline involving Evan’s mother, because this thing really hit close to home. We are all at risk – especially the elderly – to be scammed out of our money, and this case showed that even people who are sure that they can spot the fake, can fall prey to evil.

Dana is a strong character, but so is Evan. Their love for each other, and above all their trust in each other really shines in this book – and let’s just say, it helped solve both crimes at the same time. I enjoy their interaction and I wish more families were as strong as they are.

In most books the couple keep secrets from each other due to the nature of their work. Not so Dana and Evan and upon finishing the book, I was reflecting on how trusting each other and brainstorming at home with a likewise mind can help solve the hardest of cases while also strengthening their relationship, When one doesn’t trust another to discuss their day as equal partners, the relationship slowly falls apart, and sadly it happens way too often in real life.

In this book the main case was really not as relevant – they always come and go and I’m sure Dana and Evan will have to put all sorts of criminals behind bars. Here the family dynamics was what really stuck in my mind. I just hope that their cases will never end up opposing and conflicting with each other – although I’m sure that they’ll be able to talk and sort it out, no matter what obstacles are thrown at them.

I’m really looking forward to the next Dana Hargrove mystery, as I enjoy seeing how she gradually develops into a really strong heroine full of integrity, an idol to follow for most of us.

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