Thursday’s List by the author V.S. Kemanis is the first book in the new Dana Hargrove legal mystery series.
The author sent me a copy of the first two books in the series to read and review, and I accepted as I love legal thrillers (John Grisham, Michael Connelly and Phillip Margolin are some of my favorite authors in this genre).
Having just finished reading the book, my first impression was that this is not a legal thriller. In fact most of the book reads doesn’t read like fiction at all. It reads like the account of a new new prosecutor with their first months on the job – a very hard job, I might add.
The story revolves around Dana Hargrove, a rookie prosecutor who is yanked from her boring day to day job to be placed as the latest addition to a unit focusing on bringing down Columbian drug lords and any criminal attached to them.
Having her case just taken away from her by the very person who now is her direct boss, Dana doesn’t have the fondest feelings for him – or for the new job for the matter. However, she does the part and starts working her way through the rather menial tasks she is given, with the promise of greater things to come later on.
Little does she know that the reason for her hire is not strictly about her qualities as a lawyer, but her connections (and close friendship) to someone who might just be under investigation related to the case she is working on.
Eventually realizing that the team keeps things from her, Dana starts her own investigations into the matter, not knowing what to think of her best friend and her husband. Are they guilty or simply naive innocents?
The first 77% of the book (based on my Kindle app’s recording) is a minute account of Dana’s every day, her feelings, her dealings with her family and friends and lots and lots of details about her job. While reading this book I’ve learned more about the job of alow-levell prosecutor than I ever thought possible, short of actually being there myself.
All the characters (main and secondary) are pretty well defined, and the author’s detailed description of everything related to the people make us really see into their lives, whether they are important to the plot or not.
However interestingly enough, where these kinds of descriptions make me just flip the pages to get to the juicy details in other books, in Thursday’s List I was compelled to read every single line, The author definitely knows how to keep her readers glued to the pages, even without any real trace of chills and thrills to accompany the story.
There are no bodies in this book – not even one (well, one is mentioned towards the end, but that’s about it). So the book is not a crime mystery in the strict sense of the world. But a mystery is, nonetheless.
The real action starts late into the book, and it’s well worth wading through the first 3 quarters of the story to get to this part. As the author took her time to build up her characters, by now we know them well, they’re real to us, so everything that happens to them makes us feel everything they feel during their ordeal.
The writing is well done, and the proof is in the fact that I usually really skip through pages and pages of descriptions in other books, but here I kept on reading, and was not bored at all.
If you like intellectual, cerebral mysteries and love reading all the small detail about places and people featuring in the book, then Thursday’s List is for you.
Well done, Ms. Kemanis. I will pick up book 2 to read soon.