Windfall by Brian Lutterman (Pen Wilkinson #2)

Finally! The second book in the Pen Wilkinson series, Windfall, is here. When I’ve first read Downfall last year, I was not even sure there would be a sequel, but luckily the author didn’t disappoint his readers.

Pen Wilkinson is a paraplegic. She is also a lawyer, and darn good at her job. In her first book we meet her in her new job which turns out to be nearly her downfall indeed. The reasons for hiring her were all wrong and scary – not only that, but they could easily cost her freedom, if not her life as well.

Now Pen is back as a young prosecutor who is working on a major case: that of bringing down a corrupt congressman. This is her first big case, one that should cement her role within the wheels of the giant machinery called the justice system.

Before she even goes to trial, however, the problems start. Her star witness disappears and the time bomb is ticking, with the trial date nearing way too fast for comfort.

Against everyone’s advice, Pen goes across the country to try to find the witness who could put the corrupt politician behind bars. However there are others who don’t want the witness found and make Pen’s life not only difficult, but also threaten to kill her.

To make things even more complicated, her boyfriend, James Carter gets arrested for the murder of his ex, and now Pen has not only to find the missing witness, but also to help exonerate her banker boyfriend before he goes to jail for a crime he did not commit.

And even worse, the police now sees her a viable suspect in the murder case as well, since she could have had a very real motive for killing the ex: jealousy.

Soon Pen realizes that the two cases are connected and that she’s just stumbled into something bigger than anyone realizes. And the clock is mercilessly ticking away.

This second thriller in the Pen Wilkinson series was just as rewarding to read as the first book. I already got to learn about Pen and to respect and feel for her. In Windfall we learn even more about Pen, about her feelings and what she is going through every day. She has a strength of character and will that you don’t see in many people who are not even handicapped.

This world is harsh and it doesn’t look kindly to anyone who is ‘different’. And a woman with disabilities is the perfect example of ‘different’. Yet she shines where others would crumble. I deeply admire her and if she were a real person, I’d want to meet her in real life (but on the right side of the law, of course).

The story is suspenseful and you get enough edge of your seat moments to keep you engrossed in the pages right to the end of the book. The plot is carefully crafted and I really enjoyed how the two seemingly separate stories came together in the end. And I was glad to learn that James is in fact an honorable man, because I got to like him too.

As in the first book in the series, I was pleased to see that there is not too much romance – just enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to turn the book into a romantic suspense novel.

Overall the second book in the Pen Wilkinson series was a great read, and I truly hope the author is working on a third novel. I will miss Pen until then.

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