“Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.
Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why? For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
Short take: This was a great read and I would definitely recommend it to fans of crime or legal fiction!
I don’t want to reveal too much because the pacing of this book was perfect. Information about the shooting, about Jack and Olivia’s past, and about each of them individually is revealed at just the right increments and I don’t want to spoil that for any prospective readers.
The story is very fast-paced and each chapter had me guessing as to what would happen next. Is Jack lying? Is Jack telling the truth? My predictions kept changing the more we learned about Jack and about the crime. Things really picked up in the last thirty or so pages and I kept pausing to absorb the new developments, and then picking the book right back up to continue reading. Once again, as usual, I wasn’t able to guess who the killer was. Everything was wrapping up a little too nicely so I figured something was coming; by the time Olivia put it together I was so surprised and wondered how I had missed all the clues up until that point.
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Alafair Burke’s books and have loved every single one I have read so far, and The Ex was no exception! Burke is easily one of my favorite crime writers. Her books are so realistic, intricately plotted and detailed, and complex but not to the point of overwhelming the reader. Not to mention, the main character is always a smart woman who is easy to root for. These are officially my go-to books!