Friday, November 6, 2009

Book Review: The Other Extreme by T.J. MacGregor

The Other Extreme - T.J. MacGregor

Jay Hutchin is an esteemed judge and respected member of the community. But while he is looked upon as an authority of the judicial system, he is also leading a secret life away from the courts, by having an affair with an up-and-coming actress named Diane Jackson- a woman who is taking Hollywood by storm and also seeing other men on the side. When Jay kills Diane in a jealous rage, he has to try and do everything in his power to prevent the press from discovering his involvement. This is especially crucial after the President’s chief of staff contacts Jay to inform him he is on the shortlist for a possible appointment as attorney general. With the FBI delving into his life to determine his suitability for the position, Jay has everything to lose if his role in Diane’s death is made public.
Meanwhile, defence attorney Kit Parrish is hired to defend Diane’s boyfriend, who has been arrested for the murder. While she is collecting evidence for the defence, FBI agent Ben Webster enters her life, reopening a cold case which involves Kit’s brother Pete, who disappeared a decade before. If that’s not enough to contend with, Kit also has to deal with her son’s strange behaviour, which is triggered by voices only he can hear.
Kit faces many challenges in her efforts to save an innocent man from a life sentence, put the real culprit behind bars, and help her son uncover ghosts from memories that belong to someone else.

What I gained from reading this book:
This novel shows how jealousy and greed can change people’s lives, and how too much power can corrupt even those whose duty of care shouldn’t be compromised. Although Jay Hutchin is a figure of authority, he finds himself stooping to the level of the people he convicts in an effort to reign supreme and ‘beat’ the judicial system. He even goes so far as to plan the downfall of Diane’s boyfriend, who has been arrested for her murder despite his innocence. This shady portrayal of the judge helps to raise awareness that there are people out there who consider their interests before everyone else’s, and that this is not just a weakness held by people of little power.

This story holds all the trademarks of a political thriller like you’d see on the big screen, with paranormal elements such as memory transfers also thrown into the mix. It’s difficult not to get drawn into the intertwining storylines.

The sub-plot involving Kit’s son Ryan and the memories he keeps on dredging up is interesting, but it is also very easy to determine whose memories they are. This predictability, despite the characters not piecing it together, can sometimes be infuriating for readers.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Recommended for: People who enjoy reading a good murder mystery, even if some of the characters seem to have abilities beyond the norm.

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