RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler


Title: Justice for Sara
Author: Erica Spindler
Publication Info: St. Martin's August 2013
ISBN: 978-1250012524
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Book Justice for Sara This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Emily A. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Short Contemporary Series Romance category.

The summary:

When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutally murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye. Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried. While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed, and her only choice was to go into hiding. But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death . . .

Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life. Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: “What about justice for Sara?” What about justice for Sara? And for herself? Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace. And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.

But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left. The secrets and suspicions still run deep. Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one. With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting—and dying—for.

And here is Emily A.'s review:

Justice for Sara is a grade A mystery. Whether it's a romance is something that may vary depending on the reader.  It follows in the traditions of Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, Mary Stewart, and probably Barbara Michaels. All of these ladies have written mysteries with strong romantic elements. (Although many of their mysteries didn't include romantic elements.  Christie, for example, wrote books that were only mysteries and books that had strong romantic elements.)

Justice for Sara was well-done. Suspenseful. Readable. Entertaining. Chilling. Compelling. It's written in shifting third-person with the point of view always clearly labeled at the beginning of the chapter.  It also jumps back and forth in time from ten years earlier when the main crime takes place to the present day. The shifts in time are also well-noted.

I loved Kat, who is pure Gryffindor, “Their Daring, Nerve and Chivalry —Set Gryffindors Apart”.  She is bold and fearless, but takes a lot of risks.  She's not stupid; she's impulsive, heedless, and apathetic about her own life.  At seventeen, she was a rebellious teenager, who was still dealing with the grief of losing both her parents, and being raised by her sister, the eponymous Sara, until Sara is murdered.  It makes sense to me that she is mostly slow to make connections and confide in others. She tends to keep to herself.

I also really enjoyed Luke.  He works as the “acting” Chief of Police in their small town of 750 people. His job defines much of his character.  A lot of his police work seems a little more casual than on a forensic show, but it's a small town with probably a smaller budget to work with. Can I say I enjoyed the fact that he doesn't act out on his impulses to hit and otherwise beat up the suspects? I'm getting tired of watching fictional police using physical violence as an interrogation technique, but also just so they can vent and appear tough or why ever they do it.

The writing was strong, and the dialogue was forceful with people calling each other out on their crap. I enjoyed the way the mystery played out.

How does Luke know he can trust Kat in the beginning? She's still the prime suspect in her sister's murder, but Luke feels like he can tell based on his “gut.”  To be fair, by the time their relationship gets physical, he has found compelling other evidence and multiple additional suspects. I've seen it before in mystery-romance and for me, it's less of a problem that it could be.

As I hinted earlier with the list of authors, this book is not very “sexual.”   I definitely felt the connection between the characters, but this isn't one of those books where the hero has an erection the entire time and they can't keep it in their pants. (Although there is one extremely short sex scene, that I wasn't sure the book needed.) I think the delayed intimacy strengthened their emotional and mental bond, which can be (and is in this book) a good thing.

Ultimately, I believe these two have found a chance at a successful HEA and they deserve their it. I recommend this book for people who enjoy a good mystery and also hate small town fiction. This is small town hell, and I liked the fact the author didn't act like healing was automatic after the trauma everyone went through.  I enjoyed this book and the RITA challenge and I would like to thank Sarah, Amanda, and everyone else.  Happy Reading!

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | All Romance eBooks

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Vasha says:

    Sounds appealing! Thanks for the review.

  2. 2
    JacquiC says:

    How does the “Short” Contemporary Series Romance Category get defined?  When I read the review, I could tell this book didn’t sound short, and sure enough, it’s on amazon at 350 odd pages. So I assume this is not a novella and that the “Short” reference describes something else?  Or am I missing something?

    Anyway, sounds like a good book, so I put it on my bulging wish list…

  3. 3
    Ferran says:


    Pity, it looked interesting.

  4. 4
    AnotherOne says:

    The book isn’t a short contemporary series romance; the review has simply been mislabeled. The book is a finalist in the Romantic Suspense category.

Comments are closed.

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