Genre: Thriller/romantic suspense
Caroline Taylor is a novelist and short-story writer who grew
up in the mountain west and traveled widely, including a brief stint in the
Foreign Service. A former editor of Humanities magazine, she is the
author of several mysteries, one short-story collection, and a nonfiction book.
Two of her novels won the Firebird Book award, and a third was a finalist for
the Freddie Award. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime,
she lives in North Carolina.
Forgive their trespasses? One has committed murder. Two have
committed adultery, and the third has stooped to petty spying. When Sophie
Dickson becomes the reluctant tenth juror in a DC murder trial, she encounters
the man whose marriage she destroyed through a drunken act of adultery. The
prosecutor knows he will lose the case, which is what his boss wants. The
plaintiff, Nona Pierce, refuses to plead guilty, even while owning up to the
murder. She just wants her day in court. Instead, she’s kidnapped, the
prosecutor is fired, and Juror Number Ten finds herself in the middle of a
situation far less appealing than jury duty—and much more dangerous. How could
a murder prompted by a lawsuit over real estate grow into a war between an
alleged crime boss and a gang of scary Russians willing to murder to get what
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Cody made his report as brief as he could. When
he finished, Gordon said, “I’m not hopeful they’ll find her. There must be
three hundred black SUVs in the DC area—and that’s if the kidnappers aren’t
halfway to Baltimore by now. I suppose the police have put out a BOLO to the
airports and train stations.”
“Bolo?” Sophie had been quietly sitting there,
legs crossed, one nicely shaped foot bouncing nervously back and forth. Clearly
she didn’t understand the term. Gordon smiled at her.
“It’s shorthand for ‘be on the lookout.’ Of
course, the FBI will get involved since it’s a kidnapping. Which will help.”
The look he bestowed on Sophie reminded Cody of the way Professor Abercrombie
dealt with his students at Georgetown.
“Would you care to add to Cody’s account, Ms.
Dickson?” “I’m afraid not. If you don’t mind, sir, I’ll be on my way.”
“Yes, of course. But first, I want to show you
“I never saw his face.”
“Bear with me. Are you hungry? I could have
sandwiches brought in.” He stood and went to a filing cabinet where he started
rummaging through one of the drawers. This was a rarity for a man who hated to
be caught standing anywhere near anybody as tall as Cody happened to be.
Cody plopped down on the sofa beside her. “I’m
partial to the tuna melt, but they also have burgers.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Or salads,” said Gordon, “or ice cream.” He
held a thick manila folder.
Sophie sighed. “Oh, all right. I suppose I
“Atta girl.” Gordon patted her shoulder. Cody
got to his feet. “I’ll order lunch. You want the usual, Gordon?”
“Sure, and you, Ms. Dickson?” “I guess the tuna
melt.” Gordon’s assistant Martha would get the food, but Cody figured it would
be best to leave the two of them to deal with the photos. After he’d talked to
Martha, he checked for any messages on his phone. A request to reschedule
tomorrow’s meeting with Terence O’Brien, the real estate agent whose
carelessness or ignorance with respect to DC real estate law had royally
screwed Nona Pierce out of her money. Fine. Let him stew. Nona hadn’t known
Cody had been pursuing the now-moot civil case at Gordon’s behest. If there was
an acquittal in the murder trial, Gordon had planned to sue the realtor for
negligence. Apparently, the boss had a huge soft spot in his heart for his
The only other message was a text from Max
Crowell wanting to know when they could hit the courts at Hains Point. So did
Cody. He’d done so much walking and stair climbing and getting in and out of
cars today that he wondered if he’d ever be able to move without pain again.
His ankle was aching like a jilted woman’s heart. “Don’t know,” he texted back.
When he got back to Gordon’s office, Sophie was
laughing. “That’s so not PC. But it really is funny.” Gordon was laughing too.
“Yeah. I have a lot of jokes in my repertoire,
but I only tell them to my friends.” Jesus. Why not spread it on real thick?
“Yep,” said Gordon.
“Ms. Dickson—” “Sophie. Please.”
“Sophie here thinks the snatcher had a physique
similar to this guy.”
He handed a photo to Cody, pointing to the man
at the left. It was one of the photos Cody had taken at the church social where
the late (courtesy of Nona Pierce) Tatiana Orlovsky and her son Grigor joined
others every Sunday evening for a potluck supper of Russian comfort food,
lubricated liberally with vodka. The three men appeared to be singing, their arms
draped across one another’s shoulders. The bearded guy in the middle was tall
and thin, a Russian Ichabod Crane. The short guy on the right had close-set
eyes and a jowly face hinting of indulgence in a few too many blinis over the
years. The guy on the left was huge with a weight lifter’s enormous arms and no
neck. Still, it was a stretch.
“Why would guys from Orlovsky’s church go after
“Jesus, Cody. Think about it. We always thought
Ms. Orlovsky had to be one of those embedded spies we keep hearing about,
especially because of her line of business. Well, all these people are Russian
émigrés, a.k.a. spies. One of their own was murdered. They want an eye for an
eye.” “After three whole years?”
“It could have taken a while for them to gin up
the courage—or to collect their orders from Moscow.”
“Oh, come on,” said Sophie.
“You’re talking as though this is still the
Cold War.” Gordon gave her the fish eye.
“Meet the new war; same as the old war.”
This is the second book I have read of the
author Caroline Taylor.
Nona and Sophie stood on the opposite sides of the
law. The one was a jury member, the other the accused.
But when Nona got kidnapped, the entire game
changed. Instead of being in court, we tag along as people scramble to find
Nona and keep her safe. I really liked this elderly woman and can relate to her
story as she try to stay alive and get some money to live from. Being close to
60 myself, I understand the turmoil of looking for ways to increase your
income. It is simply a never-ending story with its own predicaments which can
lead you to trouble, quickly.
The characters that the author added, really
set the tone of the rest of the story and soon I was lost in the trappings and
nuances of the plot.
The characters are well developed and
relatable. The flow is easy to follow, and the momentum is to the point. Pointing
out the different races, became a bity weary but otherwise a great story right
to the end.