Jilliane Hoffman






Penguin, January 2005
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

It is New York, 1988, and blonde law student Chloe Larson has it all, a go-getting boyfriend and an ensured future in a prestigious law firm. Then one night she wakes to find a man wearing a clown mask leaning over her, calling her by the pet name that only her father calls her. She is sexually and physically tortured for hours; her torturer finally leaves her a whisper away from death and mentally shattered.

Twelve years later, Chloe has dyed her hair a drab brown, changed her name to CJ Townsend and is assistant chief of the Miami State Attorney's office. Miami has been in the grip of terror as a serial killer, nicknamed Cupid, who has been viciously murdering blond women. By chance, William Bantling is pulled over by a traffic cop, and a mutilated body is found in the boot of his car. As a routine work assignment, CJ is given the case of prosecuting William Bantling, but when he stands up in court and speaks, C.J. realizes that he is the man who tortured her years ago. She soon realises that her involvement in that case might very well cause Bantling to be freed on a technicality, but without her on the prosecuting team, he may walk anyway. She has to stay together mentally, and Bantling knows which buttons to push.

RETRIBUTION is Jilliane Hoffman’s first novel . As an Assistant State Attorney, she is writing about what she knows best; and her best is excellent. This book is worth ringing up work sick and staying home to read. Unputdownable. I was hooked from the first page and did not put it back down until the last page. RETRIBUTION is courtroom drama at its best, with twists and turns and a big surprise ending. CJ is excellently portrayed as a woman with a tortured past trying to put her life back together. The characters are all well written, and realistic, even the rookie cop who is first on the scene. There is a love interest, Dominick Falconetti, who is the lead investigator on the case, but this is kept to a minimum and Hoffman balances him with ‘Cupid,’ a villain who makes Hannibal Lector look like a pussycat . He is one deliciously evil man. There is an undeniably exciting final confrontation, with a final resolution that is a tiny bit far fetched, but oh so different. This is a ‘wow’ book, and you should do yourself a favour and read it.

February 2005 Review originally posted on Murder and Mayhem
Revised Jan 2006


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