Barbara Holloway

by Kate Wilhelm

By Stone By Blade By Fire

Travis Morgan’s case seems open-and-shut: a plot to kill his estranged father, fundamentalist preacher Arlie Morgan, goes awry and his bullet slays an innocent bookkeeper. Two eyewitnesses seal Travis’ fate. But despite damning evidence, Travis staunchly maintains his innocence. Beseeched by his anguished mother, veteran defense attorney Barbara Holloway agrees to represent Travis. With the support of her father attorney Frank Holloway and crack private investigator Bailey, Barbara reveals a zealot, his ultra-rich backers, and unimaginable atrocities. Travis’ case proceeds to trial, and Barbara finds herself pitted against a complacent legal system and a judge eager to simply close the case and retire. Knowing she must intervene decisively to avoid a conviction, Barbara steps squarely into the path of danger. Risking her own life, Barbara confronts the killer in order to save Travis’ life.

Mirror, Mirror

Chaos has descended on the Valducci family. Gina Valducci’s grandmother, mentor, and founder of the family’s thriving nursery business, has died. Her death sets off a string of seemingly unrelated events, including two horrific murders. Gina’s colleague, Jeff, stands out as an obvious suspect, with plenty of motivation, opportunity, and means. In her most unusual and complex case yet, Barbara Holloway accepts Jeff as her reluctant client. But, to defend him, she must first discover how a secret will, corporate greed, WWII stolen art, family skeletons, attempted murder, and an old ornate mirror factor in to the case. Barbara must reassemble the puzzle pieces perfectly, before it’s too late.

My Take

I read the previous books in this series prior to 2012 and didn’t realize there were two I hadn’t read until I was doing a search of authors I enjoy to see if they had anything new out. (I miss the Goodreads monthly newsletter with other books by authors I’ve shelved. That was useful.) And I’m trying to finish up some of the series I’ve started but not finished. This was one of them. Legal thrillers aren’t usually my thing. I like this series for the setting (Eugene, Oregon), the characters (especially Barbara and her father), and for the side helping of liberal bias. Which honestly I expect when you have a strong, smart, female lead. The mysteries are pretty good too.

While it’s probably not necessary to read the books in order, characters who are introduced sometimes carry over to future books, so I would recommend reading them in sequence. Kate Wilhelm is no longer with us so this is the end of this series. I also liked her science fiction and fantasy Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang.