Toxic New Year by Judith Lucci
Politics, mafia revenge, attractions, and touching family reunions link arm-in-arm as Lucci helps us realize that doing the ‘right thing’ personally doesn’t always translate into blissful consequences.
The party of the year in the rural Virginia countryside turns into a day of horror as the enemies of Alex’s grandfather, Congressman Adam Patrick Lee, bring the war to his Virginia estate killing, maiming and destroying every thing in their path.
Review by Enrico Graffiti:
The fourth book in the Alex Destephano series, Toxic New Year by Judith Lucci has a difficult task to follow the high standard of the author’s previous medical thrillers yet takes that challenge and surpasses the goal with ease. It balances solid, fast-paced intrigue with a character-based story centred round her hospital lawyer protagonist.
From the initial pages the reader is steadfastly drawn into the tale as we follow the events leading up to a deadly terrorist bombing. Fans of the author’s previous works will encounter new facets of familiar characters as the events unfold. Even the life of the protagonist is shaken to its core as she encounters her past and makes a series of decisions that take her into uncharted waters.
As usual, Lucci does a superb job of placing the reader in the New Orleans and Virginian society in which her heroine moves. With flowing descriptions and insightful dialogue she relates the hours before the attack, creating a convincing canvas against which the placid life of the New Year celebrations and marriage of two of her characters unfolds, only to bring this crashing down as harsh reality intrudes.
We are also introduced to three new characters, each with interesting backstories to reveal: Digger Stilgrove and his wife Mary each have important supporting roles in the first half of the novel. Stilgrove’s intriguing past is hinted at and I hope we get to meet him again in another novel. The third character, Jacob Stark, had to be the hardest to write, however, and a huge gamble by the author.
An ex-CIA man turned co-author of the terrorist attack who, by an interesting turn of events, re-enters Alex Destephano’s life to add even more uncertainty to her future. Stark is a character you have to hate on a basic visceral level for his despicable acts at the beginning of the book, yet we are allowed to see, and even sympathise with, his reasoning. Truly a fine portrait of moral ambiguity by Lucci, one which helps to elevate this series to new heights.
A superlative follow-on for the Alex Destephano series. Highly recommended!
Review by Kindle Customer:
Having read Judith Lucci before, I knew going in I would get quickly involved, and once again, she did not disappoint. Right off the bat, in Toxic New Year: The Day That Wouldn’t End, we learn about a terrorist plot to blow up hundreds of people gathering at the home of a well known Congressman and jihadist-hater.
Present are the same appealing protagonists–Alex, her ex-husband, the head of police and his brand new wife. But a new, complex, sympathetic character emerges, someone who, due to family circumstances, helps plan this deadly attack. Not your typical terrorist, he is a former American hero. Yet despite his fatal intentions, we are drawn into his story, as Lucci deftly builds tension and heads us towards the inevitable strike.
Although a sudden twist turns events into a lower deadly body count, we are still catapulted into more plot and character development that keeps the pages turning nicely. Politics, mafia revenge, attractions, and touching family reunions link arm-in-arm as Lucci helps us realize that doing the ‘right thing’ personally doesn’t always translate into blissful consequences. With a great ending that screams, “Boy, I can’t wait to buy her next book to find out what’s gonna happen!” this books makes for a very entertaining read.