Lay Down The Law – Carsen Taite

Lay Down The Law - Carsen TaitePosted as the first of a new series of Lone Star Law crime/romances Lay Down the Law uses Ms Taite’s excellent courtroom experience and sets up a new legal hotshot.

Peyton Davis returns to her childhood home to find the family at loggerheads, her father in decline and the ranch looking unkempt. While trying to deal with all the changes that have happened while she has been a main Justice in DC, AUSA Davis is also dropped unceremoniously into her new job as taskforce leader chasing Mexican drug cartel.

Her instant attraction to the stunning Lily Gantry at the Cattle Baron’s Ball seems to be a beacon of light in an otherwise fairly heavy homecoming. But the Gantry family have issues of their own. Southern belle Lily is being bullied to sign an odd codicil to her trust fund, and increasingly wants to go in search of her birth parents. As the story unfolds their attraction becomes more of a problem than an escape and the plot lines come together into one big problem for Peyton Davis to unravel.

As always Ms Taite writes strong legal thrillers with a good mix of romance, action, crime drama, and insider knowledge. Her writing is well structured and edited, easy to read and enjoyable escapism. I will admit to some disbelief in the amount of time the new AUSA spent away from her taskforce at critical moments, it did seem a little unrealistic and allowed rather obvious mechanisms in the plot

Peyton is a great new Justice with strong morals and obvious intelligence. The Davis family is intriguing with a whole history to explore as the series unfolds, unusually matriarchal – Peyton’s relationship with her brothers gives an extra layer of tension and her mother is a woman to be reckoned with. Peyton is often between her desire for justice and her love of the land – opening up an ongoing personal battle for her to manage.

Lily is a delightful character, determined to break out of the constraints of a ‘princess’ lifestyle, she wants to earn a living, contribute to the community and explore her own past, all the while balancing her social obligations, her inbuilt good manners and her love for the adoptive parents.

Casen Taite BiogI love Carsen Taite’s books – Courtship and Switchblade were two of my favorite reads last year. When I heard a new one was in the pipeline I was really excited to get hold of it. But this one fell short. The first 85% was good and I was enjoying the build, the crime plot is complex and interesting, the family life adds a great backdrop and added drama, and the romance was struggling enjoyably. But the last 15% or so was a complete let down.

Without giving spoilers the ending was rushed in the extreme, the crime was suddenly cracked, Lily’s family mystery abruptly solved, while the Davis family drama was left hanging despite its obvious tie in to the main plot. It maybe that the various lose ends will be picked up in the next book, but this just felt unfinished, as if a word count limit had forced the author to miss out a couple of chapters. While this might not have been the deepest of crime romances it was an enjoyable read and offered the tantalizing thought of a series to come. The ending left me extremely unsatisfied.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • First published 2015
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 20, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00UTPQOL0
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