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Forcing Amaryllis Hardcover – June 20, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite a clunky and obvious plot, Ure's first novel offers a surprisingly tender tale of sisterly vengeance. Trial consultant Calla Gentry must help ensure that Raymond Cates, the son of a wealthy Tucson, Ariz., rancher, is acquitted of the brutal rape and murder of a young woman he met at a bar. Unfortunately, Calla suspects that not only is Cates guilty but he may also be the perpetrator of a never-reported assault on Calla's sister, Amy (aka Amaryllis), seven years earlier. While Amy lies in a coma brought on by a suicide attempt following the near-fatal attack, Calla remains haunted by the specter of the unknown assailant who may or may not be her new client. Rather than refusing the case, she decides to seize the opportunity to lay her demons to rest. With the help of a few old friends and a romantically promising private detective, Calla turns sleuth, hoping to discover and bring to justice the man responsible for destroying her sister's life. While some readers may find the climax in which Calla walks into peril a tad unlikely, the exciting action should carry most through to the tidy conclusion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Ure's debut so compellingly evokes the hot, dry Southwest, readers may want to have an icy-cold glass of water nearby while reading it. Trial consultant Calla Gentry loves living in Tucson, despite the triple-digit heat, and she doesn't mind her job--as long as she can stick to civil cases. Inevitably, Calla's demanding boss insists she take on a criminal case--working for the defense team of accused rapist and murder Ray Cates. For Calla, whose sister Amaryllis was raped and nearly killed, and now sleeps in a coma following a suicide attempt, this task is almost unbearable. However, she needs the job and begins checking into Cates' background. To her horror, similarities between Cates and the man who attacked her sister begin to appear. Ethically bound to be on Cates' side in the criminal case, Calla must nonetheless investigate him and prove to herself that he is not Amaryllis' attacker. In the process, she must reopen the deep wounds of previous rape victims, who are her only hope of proving Cates' guilt. Ure, a Tucson native, clearly adores the city, and she brilliantly depicts its landscape, citizenry, and culture. This could be the start of a very special series. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (June 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892960094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892960095
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,185,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The last time I was so excited about a first-time mystery writer, I was reading Jonathon King's The Blue Edge of Midnight, which went on to win the Edgar Award for best first novel. Forcing Amaryllis by Louise Ure is a powerful novel, with a fascinating protagonist.

Calla Gentry is a trail consultant in Tucson, a woman who only served as a consultant on civil cases because she was afraid to deal with criminal cases. Seven years earlier, Gentry had been a strong woman who worked in advertising. But, that was before her sister's brutal rape at knife point. Calla lost her sister, Amaryllis, when her failed suicide attempt put her in a coma. Calla also lost her own confidence and sense of security. Amaryllis' rape incapacitated Calla so much that their aunt told Calla she needed to take her life back. She told her, "Just like Amy. It's a life of suspended animation."

When Calla's boss forces her to take on a rape/murder case, she is struck by the similarities between that case and her own sister's. Together with two friends and a private investigator, Calla attempts to link other rapes with Amaryllis'. The descriptions of the rapes, although not graphic, are not easy to read. The jury selection process in the book, and the trial itself are fascinating. But, it is the change in Calla's character, as she forces herself to move out of her safe surroundings, that is the most fascinating.

Give Calla a chance. In my opinion, Forcing Amaryllis by Louise Ure deserves to be nominated for this year's Edgar for best first mystery.
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Format: Hardcover
in the interest of full disclosure, i know the author. i have been friends and co-workers with louise's husband for more than 30 years... that said, one can hardly wonder why i was one of the very first to order this book from amazon. okay??? now for my thoughts. first, this is a terrific book and exceeded any expectations i had for this first time author. if you look at the books i had ordered and read just in the last 8 weeks you will see i am completely into this crime investigation type of read and have been for years.

this book is just a great read, a compelling story with charactors that become familier in a comfortable manner. the prose sets the enviroment,in a very visual way, of the real southwest, not the retirement southwest. real events, real emotions, and an uncanny sense of pacing are the hallmarks of great writing and this book has them in spades. if i started the book to fullfil obligations, i finished it in short order because i was drawn to the exciting and satisfing concluion. READ THIS BOOK, it gives a fresh taste of a known device. enjoy it, i did and can not wait for louise's next effort.
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Format: Hardcover
My wife and I were asked - implored actually, by someone who had read an advance copy to have a look at this novel by first time author Louise Ure. Neither of us has historically had much interest in the suspense or mystery book genre, but we concluded after finishing Forcing Amaryllis that, if this is what constitutes a good thriller you can sign us up for more.

Ms. Ure has crafted her story so cleverly and with such astounding attention to physical detail that it took our breath away. Cormac McCarthy, with his desert trilogy including All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing and Cities on the Plain, may have laid the definitive groundwork for an authentic southwestern voice in literature, but Forcing Amaryllis certainly lends a new tenor to that theme.

The plot traverses the Tucson, Arizona environs with a kind of contemporary examination that only someone who has lived there can bring to the page. In one chapter, the protagonist Calla Gentry has come home to her meager bungalow in the heat of late afternoon. She has set about cooking a typical Mexazona dinner for her friend since high school and as they sit on the back porch sipping wine and discussing the events of the day the reader can literally feel the moisture from the misting nozzles and know what the two smell like when they sweat. It's one of the sweet moments in a complicated fiction of love, violence and death.

Yes, there is murder, rape and torture by someone who may or may not be the man Calla has been called upon to help defend in her capacity as a jury selection analyst. There is also an intense undercurrent of emotional conflict, danger and self-doubt.

Ms. Ure brings a fresh perspective to her narrative on virtually every page and left both of us feeling that the real mystery was how she managed to do it so successfully with her first-ever novel.
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By A Customer on June 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In Tucson, Arizona, Jessica Marley, owner of Marley & Partners Trial Consultant informs employee Calla Gentry she will consult on a criminal case since one of their associates did the unfathomed misdeed of giving birth three weeks early. Calla objects as she only does civil matters, but Jessica overrules her. Calla needs this job to pay for the care of her comatose sister Amaryllis, a victim of rape and assault seven years ago; her sibling's attack is why Calla detests criminal cases.

Attorney Kevin McCullough explains to Calla that the state accuses his client wealthy Raymond Cates of sexually assaulting and killing Lydia Chavez; but he has an alibi, a family ranch hand Salsispuedes affirms they were drinking at the time of the attack. Calla thinks the Chavez rape-murder is similar to that of her sibling; when she meets Cates, he wonders if they met before and she notices his cut off finger. She ponders could he have confused her for her sister and the finger fits the little her sibling mentioned before going into a coma. Though there is a conflict of interest, Calla makes inquiries with private investigator Anthony Strike who ishelping her.

FORCING AMARYLLIS is an awesome legal thriller that showcases how the rich can afford a high priced specialized defense team (think of the OJ case) as specialists like Strike, Gentry, and a DNA expert are not cheap; attorneys are not enough. The story line digs deep into what goes on behind the scenes of a defense team while also following Calla's amateur sleuth investigation. Reminiscent of Rankin Fitch's squad in RUNAWAY JURY, FORCING AMARYLLIS is a fabulous look at the cost of American justice that like most things can be bought.

Harriet Klausner
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