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on October 10, 2016
This is the first book in the series (Sasha McCandless Legal Thrillers) by Melissa F. Miller. I was half way through this book when I bought the entire series (9 books + 3 novellas).

Melissa F. Miller offered the first book in the series FREE! I have discovered several series I now have (in my kindle library) to read because the first book was free. Some books costs $4.99 (and more!) each, I do not want to invest money in a series if I am not sure I will like it. The "first book in a series free" idea has added many eBooks to my kindle library!

Sasha McCandless is an attorney at the law firm she works for, Prescott & Talbott (Pittsburgh, PA). She is in her office on Friday (and getting ready for a date) when she receives an email that concerns their biggest client, Hemisphere Air. A plane has crashed into Black Mountain, Virginia -- killing all 156 people onboard. Flight 1667 was three-quarters full of passengers, en route from D.C. to Dallas. She calls to cancel her date and calls Noah Peterson to get him back to the office.

While she is waiting, she brews a pot of coffee and rescues some junior associates from weeks or months of document reviews -- they are tired but excited -- this job might have some real action! ...

The characters are likeable and the mystery ongoing. You get little bits & pieces of information that will keep you reading to see what happens next. I simply could not put the book down until I had finished it. I am looking forward to the rest of this series and the novellas!

Well done, Melissa F. Miller!
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on March 31, 2016
Irreparable Harm by Sasha McCandless

Well, after a hiatus from reading, (needed new glasses) I decided to try an audible book and chose Irreparable Harm. It was good. I’d never heard of this author or series until it was offered as a free Kindle book.

Since I love a mystery, I grabbed it.

Even better, the free book had the audio version (whisper sync) available on Audible for only $1.99. That’s such a great buy for an audiobook that I bought it too.

I listened to it in a day!

The plot was intriguing. An commercial airplane’s auto pilot changes direction, the pilots unable to correct it. It crashes into a mountain killing everyone on board. As the ambitious attorney, Sasha McCandless, is chosen to represent the airline, a case that will ensure her early partnership in the firm. An air marshall begins his own investigation, which brings him to Sasha. They soon discover it was no accident. When people involved begin dying, a conspiracy emerges that could kill thousands more. They will have to work quickly to stop another air disaster.

All in all, I really enjoyed the story here. It was fast moving and easy to listen to. The mystery itself was well done. It was perhaps a bit too easy to figure out who the bad guys were, but it still kept me listening to see what would happen next.

The characters were also well portrayed. Sasha, the attorney also begins to question her priorities, between her need for client confidentiality, her driving ambition to be a law firm partner, and her desire to do the right thing.

Leo, the air marshall, determined to figure out who’s behind the disaster, needs Sasha’s help at the same time he wants her out of harm’s way. The other characters weren’t as developed, but the story still worked well. There is a bit of romance in the story, but it doesn’t control the plot. It does lead into the subsequent book.

When I finished the book, since it says this is Book 1, I went to Amazon to find there are several others already available in this series. I’ll be reading the next one too. If you are looking for a light and entertaining mystery, I think you will enjoy Irreparable Harm.

Irreparable Harm (Sasha McCandless Legal Thriller Book 1)
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on March 3, 2016
First the good. The author is obviously a legal expert as evidenced by the specifics in the book about anything in the realm of law firms and court proceedings. The premise of the story was also good, a plausible advancement in aviation technology turned to terrorist purposes. Now the bad. Alas I personally fought to finish the book based on the utter fantasy that is our heroine, Sasha. As a 6 foot 3 inch 240 pound 33 year veteran law enforcement officer who is like ALL professional law enforcement officers well trained in defensive tactics of several variations, firearms, and weapon retention to name just the things pertinent to this story, virtually everything the 5 foot 100 pound Sasha does in the book when confronted by a potential threat (every single one of which is bigger than her; some over twice her size) is so far removed from reality that it makes Alice in Wonderland seem realistic by comparison. The old saying "It ain't the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog" has gotten a lot of fools hurt or killed! That is why there are weight classes in every form of sport fighting!

Spoiler alerts here. First, officers never stand close enough to subjects to have their pistols taken as described. In fact they train specifically to deny/defeat the exact move Sasha uses in the book yet she breaks his nose, his trigger finger (which is by the way the minimum of what happens when this disarming technique is used successfully; it can actually remove the finger). Yet this highly trained Federal Officer is utterly defenseless against her. Second it is ludicrous to believe that given Sasha's admitted training in the latest "pet" martial art Krav Maga, with no actual experience in a life threatening fight she is able to simultaneously defeat not one but two huge former Russian mafia men now turned professional enforcers/hit men to the point of nearly beating one to death. Yet when struck squarely in the face by one of these "pros" of vastly superior size and presumably strength her only reaction is to flinch and proceed to beat the man up! Not a broken bone just a split lip.

Towards the end of the story when confronted by a female who is described as obviously not familiar with guns and who DID place herself and her pistol too close to our heroine on at least two occasions practically begging to be disarmed, we are given every excuse why she can't disarm this novice given at least two excellent opportunities. When she finally does use the exact same technique used earlier on the Federal officer to disarm the woman she does almost no physical damage to her. What? Lastly while holding a pistol on two terrorists/mass murderers this genius attorney leaves a cutting block full of knives within reach of them and when confronted by one of them with a deadly weapon she throws her gun away to disarm the man bare handed!! It begs the question why even hold a gun you admit you have no intention of using. Finally after disarming the man and breaking his wrist (of course) she places this weapon on the counter where guess what? It is grabbed by a civilian while Sasha looks on and used to murder someone in their custody.

I will not waste my time on another book by this author; although I wanted to like it it was so ridiculous from a real world standpoint of fighting and firearms use/retention I found it cartoonish and an affront to anyone with any semblance of common sense. What you do is up to you.
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on September 8, 2017
Book is a good read but there are a number of flaws.

Early on in the book a main character is hurt, his nose and finger are broken, but there's no doctor or hospital visit to mend him, and during his involvement throughout the book little mention is made of these physical damages so it's as if they magically healed. The finger is his trigger finger and he has no trouble using this broken finger with his gun later in the book.

The book is based around the ability to have remote control of an aircraft, and the author states that the way this happens is by knowing the model number of the aircraft's transponder so that the frequency it uses can be used to assume control of the aircraft. The fact is that all transponders use the same frequencies to communicate so that her premise has a deep technical flaw.

In addition the main character is given leadership duties early in the book but spends most of the book doing anything but handling the leadership duties as she's rarely in the office and rarely in touch with those back there. While a lawyer she is doing mostly detective work.

So bottom line is, the book is a good read although predictable, and as long as you're willing to ignore these flaws.
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on May 31, 2015
I downloaded this yesterday as part of the Kindle Unlimited program and read it in less than a day - not because it was a super-easy read, but because I was so into it that I had trouble putting it down. :) The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because it wasn't as polished as it could have been, and there were a few typos and spelling errors throughout.

**WARNING - SPOILERS**

One of the things I liked most about this book was the setting. I'm originally from Pittsburgh, so being able to visually picture all of the landmarks Miller described in the book was an added bonus for me. While this book wasn't as chock-full of legalese and legal maneuvering the way a John Grisham novel is, I found it just as enjoyable. It had the right combination of courtroom/legal scenes and action, IMO. Another reviewer complained that the premise of one TSA agent on the scene of such a big plane crash wasn't realistic. I'm not sure why this reader was under the impression that only one agent was investigating because we only see Agent Connelly. First of all, he's with Homeland Security and technically an air marshall, not a TSA agent. Secondly, we see him on the phone numerous times with associates in his department and there are references to the NTSB still on the scene investigating. I was perfectly fine with not having to be subjected to numerous scenes of agents on site sifting through wreckage.

Another complaint from some reviewers is that the premise of how the plane was brought down was too far fetched. Honestly, I didn't think it was that far out there. This is a fictionalized legal drama, so I had no problem with the author embellishing a little bit.

Others also disliked the frequent scenes with Krav Mag (a brutal martial art created by the Israeli Army). Some complained they weren't interested in it, while others said it was unrealistic that someone the size of the main protagonist could ever do the kind of damage she did when using her Krav Mag skills. As a practitioner of the martial arts myself, I appreciated Miller's very precise descriptions of how a 5-foot tall, 100-pound woman was able to defend herself and how she managed to disarm someone. Krav Mag is a seriously brutal form of self defense and the way she walked us through the scenes step-by-step only lent to her credibility for those scenes, IMO. They were handled in a way that didn't make McCandless look like super woman, which is more in line with how someone trained in martial arts would behave. I've read some books that have had completely ridiculous scenarios in which people are supposedly using martial arts to take someone down that have left me shaking my head because I know they would not work in true practice. I didn't have that reaction to the scenes in this book, so well done Ms. Miller!

I would definitely like to read more from this author and definitely more in this Sasha McCandless series, so I'll be downloading book 2 now....and probably staying up all night to read it if it's anywhere near as good as the first one. :)
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on August 6, 2015
Wow! Great book!

Sasha McCandless is an attorney in a Pittsburgh, PA, law firm that represents a large airline based in the area. One of the airline's planes crashes for no apparent reason in the mountains of Virginia, killing all on board. As her company prepares for the liability lawsuits they envision coming from the families of the dead, she learns that the client had modified the plane with an illegal override system.

Leonard Connelly is the air marshall assigned to investigate the crash. He and Sasha met when she flies to Washington, DC, to find out what happened to an informant who is assaulted while leaving her a voice mail. Connelly is in the informant's apartment and Sasha, who, because she is only 5 feet tall and 97 pounds, is a Krav Maga (a pretty brutal form of martial arts)expert, breaks his nose and hand along with beating him up rather soundly. (This is repeated with numerous other assailants in the book.) The form a tentative truce and begin working to (1) find who is behind the crash and (2) how to prevent future incidents.

I was totally hooked after the first chapter and thoroughly enjoyed the book. There are a few unexpected plot twists that kept my interest, although I will admit that I had figured out who the local "bad guy" was quickly and easily.

I highly recommend this book and will be reading others in the series. (This was the first.)
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on February 28, 2015
I used to love reading John Grisham's legal thrillers, and I picked up this book because it looked like a "female" version of his books. And it kind of was, in that it involved a female lawyer and had a little bit of romance thrown in, but overall the biggest difference was that there is more "thriller" involved, whereas I would say Grisham involves more "suspense/intrigue." Grisham's books seem to center around the legal world and cases but Miller's book has that and more: it goes on exciting detours from the legal world and into a world involving Federal agents, thugs, and assassination attempts. So it's like a super-sized legal thriller that crosses over into other thriller genres.

"Irreparable Harm" is the first book in a series about Sasha McCandless, a senior associate at a big law firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a rising star at the firm and is very good at, and devoted to, her job. Her life consists of working a lot, and taking krav maga classes. (I listened to most of this book and my husband heard "krav maga" and was simultaneously impressed and dubious. I didn't know what it was but apparently it's a form of self-defense training developed for the Israeli military. At first I found it extremely "convenient" and unrealistic that she would be trained in this art but as the story fleshes out, it actually kind of makes sense and becomes semi-believable.) The plot of the book is basically that Sasha finds out about an evil plot involving messing with airplanes, and she has to work with a Federal Marshall to figure out who-done-it, as well as escape the murder attempts of people who don't want her to make this discovery. She uses her sassy legal skills as well as her self-defense skills and plain old thinking skills to work it all out.

This book reminded me of everything I hated about being an associate at a law firm. (But was somehow still quite interesting in other ways.) It had quite a bit of legal mumbo-jumbo that I can't believe the average reader would understand or care about. I wondered why the author was spending so much time going into all of that but at the end it all came together and made more sense. (Of course some of it was necessary to explain the court proceedings and legal strategies, but the part about the make-up and functioning of a law firm seemed superfluous until the end-- and even then, I still found that a lot of it was unnecessary).

I wavered between 3 and 4 stars on this book and if there was a 3.5 star option, I would have given it that. For pure entertainment value, it was a 4. But some of the stuff that happens is so outlandish that it annoyed me a little bit and I wanted to give it a 3. I found parts of the book to be "scripted" or overdone but I think that's part of the genre. (I don't read a lot of thrillers or even legal thrillers). But when the book was over I automatically wanted to start reading book 2 in the series, so it definitely held my attention and kept my interest. I think that this book appeals to a wide audience and that most readers would enjoy it. It would make a good beach or airplane read, but I added the audio and listened to it while I was cleaning and that was a good option too.

As an aside, I bought the Audible narration and listened to a lot of this book and read some of it. The narrator has a weird way of saying some words, like "lawyer," that distracted me, and she gives funny accents/voices to some of the characters that also distracted me. It wasn't the worst narration of a book that I'd ever heard but it also wasn't great. I would give the narrated version 2.5 stars.
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on August 15, 2017
I debated writing this review, but here goes. I checked this book out on Kindle edition from my local library. I am trying hard to understand how it got such a high rating? Perhaps if I saw the demographics of the readers- ie, young adults, adolescents...? First of all, there are way too many characters too keep up with. I am at location 583 (where I decided to lose this book) and there are already about twenty characters! I will not waste my time to list them here, but I always highlight a character in my Kindle so I can go back and review when he/she was first introduced. These characters are a bit confusing, maybe even irrelevant. Second, there is a major error at location 341-350 in the book. There is a character, "Tim", who confronts the CEO of the company regarding a fellow employee's death, and a couple of sentences later, "Tim" at location 350, has a name change to "Tom". There is NOTHING more irritating to me and unprofessional than a published book that has slipped in the editing process and proof.
I am sorely disappointed with these issues and therefore will not continue to read, nor recommend any of the subsequent books in the series.
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on December 15, 2016
The story is pretty well written & interesting, however, I was able to figure out the major player fairly soon into the book. There was a little twist put in about halfway in to throw off my guess, so perhaps it was an intentional.

An airliner crashes into a mountain, the black box indicates it may have been an automatic pilot malfunction. The guy who set it up with a silent partner is ready to set up another crash so he can promote the program to the highest bidder. Our heroine, Sasha, is an attorney with a prestigious law firm representing the airline. As she researches the passengers/plaintiffs for the defense, she finds an anomaly, then more deaths follow.

It keeps your interest all the way through, but the ending was too easy as the "Bad Guys" cooperated way too easily when caught & busted then spilled the info so willingly.We

That said, the conclusion leading to the series was good.
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on July 9, 2014
I do like strong women, even if they're not very big. They can still be tough, and give you nasty bruises if you're not well behaved. I know this from personal experience.

I liked our Lawyer, and the plot raced off into an horrendous incident, which might have used a good bit more exposition and wading through the follow-up from the plane crash. That was a truly scary element that is only too believable, but it seems to have been a hook to hang the action on thereafter.

I know from working on the periphery of air investigations, just taking statements and all the rest of it, that air crashes are the very worst thing for the psyche, except perhaps for child abductions.

Hence, the somewhat rapid fall over into custody of the main villain was a little disappointing. Truth is, once again, I know from my own time in the cops that villains tend to be bland, banal in their evil. Once you've got 'em by the short and curly, they tend to fall over pretty quick. Those are the facts, quite how you make a nastier villain out of him in book form, not sure I know.

I liked the courtroom procedure and explanations of how this and that worked.

The book was good fun, and I look forward to seeing the redoubtable Ms McCandless bashing bad boys and taking names by the score in the future. The writer knows her Krav Maga, and it works:)

More please:)

brendan
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