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The Trade List (Hollis Morgan Mystery) Paperback – June 1, 2016
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"The two storylines are well fleshed out and Hollis is a character that you can't help but feel close to. The Return Of The Fallen Angels Book Club is well crafted; the writing is top-notch."
About the Author
R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2013, The Fallen Angels Book Club, the first book in the Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, was released. Her second book in the series, Sticks & Stones, was released in May 2014. James is married with two sons and resides in Northern California. For more information, go to
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This isn’t Hollis’s main problem however. A former cell-mate from her prison days has been murdered. Melanie Jones, now going by the name Olivia Shur, had evidently been about to contact Hollis. Olivia had been trying to extricate herself from a money laundering scheme and had been in possession of an incriminating list of prominent participants with which she’d been hoping to negotiate a deal with the District Attorney. Clearly, she’d been hoping that Hollis, though not a criminal attorney, would be able to bargain on her behalf.
Unfortunately for Hollis, the only contact that Olivia has been able to make with her before her murder is a short, uninformative letter. Both the police and the criminals believe that Hollis knows more about the list’s whereabouts and contents than she’s willing to say.
Hollis is an engaging protagonist and she interacts well with a range of well drawn and varied characters, from Vince, the recovering heroin addict in the firm’s mailroom, by way of George, the successul lawyer who has only just allowed himself to think about what he’d really like to do with his life, and Tony Grueber the ostensibly less successful octogenarian lawyer who has never had a moment’s doubt about his profession (and whose actual reason for regret lies elsewhere), to Tony’s ex-wife, Phyllis, a charming and gentle old lady who was once an implacable deputy DA. That’s before we mention Hollis’s close friends Stephanie and Rena, a pleasingly varied assortment of police detectives, and at least one other member of the Fallen Angels Book Club. The book’s considerable pleasures lie in the skilful portrayals of these characters and their relationships to Hollis.
The plot, in contrast, is straight off-the-shelf and wouldn’t have been out of place in an episode of The Rockford Files. This is the fourth book in a series and it seems safe to assume that the plot was little more than a pretext to reunite some well-liked characters who had previously worked well together. It is clear from the summaries of earlier books in the series that they had more compelling premises.
Although readers can start with any of the books in the series, some may want to start at the beginning, or catch up at a later date, to fill in the background of this interesting and fulfilling mystery.
This review is based on a review copy I received in exchange for my honest opinion.