Do Not Ask

Fiction - Mystery - Legal
342 Pages
Reviewed on 10/27/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Elaine Williams Crockett is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Vermont Law School. She spent her legal career in the Office of the General Counsel at the United States Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. She lives in Georgetown with her husband, Don Crockett, and a cat who declined to be named.

Her first novel, DO NOT ASSUME, won 9 National Book Awards: the 2016 Chanticleer Clue Award for Political Thriller; the 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Mystery; the 2016 National Indie Excellence Award for Political Thriller; the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award for Political Thriller; received the SILVER in the 2017 ELIT Book Awards for Mystery/Suspense/Thriller; the SILVER in the 2016 Readers' Favorite Award for Murder Mystery; the BRONZE in the 2016 CIPA EVVY Award for Mystery/Detective, and FINALIST in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Suspense and also for First Novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Caitlyn Lynch for Readers' Favorite

Do Not Ask is Elaine Williams Crockett’s second book about former FBI agent turned federal judge Warren Alexander. Now the Supreme Court’s newest judge, Justice Alexander is drawn into the investigation when the President’s twin daughters go missing after visiting Alexander’s playboy son-in-law’s estate. A scandal threatens when it emerges that the twins may have been blackmailing prominent married men with sex tapes, and Alexander must team up with his former FBI partner to find out what happened. The twins aren’t the only missing women in DC, though, and when one of Alexander’s law clerks is the next to disappear, he finds himself under suspicion and must race against time to clear his name and discover the true culprit… before his own daughter becomes the killer’s next victim.

This is a brilliantly written and researched whodunit with so many twists and turns I never knew what was coming next. The author has done her research superbly, with knowledge of the inner workings of DC’s political system as well as a thorough understanding of the law and its procedures. There is a small section (during a murder trial in which Alexander is defending the accused) where the descriptions of how exactly DNA analysis and comparisons work where things got a little esoteric for the layperson to understand, but it was detail that was actually pivotal to the plot and the author took the time to break it down carefully for the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the explanations, and the expert ‘court testimony’ in which they were presented. I must also congratulate the author on the quality of editing and proofreading which has been applied to this novel.

Elaine Williams Crockett has a deep understanding of the culture in which she chooses to set her stories, and this shows through in that no part of the narrative ever feels far-fetched or unlikely. Even the most unexpected twists are still completely logical within the wider context of the story, though nothing was so predictable that I lost interest. As a political/crime thriller, this was one of the most intriguing and well-written I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. If you love a good whodunit full of salacious details and clever twists, you really shouldn’t miss this one. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Viga Boland

If your idea of a great read is one that is fast-paced, has lots of twists, turns and surprises from the moment you pick it up to the moment you read the last page, pick up Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett. Then make sure you have at least a day or two where you can curl up, away from your smart phone or TV, and start enjoying. Actually, you might not even need a day or two: a few uninterrupted hours will do nicely!

It is just about impossible to put down, and you will very quickly become used to, and not find yourself at all confused, by Crockett's unusual style of flipping between first and third person narrators. Crockett handles that technique flawlessly. The first person narrator is Supreme Court Justice Warren Alexander, a very good man whose daughter is possibly married to a murderer, Davis, who is one of Alexander's long time best friends. When the US President's sexually liberated twin daughters turn up dead, suspicion falls on Davis. But when one of Alexander's own talented, but gorgeous lawyer-to-be associates, Lilly, also suddenly goes missing, suspicion falls on Alexander himself after rumours are spread of a possible affair between Alexander and Lilly. Confused? You won't be! You'll be enthralled, flipping pages as fast as you can to find out who really is behind all the murders, the theft of priceless antiques, and the sightings of a ghostly woman walking the cliffs near Blackhall where Alexander's daughter is keen to renovate the possibly haunted and long-neglected mansion.

Elaine Williams Crockett gives readers a bit of everything in Do Not Ask: sex, murder, narcissistic evil villains, political intrigue cover-ups and hints of the paranormal, along with enough red herrings to keep readers' brains in constant "whodunit" motion. But to balance the madness and nastiness, she also gives us the heart-warming character, Henry, who nearly becomes the tragic hero of the story. Through Henry, and the love shown between Alexander and his wife, Claire, readers come away with their faith restored that, even in the upper echelons of society, good people do still exist. Excellent and realistic characterization make for yet another plus for the author of Do Not Ask. This is excellent novel writing that will have readers curious to see what else Elaine Williams Crockett has written. You will find her first novel, Do Not Assume, on Amazon, where 89% of readers gave her 5-star reviews. That's what she's getting for Do Not Ask from this reviewer too. Well done!

Deborah Lloyd

Blackhall is a grand Georgian mansion built in the 1770s, next to Chesapeake Bay, and the first owners were John and Josephine Rideout. The modern day descendant and owner of the mansion is Davis Rideout. He, his beautiful, much younger wife, the former Reed Alexander, and baby son Samuel stay in the mansion frequently, with their main residence in Washington, DC. Reed loves the rundown mansion and plans a massive renovation. The President’s 22-year-old twin daughters, Eden and Echo, meet Davis at Blackhall for a rendezvous. But, the twins disappear later that evening. The mystery evolves in unexpected ways in Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett. Many other characters become entangled in this tale, and the relationships between them are often complicated. For example, Reed’s father, Warren Alexander, is the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court – and he was also a law school classmate of his son-in-law, Davis.

This novel is easy to read and engages the reader from the first page through the last. While relating the story of John and Josephine, the reader soon sees similarities between them and Davis and Reed. Author Elaine Williams Crockett skillfully weaves a fascinating, elaborate story in Do Not Ask. Each character has a complex and unique personality. The reader may be surprised by who are the criminals, and who are the ones with integrity and strength. The plot has many twists and turns, until the very last pages of this engrossing novel. A great read!

Marta Tandori

Washington power players, sexual intrigue, and a centuries-old murder all play their parts to perfection in Do Not Ask, an exciting thriller by talented writer, Elaine Williams Crockett. Eden and Echo Hines, the beautiful and sexually exploitative twins of the U.S. President, abruptly disappear during a clandestine visit to Blackhall, a venerable old Georgian mansion situated along the Chesapeake Bay. Blackhall is owned by the son-in-law of former FBI agent and now the newest Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Warren Alexander. Warren is consulted on their disappearance by former colleague and FBI profiler, Dr. Ruth Jacobson, before being subsequently recruited by the President himself to help with the investigation. Warren reluctantly agrees, not sure how he can add to the investigation. Things take a troubling turn for the worse when Warren’s beautiful law clerk, Lilly, goes missing soon afterwards, but that pales in comparison when Warren finds a link between the missing women and his son-in-law, Davis. Suddenly, things become extremely complicated for the Supreme Court’s newest Associate Justice…

A great plot, lots of tension and conflict, and plenty of suspense, Do Not Ask has it all, and then some. The story is impeccably researched with a great deal of attention paid to the finer historical details. However, despite the research and attention to detail, Crockett doesn’t slow down the momentum – not even for a minute. The pacing, narrative and dialogue are spot on as the reader is sucked into the story from the first paragraph on. Most of the characters are flawed in some way, adding further dimension to an already great story shaded by equal parts mystery and intrigue. Do Not Ask is a flavorful, meaty stew, chock full of hearty characters and a rich storyline that is sure to satisfy even the most finicky readers.

Liz Konkel

Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett is the sequel to the political thriller, Do Not Assume. Supreme Court Justice Warren Alexander has always known that his son-in-law (and former law school roommate) has a roaming eye, but he didn't expect Davis to end up connected to the murder of the President's twin daughters. When his law clerk goes missing, he knows there's more to this case than meets the eye. When the twins' bodies are found on his son-in-law's family estate, the police are certain they have found the killer. Justice Alexander knows they're convicting an innocent man, but can he prove it before it's too late?

Elaine Williams Crockett connects several threads into a layered plot, diving into the shady world of politics. Family drama, rumors, and murder surround Justice Alexander's life when he's pulled in to investigate the disappearance of the President's daughters. Various perspectives are shown, which gives a little insight into what each character is thinking and what they're planning. The characters are layered, with everyone a believable suspect and no one entirely trustworthy. Crockett dives into the gritty world of politics, dealing with scandals, secrets, affairs, rumors, and obsessions. It's a fast paced story that throws up twist after twist that will honestly surprise readers. It's nice that, in this world of really seemingly shady people, Justice Alexander is honestly a decent person who is devoted and caring. Well-written and full of twists, Do Not Ask is a complex and gripping political thriller that will keep you guessing until the end.