Looks Can Kill

Fiction - Crime
209 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I was born in Canada and moved to the US in 2001 after giving up a partnership with "Big Law" in Toronto. I have Canadian, US, and EU citizenship. Margaret Atwood and Carol Shields were writing teachers and mentors in my early writing years. My first novels (Woman's Work and Lingerie Tea) were published by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), General Publishing (Canada), and Goldmann (Germany) in translation. My latest novel, Looks Can Kill, was published a few months ago and is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions. In 2003, I obtained my MFA from the American Film Institute Conservatory, where I won the Sloan Foundation Fellowship for my screenplay about Einstein's first wife, Mileva Maric. After a couple of years as a staff writer for E! and working for Fox Filmed Entertainment, I passed the CA Bar and now practice intellectual property law in the US.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Keith Mbuya for Readers' Favorite

Just when Kate Clark thought her life was finally on the right track, things suddenly threatened to get worse as her life took a deep dive into uncertainty. Or rather, her life took a deep dive into LA former supermodel Wendy Adair’s world. Wendy Adair had visited Kate’s boss and reputable lawyer in LA, Enola Locklear, seeking legal representation in her case. Wendy was suing the famous plastic surgeon Paul Sloan for messing up her face and consequently her modeling career. Kate offers to help Wendy find a good lawyer after her boss dismisses Wendy’s request. But then, Paul Sloan is found dead the next day, and Wendy is put in police custody as the main suspect. Wendy demands that Kate will be her attorney in her new murder case, and Enola pushes Kate to take the case. However, Kate harbored a big secret about her past. Kate seeks help from her former boss Ben Shuster to help her with Wendy's case. With enormous media attention, will Kate and Ben save Wendy from serving time behind bars? Or Will Kate’s secret be uncovered and land her in prison? Find out how it all goes down in Sylvia Mulholland’s Looks Can Kill.

Sylvia Mulholland’s Looks Can Kill is just what you should be looking for if you love crime novels laced with an unraveling tale of impersonation, legal affairs, court drama, a failed marriage, and murder. Mulholland keeps readers on edge with suspense and enthralling drama. She hatches a super intriguing plot for her storyline, featuring an exciting cast. She gives her narration effortlessly switching between the present and the past, giving the storyline a beautiful flow and impressively vivid and picturesque depictions of scenes. The media coverage and headlines and the protestors outside the police station among other aspects of the story were a perfect parody of the real scenarios. This and many other scenes left me with sore ribs from laughter. The author has a knack for portraying the lifestyle of the rich and the working class of LA. This made the reading experience engaging and fun. Mulholland wonderfully develops her characters, bringing out their character traits. Albeit meek and a little timid from her past experiences, Kate has a strong fighting spirit and is more intelligent than other people may think of her. Looks Can Kill is a magnificent piece of work and I loved it. I’m looking forward to reading more of Mulholland’s work.

Essien Asian

It's the talk of the town when popular LA surgeon Paul Sloan is found brutally murdered at his home, but what is even more shocking is the prime suspect is none other than Wendy Adair, a well-known model. She turns to Enola Lockheart, a top lawyer in the LA scene to defend her but is surprised when Enola transfers her case to her understudy, Kate Clark, a budding nobody without a case under her belt. Kate must now prove her mettle by using every talent at her disposal to prove that Wendy is innocent. What no one knows is that Kate has skeletons in her cupboard, secrets so dangerous they will destroy everything she and Enola have worked hard for. The stage is set for some entertaining courtroom drama in Sylvia Mulholland's Looks Can Kill.

Looks Can Kill by Sylvia Mulholland is a legal thriller. The storyline initially appears to be casually interesting but the depth of the characters makes up for any lack in the action department. Mulholland uses a writing style that fleshes out her characters so that you get to know them and it is definitely worth the effort. Wendy Adair's courtroom antics add some much-needed humor to what would have been a typically businesslike event. It is also nice to see that the attention to detail is top-notch, especially when it came to gathering evidence and is in line with what I expected. This is an ingenious novel with a story that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows at the end. Credit must go to Mulholland for a job well done.

Joshua Olokodana

The moment Kate Clark made the mistake of voicing her opinion regarding a client, her fragile career veered onto the path of total ruin. This client is Wendy Adair; the law firm is Locklear & Associates; and this is Hollywood. Wendy is a former supermodel with a quick mouth. Yet, this aging and washed-up model somehow landed a new contract with Fabulous Fifty Forever, thinking she could scheme her way back into the big time. Indeed, she still had the crowds charmed, but it wasn’t enough. So, she asked her plastic surgeon, Dr. Paul Sloan, to “make her young again.” After all, the money was all he ever cared about. But when the surgery turned out to be a disaster, Wendy went to Locklear & Associates for representation against the doctor for worsening her looks. Despite her boss’s skepticism, Kate fell for Wendy’s sob story even as Dr. Sloan had moved on. But little did the doctor know that looks could kill until he saw a vengeful face he would never see again and was later found swimming in his own blood. Meanwhile, Wendy was caught on the run, sporting blood-stained clothes, and leaving a half-baked lawyer in Kate Clark to save her. In Looks Can Kill by Sylvia Mulholland, a rookie lawyer tries to establish reasonable doubt without ending up in the slammer alongside her client.

Looks Can Kill is an unpredictable legal thriller complete with all the Hollywood glam, questionable characters, and court action you could ever wish for. It is thoroughly interesting as a civil suit turns into a murder trial and a simple opinion morphs into an obligation to represent a client in court. Looks Can Kill pulsates with narrative twists that could only result from a detail-gleaning mind. The story lives up to readers' expectations with its different assortment of characters, from hilarious ones who feel at home in a witness box and don’t mind showing their sense of humor inside it, to the uncouth ones who dare to cause a commotion in a court. There is an obvious mystery of a murder begging to be unraveled, yet you can’t ignore all the scheming beneath the surface looking to pervert justice. I felt connected to Kate, a conflicted but relatable protagonist who literally takes up her weapon daily to battle her demons when she tries to bluff her way through court. On the other hand, I repeatedly felt like reaching into the story to give Wendy a reality-restoring smack. Above all, however, the ending was pure genius. It did not end on a note of “happily ever after,” but neither did it end in tragedy. It is a well-thought-out ending from Sylvia Mulholland.

Pikasho Deka

Looks Can Kill is a crime drama novel by Sylvia Mulholland. Former supermodel Wendy Adair arrives at the offices of top LA lawyer Enola Locklear seeking her services to sue her plastic surgeon Paul Sloan, who allegedly ruined her face and career. After Enola's junior Kate Clark unwittingly inserts herself into the conversation, despite Enola's misgivings, Kate is forced to represent Wendy when she is charged with the brutal murder of Sloan. Running out of options, Kate seeks the help of her former employer, Ben Shuster, a happy-go-lucky attorney from Ventura with whom Kate didn't exactly part ways right. While the media sheds light on the high-profile case, Kate's abusive ex-husband arrives on the scene. Meanwhile, she struggles to maintain a lie that may ruin her life. Will Kate be able to let go of her past and set Wendy free?

A crime drama novel with bouts of humor, drama, suspense, and courtroom intrigue, Looks Can Kill is completely enrapturing until the end. Author Sylvia Mulholland's plotting is impeccable, full of twists and turns that you never see coming yet make sense in hindsight. The characters verge on varying shades of grey in the moral spectrum, with inner conflicts and questionable ethics that only make them all the more compelling to read. The dialogue is witty and crisp. Droll humor is sprinkled throughout the pages as each character tries to outwit the other. I particularly enjoyed any scene involving Wendy and found her character hilarious and even somewhat tragic. If you're itching for a well-written crime drama to entertain you, look no further than Looks Can Kill.

Heather Stockard

Kate Clark has a secret, one that could send her to jail and destroy the life she’s built in L.A. working at a small law firm as an associate attorney for the beautiful and demanding Enola. In Looks Can Kill by Sylvia Mulholland we learn that Wendy, an ex-supermodel with a ruined face, approached Enola (a former model) to represent her in a lawsuit against her plastic surgeon. She claimed that botched surgery destroyed her chance of a comeback. Enola declines the case, though Kate thinks it would be an easy settlement. Wendy leaves in a huff, and that should have been the end of it. A few days later the plastic surgeon is brutally murdered, and Wendy is arrested after being caught fleeing the scene. She demands that Kate represent her. On orders from Enola, Kate must do just that. But there’s a major problem, Kate has a secret that a high-profile case like Wendy’s could expose.

Looks Can Kill by Sylvia Mulholland is a legal thriller set in L.A., featuring quirky characters all with something to hide. Mulholland’s experience as an attorney comes through in the authenticity of the legal details. The plot is fast-paced and unpredictable. The characters are diverse and feel realistic. Despite her lies and deceit, Kate somehow evokes sympathy, and her plight creates suspense. If you love legal thrillers with odd twists, check this one out.