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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Strong Motive is a police procedural/legal thriller written by K.C. Turner. Elizabeth Strong is a victim's advocate working out of the Annapolis County Prosecutor's Office, and she's received her share of threats from the spouses of those she guides through the court system. She feels a special connection to the abused women she helps, as not too long ago she had been one of them as well. She understood their reluctance to call the cops and then continue on through the judicial process, but she also was well aware of the sad fact that those clients would continue being beaten and battered until they did follow through with their cases. Her current client, a petite woman named Michelle Gardner, is married to Richard Gardner, the son of Chip Gardner who owns the largest casino in Annapolis County. When Elizabeth balks at the modest bond the judge sets for Michelle's husband, she's found in contempt by the outraged judge and led off to prison until she can pay her fine. Richard Gardner glared at her as he was led away to his own cell, and Elizabeth just knew Michelle would cave into the promises of her husband. When Elizabeth begins to receive a series of progressively violent threats and her home is broken into, her boss arranges for her to have police protection. Was her stalker one of the men whose wife she had advocated for, or was it somehow the abusive partner from her own past who had sworn to get back at her as he was led away to jail six years before?
K.C. Turner's police procedural novel, Strong Motive, is fast-paced and suspenseful. Elizabeth Strong is a compelling character whose friendship with her quirky co-worker, China, adds a light and enjoyable touch to the mystery. Turner also injects romantic tension into the plot with Elizabeth's unwilling attraction to the police officer who's working the case. The plot is finely drawn, and the resolution will have readers guessing until the very end. Turner also addresses the real and very current problem of domestic abuse in this mystery novel. I was impressed by the way she works that into both the story and the career that her main character finds herself drawn to. I enjoy police procedural mysteries and found Strong Motive to be a satisfying and thought-provoking read. It's highly recommended.