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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: Fatal Legislation by Ellen Butler

This is the second book in the Karina Cardinal series, and it was just as much of a rollicking ride as the first… KC, as she’s known to her friends, is a delightful protagonist – strong, sassy, and clever, she never fails to find trouble and then doggedly pursue it (even when it’s decidedly unwise for her to do so) until the mystery is resolved. I enjoy her escapades, although often have to suspend disbelief a fair bit while I do. I know more than a little about her world – I too am an attorney and have worked in health care policy/government/lobbying, and so am quite familiar with the universe in which her (mis)adventures take her. I find myself questioning her decisions every now and again – not because they’re implausible but because they imply a decided lack of interest in her own safety (mental, physical, psychological)… She makes choices that I think most rational women in her position often would not – but they don’t detract from the story, rather they are often the kick-start that brings the action on, and in fiction that makes them the correct choices to my mind.

This latest iteration offers a curmudgeonly senator, a death that is rather quickly determined murder, and a series of unfortunate events that result in (of course) KC figuring it all out in the end. Along the way, things heat up (both interpersonally and professionally) with her FBI agent and more-than-friend Mike, and the inevitable peril ensues when KC ignores his advice to leave the detecting to actual detectives. The tension between the rule-following Mike and the rule-ignoring-when-it’s-inconvenient-to-the-story KC is one of the more enjoyable and resonant bits of these books for me. Their back-and-forth is familiar and fun and it provides both the structure and the levity for the series. There’s a little too much Evil Corporate Medicine/Big Pharma here for my personal taste, but I understand why ECM/BP is such a popular villain even though my personal experience suggests that the perceived “evil” is more often actually a result of the things we cannot control (i.e., the insidious nature of bad health/health problems and the difficulties in treating/responding to them, both with established processes/products and with emergent ones) than of the deliberate, and therefore controllable, actions of individuals. Still, Evil is always a great foil – and a conspiracy nearly always makes for an exciting read, so I understand it as a plot device.

Butler has an engaging and easy writing style that pulls you in and keeps you with her, and the action is always (surprisingly) thick on the Washington, DC ground. I’ve now read her series work and historical fiction and can tell you that she writes consistently strong female protagonists into immensely readable books whose pages turn very quickly. If you like a sassy heroine who won’t take no for an answer, KC – and Ellen Butler – are for you.

My review copy was provided by the author.

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