The Acquittal

The Acquittal - Anne Laughlin Ex-cop Josie Harper was kicked out of the police force for propositioning her lady commander. After a bipolar diagnosis and regular therapy and medication to control it, she opens a private investigative office. As luck would have it, she lands a major murder case on her first day at work. The case involves a publishing heiress and CEO, Lauren Wade, who was arrested, tried but eventually acquitted of murdering her girlfriend because the jury thought the prosecution was unable to prove it 'beyond reasonable doubt'. Josie is being hired to find out once and for all if Lauren was indeed guilty or not.

The book is mainly about Josie's life as she goes about her day as a bipolar PI and Lauren's life and her continuing trials after her acquittal. We get a good idea of what it's like to be bipolar and how Josie copes (or not) with the stresses of daily life. Josie is actually a pretty good PI--thorough, assertive and very perceptive. Neither is she too perfect. The investigation is actually quite realistic, as it also shows the limitations of a PI working solo. But like most cop/PI shows on TV, Josie is just as gung-ho when the more appropriate action should be to let the proper authorities handle it. But of course, where would the fun be in that? Josie is also a bit of a cad when it comes to treating women. Add to that a pair of highly dysfunctional parents and barely-controlled bipolar swings, and you have a very interesting albeit flawed protagonist.

So, if we're following the usual romance formula, we expect the two lead characters who have POVs to cross paths and eventually to hook up together, because, otherwise why spend so much book-time on them, right? Except that things don't happen at all the way we expect. I applaud the author for veering away from the usual, predictable route, but..and this is a big BUT... Unfortunately, I can't say anything more without revealing the various twists. As readers, we have to be invested in the main character(s) in any book for us to want to finish it. How would you feel if a book spends so much time making you fall in love with a certain character and then eventually removed them from the romantic pairing? This happened not just once, but twice in this book. Granted, two of the characters eventually got back together. But still, I felt really bad about the one who got offed. Like..all that build-up and this is what we get in return? :) Also, some things in the book just don't make sense. Why would Lauren's parents fire her after everything she's done for them? And just over 3 dismal quarters? or haven't they noticed that she was highly distracted by their kidnapping? Why would Josie attempt to rescue them at all when all she needed to know was their location. They obviously can be better rescued safely when the bad guy isn't there. If her itching-for-action bipolarism is the explanation for that, then she has no business being a PI, because she is a danger to herself and others. But don't worry, there is an HEA. It's just that the route takes quite a roundabout way to it. Also the single most important mystery in the book--who killed Lauren's girlfriend is never actually solved, lol but by the end of the book, we couldn't care less who did it because all the possible suspects are either dead or locked up anyway. :). In conclusion, I must admit I enjoyed the book, but it leaves a bit of a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.