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Book Review: Thorns on Roses by Randy Rawls

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Tom Jeffries is a rogue private investigator who is on retainer with a prestigious law firm. When the firm begins to suspect that Tom may be up to something that may damage their reputation, they assign one of their lawyers, Abby Archer, to keep an eye on him and report her findings. Little does anyone suspect that Tom and Abby will fall for each other – this unexpected development puts her in a terrible predicament. Should she tell her bosses what she discovers about Tom or should she overlook it to maintain their relationship?

Thorns on Roses centers on the concept of vigilante justice. When Tom’s friend’s stepdaughter is found raped and strangled at the hands of a gang, he is reminded of a similar incident that happened years ago. Unimpressed by how the justice system worked in that case, Tom takes it upon himself to track each suspect down in an attempt to deliver his own kind of justice. However, as the police begin to suspect his involvement, Tom must choose whether to continue his quest or give it up for the woman he loves.

This book explores several different topics including what loyalty is and when/if it should be abandoned. It also focuses on friendships and feelings of indebtedness. But the most prominent theme is the classic debate between right and wrong. Can the end ever really justify the means and, if so, who should have the authority to decide that?

The author does a nice job of emphasizing Tom and Abby’s personalities. Making them both strong-willed and arrogant displays to the reader that one would not be able to easily influence or overpower the other one’s judgment. This creates increased tension which greatly adds to the plot and the level of suspense.

Thorns on Roses is meant for an adult audience only. There are some graphic descriptions of violent acts that may make some readers uncomfortable. This book could be classified as a thriller, but it is so much more than that. It makes the reader contemplate the American justice system and to question who it really protects — the victim or the criminal.

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