In The Ex by Alafair Burke, we are taken on a journey where both the past and present collide in the arrest of a widower, Jack Harris, for a murder he claims he did not commit. His past relationship with the first love of his life is soon to become his lifeline to reality as he begins a fight for both sanity and freedom. Having lost his beloved wife three years before, he has finally thought to begin again. That is when his life again begins to unravel.
His only help is with the woman who first broke his heart, Olivia, one of the city’s best criminal defense attorneys. Yet can he convince her of his innocence? The circumstances surrounding the murder point directly to him as the killer.
Olivia wants to be there for him; she believes she knows him well, but time could have changed him, and the death of his wife may have been a catalyst that sent him over the edge. One of those killed in the shooting is a part of a lawsuit that involves the death of his wife, and she has some doubts.
She finally decides she is willing to representing him as a way to make up for her own past with him and her own guilt in feeling somewhat responsible for his state of mind. But what she finds is that not everything is as clear as it should be, and she may not have known him as well as she thought.
Can she help him without getting caught up in her own past and lay her own demons and doubts aside? She refuses to believe his guilt, but what if she is wrong.
Burke takes us into the lives of everyday people and sprinkles both doubt and belief, alternating between both past and present to bring us a story of hurt and anger, as well as love. Her characters are full of both flaws and mistakes, making them very likable, and drawing your involvement. She weaves both past and present together in such a way that you feel as though you have always known the characters and even understand the motivations.
If you enjoy mystery and investigation you will find this to be a great work. If you are looking for a book to curl up with that keeps you entertained then you have found it. Burke has done another great job of bringing her characters to life.