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  • Judith D Collins

The Least Among Us

Series: Julia Geary #2

By: Gwen Florio

Narrator: Hillary Huber 🎧

Dreamscape Media

ISBN: 9781639100682

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: 12/06/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)


DEC 2022 MUST-READ BOOKS


Searing social commentary meets chilling suspense as public defender Julia Geary takes a case destined to rock her small town to the core, for fans of John Lescroart.


Public defender Julia Geary’s star is rising, and now she’s got her first murder case defending local denizen Ray Belmar in the death of a homeless man. But Julia’s professional and personal challenges are mounting. First, she’s assigned an intern whose arrogance is insufferable. Then, her widowed mother-in-law, whose home Julia and her son Calvin share, announces her plans to re-marry, meaning they’ll have to find a new place to live. And to top things off, Julia’s boss removes her from the case, saying that she’s lost perspective, replacing her with an attorney who advises Ray to plead guilty.

Julia can’t shake the suspicion that the murder, and the subsequent killing of a homeless woman, is linked to the death of a state legislator who had been crusading for political reform. With the help of Duck Creek’s homeless community and her old friend, Sheriff’s Deputy Wayne Peterson, she launches her investigation—but then the anonymous threats start pouring in.

Just as Julia begins to uncover the ways the system is shockingly stacked against those on the fringes of society, she makes an even more damning discovery. Someone close to her is harboring a dark secret they are desperate to protect—even if that means silencing Julia once and for all.


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My Review


Gwen Florio returns following The Truth of It All with her popular Julia Geary series—THE LEAST AMONG US.


The dynamic public defender gets caught in the middle of her first murder case—from the homeless, corruption, politics, and dark secrets in her fight for justice in this riveting legal suspense crime thriller.

Julia gets her first murder case defending a man, Ray Belmar she has represented many times. He may be many things, but she knows he is not a murderer. He is accused of murdering a homeless man.


Julia has a lot going on in her personal life, and her professional life is getting more complex. Her husband was killed in Iraq, and she has been living with her mother-in-law and is getting married, so now she needs a new place to live.


Her dating life (Dom, the Duck Creek Principal) and the only man she had dated since Michael's death has come to a halt when his daughter walked in on them, and the mother wants custody. It was hard to fit in dating when she also has a young son.


Plus, she has a new intern she is not wild about, Marie St. Clair. However, before the book ends, she may change her mind about her.


Julia had not seen a homicide case in the five years she had worked in the Public Defender's office. And to top things off, Julia’s boss removes her from the case, saying that she’s lost perspective, replacing her with an attorney who advises Ray to plead guilty.


She is tenacious and must solve this case. Something sinister is going on, but she needs to do more digging. Then another killing of a homeless woman linked to a state legislator's death.


She starts asking questions in the homeless community down by the river and the help of a friend, Sherriff Deputy Wayne Peterson; however, when she gets too close to discovering the truth, there are threats. Someone wants to silence her. Someone if using Ray to cover their tracks.


I love Julia! She is smart, sassy, witty, and tough! I love that she is flawed and the balance between her personal and professional life. I also enjoyed the supporting characters.


This was my first book by the author, and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and the series. I quickly purchased the first book in the series to catch up. However, it can be read as a standalone. I love legal crime thrillers and my favorite genre.


If you enjoy strong women, explosive secrets, gripping crime investigations, legal suspense, and stories ripped from the headlines, this is for you!

Fans of Aime Austin's Casey Cort Series and John Lescroart (two of my favorites) will enjoy this series.


Thank you to #CrookedLaneBooks and #NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Looking forward to the audiobook narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Hillary Huber!


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Dec 6, 2022

Dec 2022 Must-Read Books





Praise


“[A] solid sequel . . . Fans of John Lescroart’s Dismas Hardy series will be pleased.” —Publishers Weekly

“A chilling look at [the] legal system.” —Kirkus Reviews






About the Author



Gwen Florio grew up in a 250-year-old brick farmhouse on a wildlife refuge in Delaware, with a sweeping view across a mile of tidemarsh to the waters of the Delaware Bay. In addition to ponies, dogs and chickens, her childhood also included raising and releasing a number of wild animals, from raccoons and fawns to owls and hawks, and a skunk whose personality was even worse than his smell. Her parents banned television and instead filled the house with books.


She majored in English at the University of Delaware, largely as an excuse to continue reading as many books as possible, until her father urged her, in the interest of being able to someday support herself, to take a journalism course. With her first byline, she was hooked. A decades-long career followed, taking her around the United States and to more than a dozen countries, including several conflict zones, toting books to each place.


In the interest of finally writing books instead of reading them, she signed on with Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Writers’ Group and, later in Montana, the 406 Writers’ Workshop. Two manuscripts that serve as perfectly effective doorstops preceded her first published novel Montana (The Permanent Press, 2013).


About Montana – the state, that is. Florio finally rediscovered those long sight lines that she fell in love with back in Delaware, the nation’s second-smallest state, when she moved to Montana, the fourth-largest; the difference being that instead of tidemarsh bordered by bay, Montana features prairie edged by mountain and sky. It’s a fine trade. She’ll never again have the good fortune of living on a wildlife refuge, but her home in Missoula’s Rattlesnake neighborhood is the next best thing, backing up as it does to Mount Jumbo, with its wintering elk, and bears that wander from its slopes into her backyard the rest of the year.


She lives there with her partner, Scott Crichton, retired executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, and an exuberant bird dog named Nell who has shredded her share of manuscript pages. She recently left her day job as editor for the Missoulian newspaper, and has received several awards over her journalism career. She’s a Mansfield Fellow at the University of Montana’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center and an adjunct professor in UM’s School of Journalism.


Florio has received prose grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and writing residencies at the Ucross Foundation and Brush Creek Ranch Arts Foundation, both in Wyoming, as well as 360 Xochi Quetzal in Mexico and Willapa Bay Artists in Residence in Washington state.

Her first novel, Montana, won the inaugural Pinckley Prize for Crime Fiction, and a High Plains Book Award, both in the debut category. It was a finalist for a Shamus Award, an International Thriller Award and a Silver Falchion Award. The fifth in the series, Under the Shadows (Midnight Ink Books) was released in March 2018.


Her first literary novel, Silent Hearts (Atria) was released in July 2018. Best Laid Plans, the first book in a new series from Severn House, launched in December 2020.


Her work also is featured in anthologies, including A Million Acres: Montana Writers Reflect on Land and Open Space, Montana Noir (Akashic Books) and The Night of the Flood , a novel in stories, and a second novel-in-stories project, The Swamp Killers, both from Down and Out books.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Great Old Broads for Wilderness. She worked with Judy Sternlight Literary Services in the initial editing of Montana, Dakota and Silent Hearts, and is represented by Richard Curtis. WEBSITE




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