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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Without Consent

Nicole Long Legal Series #2


Publisher: Moore Digital Media

Publication Date: 03/08/2023

Format: e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars

To prosecute a priest, Nicole Long will have to sell her soul to the devil… ⚖️

On the brink of solidifying her place as the head of Major Crimes, prosecutor Nicole Long is struggling to stay sober. At the same time, she’s tasked with indicting a Catholic priest for decades-old sex abuse.

His conviction would vindicate dozens of victims and could heal the wounds of her past. But when witnesses to the priest’s crimes start to die off, Nicole must decide if prosecutorial misconduct is a worthwhile trade-off to get justice.

Without Consent is the next smart crime fiction novel in the Nicole Long legal thriller series.

Five Things From Aime:

Today marks the release of the third book in the Nicole Long Legal Thriller Series, Without Consent.

This is my twenty-seventh book and my thirteenth legal thriller. When I was a little girl, people would always ask the question about what I wanted to be when I grew up. My go-to answer was doctor. I found it ended a conversation I wasn’t especially keen to have. I ended up going to law school and becoming an attorney. It wasn’t a job I was particularly keen to have. I think if I’d really had the guts to reach for what I truly wanted, I’d probably have answered with the profession of author.

After years of quitting the law over and over until it finally stuck, I’m doing what I truly love. That said, writing is both a joy and a pleasure, and the hardest job I’ve ever had.

My goal with every book is to tell a great story and to become a better storyteller. While I’m sharing my nuanced understanding of the legal with readers, I’m also learning more about myself. As with every book I write I learn something new. Here’s what Without Consent taught me:

PODCAST: A special bonus Episode of Conversations

with Aime Austin Crime Fiction Author

My Review

Bestselling author/popular thriller podcast host is back following Major Crimes with her second in the Nicole Long riveting legal crime series, WITHOUT CONSENT.

A first-class legal crime thriller!

A gripping legal suspense thriller of the first order, WITHOUT CONSENT, displays Aime Austin’s impressive talents as a novelist. An absorbing and riveting read from beginning to end.

In sex crimes, the priests have run through the convent like it’s their personal brothel. What a story!

Set in Cleveland, Ohio, 2008-2009

A prosecutor is fighting for sobriety, an abuse victim in denial, a pedophile priest about to get away with abusing young boys and nuns and possibly murder—and a reporter/podcaster and detective want to expose it all.

Austin and Casey Cort fans will delight as we get cameo appearances from Justin, his family, Casey, and baby Simon.

As we pick up from the last book’s ending, Major Crimes, Lori Pope, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, is putting together a case. She wants Justin, an attorney, to be a part of it as a witness and victim. This event happened in 1985 when he was in Guatemala.

The priest lured all these boys with manipulation from single-parent households with absentee fathers or none, with little money—taking them out of the US on a school trip, so he would not be prosecuted. He had the signed permission slips from the parents. Then he blackmailed nuns into helping him in his sinister scheme and raped them. To protect himself, then murder. But how to prove it? They cannot allow him to get away with this and continue his evil.

The boys were young and with single poor Catholic mothers (his dad’s death was ruled as a suicide); they did not say no, because it was like saying No, to GOD. They were lured in with video games, designer sneakers, and junk food, then drugging them and pot brownies. They thought of freedom from home, thinking the priest was a friend and mentor. Quite the opposite. He had carefully masterminded this entire plot to feed his sick sexual habit.

They were eighth-grade boys, confused about what was happening then, full of shame and guilt. Justin has buried this long enough, and now he will come clean to help put away the priest.

NICOLE THERIOT LONG: Nicole, white, single, head of Major Crimes, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, and struggling alcoholic, makes the mistake of impulsively visiting her family in Louisiana for the Christmas holidays—her parents made plans for lunch at the country club— of all people to show up, but Seth Collins, the evil pastor of the TV megachurch who raped her (back in Outcry Witness —Nicole Long .5 prequel). She is sick that her father is still friends with him when he was ready to kill him back when. Her dad is the reason Collins had not gone to jail.

Meanwhile, back in Cleveland, fueled with anger and wanting revenge and to attain justice for victims like herself, Nicole has to put her beef with Lori Pope aside and hop on board with her prosecution of the pedophile priest at St. Ignatius. Someone needed to be punished, and she had the power to do it.

Can Nicole stay sober long enough to make it happen?

With the perpetrator of her long-ago assault still walking around free, eating with her parents, she needs a win! She will find Sister Parker’s killer, and she can bet they are related.

BLAKE HARDIN TATUM: 46-yr old black female, a former reporter at the Plain Dealer; she was cut along with 38 others, so she starts a crime podcast and blog—The Murders Began—cold cases about the corruption in Cleveland. This will be the title of the next book in the series, coming 2024. Love her character and cannot wait to see more.

JUSTIN PATRICK MCPHEE: Meanwhile, Justin McPhee (attorney) and former lover of Casey Cort, attorney and possibly the father of her son, Simon, finally comes clean to his family; he may be a father, his former relationship with Casey, and the horrifying truth about what happened to him years ago.

His mom is considering selling the house and moving to Arizona and has brought the family together to discuss.

Simon is six months old, and Justin had felt like damaged goods due to his past molestation, so rather than fight for Casey when she told him she was pregnant, and to try for a long-term relationship with her and the baby, feeling like he was not good enough, he allowed her to accept a marriage proposal with Ron and step away. Justin was one of the victims of Monsignor Quinn.

Monsignor Quinn ran the trip from stateside, and Father Morales ran the school in Guatemala. Sister Angela Parker was the go-between facilitator. The priests were regularly assaulting the nuns, as well. Now Justin is going up against a powerful institution of the Catholic church, and he needs full representation.

Prosecuting would be more difficult by keeping their criminal behavior outside Cuyahoga County and the US. Conspiracy charges will not be the most accessible conviction but on the other hand, MURDER?

Murder is a life sentence, and sexual assault is not.

Justin hires Casey to represent him in the case. The victims and the priest are all suspects in the nun’s murder. There are 38 different victims. Can they save Clevelad’s Catholic children from the evil hands of pedophile clergy?

Over the years, ten thousand victims and four thousand priests. Now the scandal is in Cleveland, and Blake is leading the story and fully immersed in the case.

At the same time, this case is bringing Justin and Casey closer together. Will coming out about his past drama give Justin the courage to have a future with Casey/Simon, and will Casey be able to trust him to commit?

LORRAINE (Lori) POPE, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, needs a WIN (re-election), and she wants to take down the Catholic church. But just how will she make this happen legally? Nicole is under pressure and will cross moral lines to get what is expected. They do not have jurisdiction over Monsignor Quinn’s many crimes.

DETECTIVE LOREN LOGAN: We also meet tenacious Loren Logan, a new homicide detective who joins podcaster Blake (loved these two together). Neil Walsh, the other detective, was well over sixty now in homicide—he spends a lot of time at Zone Car cop bar.

The Catholic church is a worthy opponent. They have money, time, and resources. There is extradition between the US and Guatemala.

SISTER ANGELA PARK: Sister Angela Park, an accessory to his crimes, winds up dead after being thrown from a window of the convent as well. Was it murder or suicide? Was she about to be a witness and turn in the priest, so she was murdered by him to keep his secrets? She was like a moving pawn in a chess match.

Is Quinn a part-time priest and part-time real estate mogul, or is something more sinister? Blake is determined to find proof in the house in the US with videos, tapes, child pornography, pictures, or something incriminating.

SISTER DANICA LORANZO: What about Sister Danica Lozano? Now two indictments for first-degree murder? What about the blooded spotted clerical collar? Both were thrown from the convent. They are not allowed to try both cases together. If they do not get this one, the priest may be allowed to go free and continue his evil.

DEFENESTRATOIN—throwing someone out of a window OR dismissing someone from a position of power or authority.

The sister is the lynchpin in both cases. However, did he murder both or one of them? Nicole may need to make a deal with the devil to see justice for the people Quinn had hunted, preyed on, and defiled. After the botch-up with Riveria, she must prove herself.

Pedophile priests finally getting prosecuted. How will they convict when they did most of the misdeeds out of the country, except on one occasion? So can they get him for murder which would put him away for life?

Wow! What a story. This one can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend going back to read the prequel and the first book in the series. While you are at it, you will enjoy the Casey Cort series as well.

This is a fictional account of abuse within the clergy, but do some googling, and you will find many more actual reports of this with thousands of victims in Ohio, among others, worldwide.

Sadly, thirty-three states exempt clergy from laws requiring professionals such as teachers and doctors to report information about alleged child abuse to police or child welfare officials if the church deems the information privileged, an Associated Press review has found.

Austin’s solid second Nicole Long legal crime thriller provides enough fascinating content, twists, and surprises to keep readers turning the pages and salivating for the next in the series.

The author’s experience as a lawyer and podcaster shine on every page of her brilliant legal thrillers. WITHOUT CONSENT is more than a thriller; it’s action-packed with timely stories that could be ripped from today’s headlines.

Austin delivers a visceral, heart-pounding read from victims of sexual abuse from powerful priests. A complex, thought-provoking, and compelling story that is only too realistic.

It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times when we trust our youth with priests and clergy that turn out to be anything but Godly. And many victims are too afraid to come forward out of shame, guilt, and the disappointment of their parents. Who can you trust these days?

I get very wordy in my reviews of books I LOVE. I want everyone to read this new spin-off series from the Casey Cort series, which I am passionate about. Aime is one of my favorite legal crime thriller authors.

The author cleverly blends wit and humor with riveting suspenseful timely topics, highly charged emotional topics she handles with compassion, gripping courtroom drama, and well-developed characters you care about.

I am a huge long-time fan of the author and have read all her books and anxiously await the next. I love Casey Cort/Justin, and I feel for Nicole as she is a victim and tries to bury her trauma in a bottle while being verbally abused by her boss, Lori Pope (what a terror). Your heart will go out to Justin in this one.

I am Team Justin (all the way), and my fingers are crossed that Casey/Justin will get back together and she will not marry Ron (lawyer/partner), who may or may not be the father of her baby but offers Casey security and marriage. I think it has always been Justin/praying he is the father. They have passion and make a great team—now he will have a house and yard.

I love the addition of Blake (podcaster) and Logan (cop). So excited, and appears we will see more of both in #3 of the Nicole Long series— The Murders Began (Feb 8, 2024)—A cop willing to climb the blue wall, a reporter in pursuit of the truth, and a prosecutor who has to choose between her career and justice.

I am all IN! Aime is always a pre-order.

Blog Review posted @

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: March 8, 2023

My Rating: 5 🌟 Stars++

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March 2023 Must-Read Books

My Reviews

Nicole Long Legal Series

Outcry Witness (.5 prequel)

About the Author

Aime Austin is the author of the Casey Cort and Nicole Long Series of legal thrillers. She is also the host of the podcast, A Time to Thrill. When she's not writing crime fiction or interviewing brilliant creators for her podcast, she's in a yoga pose, knitting, or reading. Aime splits her time between Los Angeles and Budapest. Before turning to writing, Aime practiced family and criminal law in Cleveland, Ohio. WEBSITE

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Conversations with AIME AUSTIN Crime Fiction Author

Enjoy a conversation with Aime Austin, the author of the Casey Cort series of legal thrillers. In these conversations, I interview smart women creators. We talk about creating while being mothers, sisters, daughters, married, divorced, dating, and mapping out our own destinies in the meantime. View Episodes

10 Questions for Crime Writers of Color







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