Book Review: The Ex by Alafair Burke

the-exWhat’s it about?

Olivia Randall is one of New York City s best criminal defence lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him and why?

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

My thoughts

This book was recommended by a well trusted book blogger and as I love a good legal thriller I reserved a copy straight away from the library.

When someone comes back into your life after twenty years, that in itself can be awkward enough, but when that person is accused of a triple murder, well…are you gonna believe them or the evidence laid out in front of you?  Would you be able to know for sure they didn’t do it based on your relationship from such a long time ago? Would you stake your reputation on it? These are the situations Olivia finds herself in when she agrees to represent her ex-boyfriend.

Whilst a good premise and well paced, for me it just lacked something to grip me and I just wasn’t feeling the wow factor.  I didn’t really engage with Olivia, she comes across as stand-offish and cold and there was something off about Jack that I couldn’t feel much for him.  The only character I felt had some genuineness to them was Jack’s best friend Charlotte; prepared to pull out all the stops to help and protect her friend.

I didn’t guess the identity of the real killer so that’s a positive but once revealed I began to pull apart the plausibility of it all given the level of security already mentioned in the book earlier and what evidence the prosecution had.

Overall, this book took me nearly a week to read which is unusual for me for this genre.  It’s a decent enough mystery but I have read more thrilling thrillers!

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Library
No of pages:


  1. March 10, 2017 / 8:49 am

    I had issues with Olivia and I guessed the whole thing around the halfway mark, which was a real disappointment. The writing is good but I felt the story did lack the key element that makes a reader go “Wow!” and the plot was a bit weak.
    Great review, as usual!

    • March 11, 2017 / 9:30 pm

      Yeah that’s exactly how I felt (although I didn’t work out)!
      Thank you 🙂

  2. March 10, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    I agree, there was something lacking in this book. I figured out the mystery by halfway and was totally disappointed when I turned out to be right but I also wasn’t overly impressed with the characters either. Just an average read for me. Her other book All Day and A Night is very good if you’d want to try another one of hers

    • March 11, 2017 / 9:31 pm

      I didn’t think it was badly written in any way so I probably wouldn’t be put off in trying another of her books.
      Thanks for visiting and leaving your thoughts 🙂

  3. March 10, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    I had this book for Christmas and haven’t read it yet. I’m a bit disappointed to hear your and the above comments on the book. Although, like you I enjoy going back over the clues and plausibility of the crime / killer. I will give it a try and hope that I enjoy it. Thank for sharing,

    • March 11, 2017 / 9:28 pm

      You definitely should still read it. As I said it was recommended to me by a very popular and well respected blogger, whose choices I usually love, it just didn’t happen this time. I hope you have a different journey with it 🙂

  4. March 10, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    It’s a shame you didn’t feel a link to the MC’s Lindsay. Even if a plot is outstanding I need that hook with my emotions.

    Fab balanced review (as always 🙂 ) x

    • March 11, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Same here, I need to feel some kind of connection so that I’m bothered what happens 🙂

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