by Rachel Lee

February 2003
ISBN: 1-55166-658-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

Senator Grant Lawrence is wearily winding up after a hard day’s work lobbying to get enough support to pass his controversial environmental bill, S.R.52, in the Senate, when he gets the awful news that his seventy-five year old nanny, Abby, had been found brutally murdered in his Tampa home. Detective Karen Sweeny is at first annoyed when she’s handed Abby’s murder case. Not just because this murder becomes top-priority on account of it being of vital concern to a Senator, not even because of the high-profile nature this case is bound to take, but mainly because she is called away from a crime scene where an unidentified woman’s dead and mutilated body has just been found. As she starts investigating Abby’s murder, Karen meets and like thousand others, is charmed and impressed by the deeply caring person that Senator Grant Lawrence appears to be. He is widely believed to be next in line for the Presidency and Karen can easily see why!

As Karen starts her investigation, disturbing factors come to light, including the fact that the Senator had hushed up some facts in the case of his wife’s death. This soon becomes the subject of vicious rumors and the Senator has to return post-haste to D.C. so as not to loose support for S.R.52. Karen has to cope with the department being short-handed and a partner who’s not so experienced and buried in marital problems, and try to solve these two seemingly unconnected murders, which curiously enough, took place on the same night. When attempting to determine the truth, things begin to heat up in D.C. for Karen. The attraction between Karen and Grant is fiery and undeniable. But will Karen forget the call of duty as emotions carry her away and the net of lies and deception tightens around her? What will she do when she realizes that Grant is that mysterious link between those two murder cases?!

With Malice is the latest suspense story from author Rachel Lee. Ms. Lee has delivered a fairly suspenseful story laced with politics, which is somewhat entertaining. The mystery is good while not unsolvable. The sudden attraction between Karen and Grant is not very convincing and Karen’s preoccupation with Grant over her duty, while demonstrating the power of love, does nothing to endear her to the readers’ eyes. Grant, with looks that would “give a younger Robert Redford a run for his money” and the charisma of JFK (high praise indeed!) seems too soft and caring for someone destined to be the next President of the United States. The story is mostly political in nature and shows the wheeling and dealings of Washington politics. This is interesting but a little dry and tedious. The personal conflicts are more interesting and provide a little drama. But the crime scene investigation is not very credible and leaves the reader feeling frustrated. Overall, it’s a good story but not very exciting.

Reviewed in January 2003 by Rashmi.

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