Law of Attraction
As far as my taste in reading material goes, I tend to avoid genre books, particularly cookie cutter thrillers and mysteries as many most often lack originality, societal observation, and genuine writing skill. Alison Leotta’s novel Law of Attraction, however, manages to be the exception to the rule, creating a mystery that adheres to the genre standards but also manages to transcend them through tackling the heavy hitting topics of domestic abuse and power struggles within heterosexual relationships.
The novel’s protagonist Anna is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington DC; many of the cases that come across her desk are domestic violence cases in which she observes women suffering through the cycle of abuse at the hands of their husbands and boyfriends. Anna seems to identify readily with the women she helps, and through a series of flashbacks it is slowly revealed that Anna’s own mother was a victim of domestic violence.
Among her cases is Laprea, a woman who seeks legal help to escape abuse at the hands of her boyfriend D’marco, only to continually drop the charges and let him into her life. The day after Valentine’s Day, a bloody Laprea enters Anna office seeking to press charges, sure that this time she is done with D’marco. At the same time, Anna also reconnects with Nick, a former law school classmate who has long been holding a torch for Anna. Sparks fly between the two until it is revealed that Nick is D’marco’s lawyer. Things get messy when Anna begins an impassioned relationship with Nick. While their relationship initially seems to be an idyllic one, Nick is quickly shown to be a man of questionable character when he cajoles Laprea to change her testimony and claim D’marco’s innocence. Things take a turn for the worse when shortly after Nick’s release Laprea’s bloody body is found in a trash bag.
While Law of Attraction has all the ingredients of a typical genre thriller, it somewhat transcends the genre. Leotta’s obvious writing skill is apparent and the characters and scenes are more richly developed than is commonly seen in other thrillers. Many of the legal details and scenarios throughout the course of the book ring true, which can be credited to Leotta’s employment as a federal sex crimes prosecutor. The novel’s exploration of domestic violence and the psychological implications of it are also handled well by Leotta. Much like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this subject matter elevates the novel as it provides valid societal observation and insight, often into the inequalities that frequently exist in heterosexual relationships.
While Law of Attraction may be more a fun thriller than a substantial work of literary merit, it is nonetheless a joy to read. Those readers who often pass over the thriller genre may find Law of Attraction to be more cerebrally stimulating.