Tuesday, January 3, 2023

ARC Review: The Last Resort by Michael Kaufman

The Last Resort

Michael Kaufman
Series: A Jen Lu Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (January 10, 2023)

Description: Margaret Atwood meets Raymond Chandler meets Greta Thunberg: Jen Lu is back on the case when the death of a lawyer sparks an even more intriguing mystery in Michael Kaufman’s second book in the thrilling series.

It’s March 2034, six months after D.C. police detective Jen Lu and Chandler, her sentient bio-computer and wannabe tough guy implanted in her brain, cracked the mystery of Eden. The climate crisis is hitting harder than ever: a mega-hurricane has devastated the eco-system and waves of refugees pour into Washington, D.C.

Environmental lawyer and media darling Patty Garcia dies in a bizarre accident on a golf course. Of the seven billion people on the planet, only Jen thinks she was murdered. After all, Garcia just won a court case for massive climate change reparations to be paid out by oil, gas, and coal companies. Jen is warned off, but she and Chandler start digging. Signs point to Garcia’s abusive ex, a former oil giant, but soon Jen turns up more suspects who have an even greater motive for committing murder

Soon Jen is in the crosshairs of those who will ensure the truth never comes to light, no matter the cost. She has to move quickly before she becomes next on the killer’s list.

My Thoughts: The second Jen Lu thriller starts with an accident on a golf course. Star environmental lawyer Patty Garcia is supposedly hit with a golf ball which causes her death. What first looks like a tragic accident soon looks like a murder...to Jen. 

Jen finds it suspicious the Garcia would die just after winning a case against Big Energy which could result in trillions for efforts to clean up the environment, and just a day before she announces that she is a candidate for president and thus receives Secret Service protection.

Jen and her bio-computer Chandler begin to investigate and soon turn up a number of suspects. The prime one in her opinion is Garcia's ex-husband James Culpepper whom she divorced because of domestic abuse. Culpepper was an oil executive who lost his job because of the scandal and has reinvented himself as an advocate for "wronged" men. In fact, he was supposedly in the middle of a live podcast when Garcia's accident occurred. 

But there are other suspects. Big Oil isn't happy with Garcia's court win and is even less happy when it learns that she may have discovered a document which would indicate that they knew that their products were causing climate change as early as the 1960s which would multiply the amount they have to pay in reparations catastrophically. 

As Jen searches for a copy of that report she finds that she's not the only one and finds that anyone who might know about it is on a hit list. 

This was an entertaining near-future thriller with interesting characters and a fast-paced plot. I enjoyed the extrapolation of current events to their possible future results. I liked the way Jen and Chandler work together. I enjoyed that some of the story was from Chandler's point of view and had his unique view of human beings.

Favorite Quote:
"I have no problem with women's independence," he intoned. "But don't you agree with me that it shouldn't be an excuse for turning the tables and constantly giving women an advantage in hirings? In promotions? And in everything else?"

Zach said, "Makes sense if you discount the fact that women still are second class citizens by just about any measure."

Jen said, "Pesky things, those facts."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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