Book Review: The Evidence is Clear by Susan Connell Vondrak

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Summary

Taking place 3 weeks after the ending of No Evidence of a Crime (Vondrak’s first novel), Kathleen Jackson has moved to the Department of Police Psychology.

Pairing up with her former partner of investigation, Jim Jarrod, and his new partner Teri Sedgwick, the three investigate an alleged suicide of Congressman Phillip Thatcher, a prominent figure who the detectives believe played a role in a previous murder.

At first the evidence suggests murder from an obvious suspect, but the more the detectives unravel the case, the more complex it becomes. As more events and evidence unfold, Kathleen embarks on a personal journey as the case reveals a dark connection to her past.

Positive Criticism

Vondrak does a fine job reintroducing the characters without tiring readers who have read the first book. She gives bits of background information only when the story calls for it.

The beginning is well structured. Kathleen’s first day as a police psychologist is a good beginning because the reader can immediately identify with her as the new person in the office.

The story is very character-driven concerning Kathleen, Jim, and Teri. When the three share the same scenes, their different personalities create entertaining dialogue.

As for style, Vondrak’s writing is similar to the style of Young Adult fiction. The writing is easy to read, it uses the third person narrator, and it has good pacing.

There are also interesting facts about detective work that readers might not learn from other mystery novels. It is a realistic portrayal of criminal investigation.

 Negative Criticism

While the information on forensics does provide the reader with interesting facts, there are times when it is tedious. This takes the reader out of the story when a character needs additional explanation just so the reader is fully informed.

Although the protagonist and her supporting characters are well-rounded, the antagonist’s character falls flat. The motivation for the original crime is never explored and the character is portrayed simply as evil.

The book does not stand fully on its own. Toward the end of the novel, some characters will perform actions that seem out of character; only those who have read the first novel will know the connections. The ending does not make for a satisfying one, relying on the third installment for closure.

Overall Assessment

While the book has a few problems, it is an entertaining narrative. The main characters are likable, the pieces of the mystery fall perfectly into place, and the pacing will keep readers turning the page.

Readers should go into the first novel before reading this sequel. Those who read The Evidence is Clear will want to read the first book, because the second novel makes references that will entice readers’ curiosity.

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