Standby Counsel – Alexi Venice

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
3.5 stars.

The second part in the Monica Spade series, Monica is just settling in after having started her own law practice with her other colleagues who also escaped the misogynistic, homophobic practice they were previously at.

Monica doesn’t specialises in criminal law, yet she finds herself requested by the court to act as standby counsel for Stela – a female student at the local university who has been arrested for murdering her boyfriend.

I enjoyed the premise of the book. I’m a fan of queer law/crime based books and wasn’t previously aware of the concept of a standby counsel, so I found this refreshing. The interactions Monica has with Stela are both strangely amusing and kind of creepy, adding another dimension to the book.

The case isn’t straightforward and brings unexpected elements into Monica’s life, including some stalking and some of the acronym based law enforcement agencies. These inclusions were done well, stoking but not over-exaggerating conspiracy theories.

One of my frustrations with the book was the length. There were times where things could have been shortened as they repeated things that had previously happened. For instance this happens when counsellors are undertaking their closing arguments. I found myself skimming over these sections.

Monica’s interactions with non-crime related characters were a little hit and miss. Her relationships with her colleagues are well written. There was a bit of a jealously sub plot with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s ex that left me feeling a little strange about the HEA.

I’d definitely be interested in a third part to this series if it happens and would recommend anyone who likes some queer romance and lawyers combined to give this series a go.

I received an e-ARC via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

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