Julia Gooden, a Detroit newspaper reporter, finds herself confronting both the city’s most devious criminal, Nick Rossi, and her own painful past.
Julia knows how to juggle her priorities. As a successful crime reporter, she covers tough city stories while raising her two young boys in the suburbs. But beneath her accomplished façade lives another Julia — the one who is still consumed by the tragedy that beset her family thirty years ago. Her nine-year-old brother disappeared without a trace.
Julia’s is attempting to reboot her marriage to Assistant District Attorney David Tanner. They’ve always had a strict rule about maintaining professional boundaries. David is about to bring Rossi to trial for drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and bribery. But when a courthouse bomb claims several victims —- including the prosecution’s key witness —- and leaves David critically injured, it’s a story Julia has to cover.
Julia is certain that Rossi orchestrated the attack, but the case against him is far from solid, and his power and connections run high and wide. Alongside Detroit PD Detective Raymond Navarro, with whom Julia has a long history, she follows a dangerous trail of blackmail, payback, and political ambition that may have personal repercussions she could never imagine. Julia has risked her career before, but this time innocent lives, including her children’s, are at stake.
Author Jane Haseldine follows up her first Julia Gooden installment, The Last Time She Saw Him, with a stand-alone, layered story that is both a pulse-pounding thriller and a thoughtful examination of her protagonist’s relationships with those most important to her.
Is is possible to ever really know another person? Is the ability to trust someone completely truly an elusive goal? Those questions plague Julia Gooden. Despite their marital problems, Julia felt confident that her estranged husband, David, would never cross certain ethical boundaries. But on the very morning that he is set to begin prosecuting the notorious Rossi, a bomb rocks the courthouse. The intended target appears to have been the prosecution’s star witness, whose testimony was paramount in order to put Rossi behind bars for a long time. David is critically injured and Julia is determined, despite her editor’s orders, to uncover the truth. Not just because she wants to nail the biggest story of her career. But because her investigation uncovers disturbing evidence about what really happened leading up to that morning and what was transpiring in the courthouse at the very moment that the bomb detonated.
Julia has always had a hard time trusting anyone and her troubled relationship with David has only exacerbated her unease. At the outset of the story, David wants to reconcile, but Julia is hesitant, in part because she does not want to again disappoint their two young sons if, ultimately, the marriage fails. And because her reporter’s instincts propel her to ask questions about every aspect of a story — and her own life — Julia is compelled to learn the truth before fulling committing herself to the relationship again. Julia’s actions are fueled by her own family history. Her older brother was abducted from the room they shared while Julia slept. Although she was just seven years old at the time, Julia carries the guilt of being unable to aid the police in their search for Ben, who was never found. That event inspired Julia to become a reporter, as Haseline describes it, “since she never found out the ending to her own story. The only answers she can find now are for others, the victims, or those they left behind. She is driven to give them closure and find out the truth.”
In the aftermath of the bombing, Julia’s realizes that her family is in grave danger, sending her on a treacherous journey for answers, aided by sources and allies with whom she has cultivated relationships over the years. She is not fearless because she is a highly savvy and experienced reporter who knows exactly how far the criminals she is investigating will go in order to achieve their goals. But her fear does not slow her down because she is also tenacious and, most importantly, a mother who will do anything to protect her children, in addition to being spurred on by her own inner turmoil. So despite the risks, Julia will not stop digging until she gets the whole story, even though she is confident there will be consequences — professional and personal.
Haseldine deftly weaves Julia’s personal crisis of trust and faith in all the things she thought she knew about her husband and his principles into a taut, fast-paced race for the whole truth. As Julia follows one lead after another, she is aided and supported by Navarro, the man she loved before David, who has never stopped caring for her. Haseldine provides a full array of supporting characters, including the seedy Rossi, his trophy wife, and a particularly twisted henchman, not to mention the city of Detroit itself, with all infusing authenticity and interest in Julia’s story.
Duplicity is an entertaining mystery with surprising depth, featuring a strong lead female character who inspires empathy and compassion in readers, to which Haseldine delivers a shocking, but satisfying ending to this particular chapter of Julia Gooden’s life story.