Jilliane Hoffman was an Assistiant State Attorney between 1992 and 1996. Until 2001 she was the regional advisor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement advising special agents on complex investigations including narcotics, homicide and organised crime. She lives in Florida and Retribution is her first novel
With this graphic serial killer/courtroom thriller, debut novelist Hoffman joins the lengthening list of high-powered legal ladies whose professional expertise serves as the basis for authentic, insider crime fiction. Blond, beautiful law student Chloe Larson is looking forward to a great future with successful New York businessman Michael Decker. Her expectations are shattered forever after a madman in a clown mask rapes and tortures her until she is near death. She survives physically, but psychologically slips into an extended mental breakdown. Twelve years later she's dyed her hair mousy brown and become unassuming, hardworking C.J. Townsend, assistant chief of the Miami Dade State Attorney's office. A suspiciously lucky break nets serial killer suspect William Bantling, and C.J. takes over the prosecution as part of her normal workload. When Bantling stands up in court and speaks, C.J. realizes he's the man who raped her years ago. C.J. learns that the statute of limitations has run out on her rape and that her involvement in that case might very well cause Bantling to be freed on a technicality. Love interest Special Agent Dominick Falconetti knows there is something seriously wrong as C.J.'s mental state begins to deteriorate, but she brushes off his concern and immerses herself in her work on the case. The far-fetched resolution will throw some readers, but Hoffman compensates with a compellingly horrific villain and an undeniably exciting final confrontation. (Jan. 5) Forecast: Linda Fairstein (whose own novel, The Kills, goes head to head with this one in January) broke the ground and set the standard for this subgenre, and Hoffman fits right in and ups the ante with an original premise and more-graphic-than-usual violence. This was a big, six-figure, two-book deal; the film rights to the novel went for a million bucks. Add a hefty marketing budget, multiple foreign rights sales, Literary Guild, Book of the Month Club and Doubleday Book Club sales, and it all adds up to blockbuster. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
What might have been a run-of-the-mill slasher thriller is raised to a new level by the skilled writing and obvious real-life expertise of first-time author Hoffman, a former Florida assistant state attorney. Chloe Larson, an attractive blond about to take the New York bar exam, is brutally raped by a creep in a clown's mask and left for dead. After recovering from a breakdown, Chloe starts a new life in Florida, becoming the assistant chief prosecutor in the State Attorney's Office in Miami. The safety of her new life crumbles, however, when she is called on to prosecute "Cupid," a serial murderer who preys on beautiful blond women, cutting out their hearts and leaving their bodies in grotesquely provocative poses. Recognizing Cupid as her rapist, Chloe vows to send him to the death chamber. But is her goal justice or vendetta? Is Cupid really guilty? The realistic procedural details, tight prose, and sympathetic characters combine for an impressive debut that will please Michael Connelly fans. Strongly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/03; with a $300,000 marketing budget and a 250,000-copy first printing, Putnam is expecting big things for Retribution; advanced reading copies were handed out at BookExpo America.-Ed.]-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.