Book Review: The Last Alibi by David Ellis

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Rating: 4.5 / 5

A knee injury has sidelined attorney Jason Kolarich, but after his knee has completely healed, Kolarich is struggling.  For knee surgery recovery, Kolarich’s doctor prescribed OxyContin, and now Kolarich is addicted, to the point of needing to pop a pill every couple of hours.  His law partner, best friend, and old flame, Shauna Tasker, knows something is wrong with him, but can’t pinpoint exactly what, and Kolarich has not admitted to being addicted to painkillers.  It is during this time that two major events occur in Kolarich’s life; he starts dating court transcriber Alexa Himmel, and acquires James Drinker as a new client.  Drinker believes that the police will connect him to string of murders happening in the North Side and proactively hires Kolarich as his lawyer.  There is something off about Drinker, and while his story is believable, the reasoning is weak and not everything adds up.

It’s difficult to summarize this book without spoilers.  But The Last Alibi is so good that its worth it to not read about what happens here and just get your own copy. The book moves between the current, which is Jason’s trial, and the past, the events leading up to the murder which Kolarich is accused of committing.  Ellis is a pro at writing suspenseful thrillers.  Although roughly half of the book was told from Shauna’s point of view, each character is distinct. On top of that, The Last Alibi also juggles two time periods.  It’s a lot to keep straight, but never once did I feel that the novel jumped around too much, or had to turn back a few pages to see who was speaking.

I suggest reading the other Jason Kolarich books in order.  It’s probably not necessary, but it definitely helps in understanding Jason. Significant events that occurred in the past have shaped who he is today, and Ellis does mention players from previous Kolarich installations, such as Carlton Snow.  Again, you won’t be utterly confused, but it would help shed light on how damaged Kolarich is, and explain a little the relationship between Shauna and Jason.

The Last Alibi is quite the thrill ride. I’ve read plenty of murder mysteries and legal thrillers, and this one does not disappoint. There are plenty of twists and surprises, and finding out how Jason ended up on trial, and what happens will surely keep you turning the pages well into the night.

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