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Harmless Error    by Kate Donovan order for
Harmless Error
by Kate Donovan
Order:  USA  Can
iPublish, 2001 (2001)
Paperback, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Harmless Error begins on a high note with a short prologue introducing readers to George Perry, who's on trial for his life after being accused of the kidnapping and cold-blooded murder of his beautiful five-year-old daughter, Amy. The scene then quickly shifts to two weeks later and the introduction of hotshot attorney Derek Grainger about to have an interview with George, who wants Grainger's representation to appeal his sentence. It's here that George delivers a staggering bombshell - Amy is still alive and Grainger is actually the child's father. The reader is hooked.

Laurel Banyon is another high-profile lawyer who's gained a reputation for never losing a case, even if she has do some creative lawyering to win. Petite, gorgeous, smart, and well liked by everyone she knows, Laurel can't help but be an engaging character. No one is more surprised than she when handsome and rich Derek Grainger comes calling with an offer she'd be foolish to refuse. He wants her help to find the evidence he needs to free George - and to locate his lost daughter, Amy, whose whereabouts his client has refused to divulge until he's free from prison. The two lawyers share an immediate attraction and sense of purpose despite the fact that Grainger holds back key information.

This is where the story begins to stumble. For the next hundred pages or so, Laurel alternates between sharing a fancy hotel room with Derek (both are busy looking for that one clue buried in hundreds of pages of trial transcripts) to haring off to visit friends or council clients, or attending a family wedding. This does little to further the plot or to build up any of the anticipated sexual tension between herself and Derek. Laurel eventually learns that Amy is alive and also how Derek fathered a child with the disturbed and rather kinky Veronica Perry.

Harmless Error begins with a nifty bang but unfortunately the story is padded with too many unnecessary characters who slow down the action or don't seem to have much to do with the plot. There is too much telling going on, and not enough showing, causing the story to lose its immediacy. Derek also seems too intent on keeping secrets from Laurel when, if he truly loved her, he should have trusted her with the truth and revealed to Laurel earlier on the circumstances surrounding his child's conception. However, Kate Donovan writes with a competent hand and I look forward to others of her works.

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