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Stealing for a Living    by Naomi Rand order for
Stealing for a Living
by Naomi Rand
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Describing Emma Price's life as hectic is an understatement. As an investigator for the Capital Defenders Office of New York, she not only has a busy schedule, but must cope with a demanding superior who has the entire office treading warily. Emma is just beginning to put together the pieces of her private life after the bombshell exploded by her soon-to-be ex-husband. Although she is making progress in her new relationship with homicide detective Laurence Solomon, she is frantically juggling parental responsibilities: nine-month-old Katherine Rose is relatively easy to please, but adolescent Liam is going through a prickly phase that alternates between burgeoning thug and sweetly reliable son and brother.

Two new cases add even more complications. Emma is assigned to Roland Everett, a triple murderer who may or may not have extenuating circumstances to offer. Ferreting out the truth is going to be difficult as no one, including his estranged wife, seems to be willing to talk. Worse still, Emma is drawn into Solomon's investigation of the violent death of Eleanor Hammond. The elderly doctor was once a close family friend. She was also an outspoken pro-abortion advocate, targeted by anti-abortion groups. Eleanor's son, once as close to Emma as a brother, finally returns home; and she finds herself caught up in the Hammonds' concerns. Undaunted by the many obstacles in her path, Emma persists and eventually comes to the truth in both cases.

Accompanying Emma through the tortuous developments of these crimes, following her as she wrestles with the knotty questions of her family and friends, one is struck by her strength and resilience. The crises she is dealing with are emotionally draining; yet she continues to meet each new challenge with compassion. The author has created a strong, stubborn protagonist whose humanity persists despite the horrors she sees in her job and the frustrations in her personal life. Stealing for a Living is a sequel to Emma's debut in The One That Got Away. I hope that Naomi Rand plans to continue the series.

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