Damagedby Pamela Callow
Haunted by the death of her sister and wounded by her ex-fiancé's accusations, Kate Lange throws herself into her new career at a high-powered law firm.
When the grandmother of a lonely private school student seeks her counsel, Kate thinks it's just another custody case. But then the teen is brutally murdered. And it isn't only Kate who wonders if her legal… See more details below
Haunted by the death of her sister and wounded by her ex-fiancé's accusations, Kate Lange throws herself into her new career at a high-powered law firm.
When the grandmother of a lonely private school student seeks her counsel, Kate thinks it's just another custody case. But then the teen is brutally murdered. And it isn't only Kate who wonders if her legal advice led to the girl's death.
Put on notice by Randall Barrett, the firm's charismatic managing partner, Kate must fight for her career, for her reputation—and for redemption.
Unwilling to live with the damage she may have caused, Kate pursues the case on her own and unearths some chilling facts.
Facts that lead straight to the heart of a legal conspiracy.
Facts that lead Kate directly into the surgically skilled hands of the Body Butcher.
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Friday, April 27, 5:00 p.m.
Springtime in Halifax was not known for its warmth or sunshine. Nor was Lyons McGrath Barrett, one of Halifax's premiere boutique law firms.
Kate Lange allowed herself a one-minute break and gazed out her window on LMB's associate floor. Drizzle specked the glass, obscuring the line of cars snaking along Lower Water Street. Friday night rush hour was just beginning.
She turned back to her desk—an elegant mahogany-finished number with matching credenza—forcing her eyes to focus on the separation agreement spread out in front of her. The fourth this week. The twenty-seventh since she'd joined LMB. She grimaced. The irony was not lost on her. She'd left Marshall & Associates because of a preponderance of family law clients.
A rapid knock on the door broke through her thoughts.
Her pulse jumped in her throat.
It was Randall Barrett. Himself.
She'd never met LMB's managing partner before. He'd been in absentia during her job interview. She suspected it was because she was the former fiancée of Ethan Drake, the criminal investigations detective he believed sent an innocent man to jail. Two years before, Ethan investigated Randall Barrett's old soccer buddy, Dr. Don Clarkson, for the death of a critically ill patient. The media buzzed with the story: Had Dr. Clarkson misjudged the amount of morphine the patient could handle or had he perpetrated a mercy killing? The autopsy was inconclusive. The case hinged on the testimony of the patient's son, who claimed Dr. Clarkson had assured him his mother would not suffer any longer. Randall Barrett believed Ethan unduly influenced the teen.
Don Clarkson bankrupted himself with his defense but was convicted nonetheless. Randall Barrett stepped in to handle his appeal. But despite Randall's attempts to convince the Court of Appeal that Ethan had thrown the investigation, the appellate judges upheld the conviction two to one. Neither Randall Barrett nor Ethan Drake had gotten over it. The hostility ran deep.
Kate stood, smoothing her skirt. "Hello, Mr. Barrett." She gave him a brilliant smile, grateful she wore the new suit she'd bought with her last paycheck. It had been a toss-up between replacing her old articling clothes or the old kitchen piping, but the lure of the Jackie O-style suit had been too strong. When she heard the pipes groaning that night, she'd regretted her extravagance. But she couldn't bring herself to take the sleek cream suit back and ask for a refund. She'd learned a long time ago that there were no returns in life.
Now, eyeing Randall Barrett's exquisitely tailored gray suit, she was glad she'd kept it. He, of all people, needed to see that she belonged in this office, that her name would have a place on LMB letterhead. Because it didn' t, not yet. Not for another two months.
And only if she cut it.
He smiled, showing off his strong, white teeth. It did nothing to ease her jitters. "Please, call me Randall." He raised a brow. "May I come in?"
She straightened. Flushed. "Of course."
He walked toward her, filling her office with plain, old-fashioned male virility. Geez. Now I know why all the single women in the firm get flustered when his name is spoken.
He stopped in front of her desk. A manila folder was tucked under his arm. In her heels Kate was almost as tall as he was, but his charisma gave him the benefit of a few extra inches. His brilliant blue eyes drilled into hers.
She forced herself to hold his gaze. It gave nothing away. Which was what she supposed she could expect. But it still rankled. Known for his keen analyses and eloquent arguments, she could learn a lot from him. If he gave her a chance.
His eyes sharpened, then drifted away, lazily scanning the piles of folders on her desk, resting for a moment on the stack of Reports of Family Law. "You busy?"
Now there was a loaded question. She had no doubt that he'd used that casual inquiry on every new associate who entered the firm's hallowed corridors. If she said no, she'd surely go to billable hours hell. And if she said yes, she'd sound churlish to LMB's top dog.
"Can never be too busy," she said.
A blond brow lifted. "Good." He tossed the file on her desk. "You've got a new client. She's waiting for you in the reception area."
He'd done this on purpose, wanted to test her. She flipped open the file, knowing Randall Barrett wouldn't be giving her what she wanted—that wasn't his style—yet unable to control the small hitch of hope that maybe, finally, she'd be able to show him that she was capable of so much more than the family law cases that had been thrown her way.
The file contained only one sheet of paper. Four words had been hastily scrawled in black pen: Marian MacAdam. Custody matter.
The sight of it filled her with disappointment, resignation. Resentment, even. But not guilt. That would come later.
She closed the folder carefully. The writing was on the wall. Randall had her firmly slotted in the family law group. All the platitudes her mentor, John Lyons, had given her about the probationary period being a time to assess her strengths and see where she best fit in the firm were bull. She hadn't received a single litigation, insurance or corporate case since she'd been here. Just family law. The pink ghetto.
She met Randall's gaze. His was cool. Amused, even. Damn him. He knew she was pissed off. And he liked it.
She circled her desk, crossing her arms. "I have only two months left of my probationary period."
A small smile curved his mouth. He turned and held open her office door, waiting for her to collect her latest family law client.
His lack of response was specifically designed to intimidate her, she knew. She strode through the doorway, knowing he was too much of a gentleman to walk in front of her, no matter his natural inclination to be one step ahead. Over her shoulder, she said, "When John Lyons recruited me—" the slight lifting of Randall's brows showed he hadn't missed her meaning "—he told me I'd be working in the civil litigation group." She began walking down the hallway.
"John didn't have the authority to tell you that," Randall said matter-of-factly, falling into step beside her.
She hoped her face didn't reveal how much that casual revelation threw her. Not long after she'd arrived at LMB she'd suspected John had less power in the firm than he'd like to think, but she never expected that the managing partner would come out and say it to a first-year associate. Partners usually stuck together.
"Why did you hire me, then?"
"We brought you in for a probationary period—" His careful choice of words was deliberate. Kate's stomach clenched despite her resolve to not let him intimidate her. "—Because we need to see where your strengths lie."
"I thought you'd seen them pretty clearly on the Robertson file." She'd single-handedly won the day for her Davidlike client, resulting in an offer of employment from John Lyons, who represented the Goliath insurance company.
"Yes, there's no question that John was impressed with your work on that file. But that was one case. We deal with a multitude of clients and issues at LMB. We need to be confident of your abilities to handle both the clients and the issues." Translation: she was now swimming in a much bigger pond and needed to prove she could be a shark like all the rest.
They approached the glass door that led to the reception area. She stopped, crossing her arms. "Unless you give me some civil lit files, you'll never know."
"You'll get your chance, Kate." Randall held open the door. "Do a good job on these files and we'll see if there's something we can give you from the litigation group." His eyes met hers. Piercing. Sharp. Looked right through her.
She wasn't fooled for a minute that he was interested in her. She knew he wasn't. He just expected her to respond to his magnetism like every other female he encountered.
Well, she did, if she was honest with herself. How could she not? But he wasn't her type. Too cocky, too confident, too arrogant. And yet, there was a pull there. An awareness in her body that had everything to do with primal urges and nothing to do with self-respect. To respond physically to a man so sure of himself was humiliating.
She stepped around him and walked through the doorway into the reception area. The glass door closed behind her. Randall had not followed her.
She took a deep breath. Randall's patronizing "be a good girl" attitude had been hard to take. But he had thrown the bone she craved her way. She'd waited too long and desired it too deeply to walk away from it now. Because she knew if she forced the issue with Randall while she was still on probation he'd tell her to take a hike.
Her new client pushed herself to her feet when Kate approached.
"Mrs. MacAdam?" Kate asked, hoping she was wrong. She'd expected a middle-aged woman, but Marian MacAdam must have been well into her seventies. She wore a beautifully tailored camel overcoat that helped camouflage her stooped back. A pink-and-orange scarf was tied artfully around her neckline. Kate bet she drove either an Audi or a Mercedes. That was the car of choice for well-heeled Halifax matrons. The only thing that gave her away was her eyes. They looked anxious and tired.
"Yes," Marian MacAdam replied, her gaze sweeping over Kate. Uncertainty flashed across her face.
Kate put on a reassuring smile. "I'm Kate Lange." She held out her hand. Marian MacAdam grasped it, her fingers knobbed with arthritis but surprisingly soft and warm.
"My office is this way," Kate added briskly, holding the glass reception door open for her. They walked down the hallway, Kate forcing herself to shorten her stride, making small talk about the weather and the tulips. Marian MacAdam nodded, but said little. Her breathing came in shallow puffs by the time they reached Kate's office.
"Please, have a seat, Mrs. MacAdam." Before you collapse.
Marian MacAdam sank onto the blue upholstered chair. She glanced around, her gaze taking in Kate's stacks of legal books, the degrees mounted on the wall behind her, the picture of Kate's dog. Her eyes lingered on Alaska's goofy grin.
Kate sat down behind her desk. "I understand you have a custody issue you need some advice about?" She hoped maybe Randall had been wrong. Because if this lady did have a custody issue, it must be for a grandchild. And that was sure to be messy.
"Yes," Marian MacAdam said with an air of defiance. "I am seeking custody of my granddaughter."
Damn Randall Barrett. He really had it in for her. "I see. Does she live with one or both parents?"
Marian MacAdam hesitated. "She lives with my daughter-in-law. My son moved out two years ago, and they divorced a year later."
Kate began jotting notes. "How old is your granddaughter?"
"Fifteen?" Kate stopped writing and looked at her client. "What does she want to do?"
"She wants to stay with her mother."
Kate put her pen down. "Then why do you want custody?"
Marian MacAdam leaned forward. "Because her mother completely ignores her. She's always working. She has no idea where Lisa is most of the time." Disapproval tightened her mouth, puckering the loose flesh of her jaw. She was the picture of indignant outrage.
What Marian MacAdam didn't realize was that she wore the same expression as three out of four of Kate's clients. The anger, the blame—each side in a custody battle nursed their grievances. Kate listened to the diatribes, defused the pain, steered them back to the legal issues and dreaded the next client.
Maybe Lisa's mother needed to work to keep them going. Nova Scotia had a lot of deadbeat dads. Maybe Marian MacAdam's son was one of them—and she didn't want to admit it.
Kate knew how hard it was to swallow that truth. It had almost killed her twelve-year-old self to admit that her own dad had joined those ranks.
Kate knew her next words would not be welcome. "Mrs. MacAdam, the law does not like to take children from their parents. The parent has a prima facie right to custody unless you can prove the child is being neglected or emotionally harmed." She practically had those words memorized. Now came the clincher. She held Marian MacAdam's gaze. "Is Lisa being neglected or emotionally harmed?"
Marian MacAdam looked away. "She hasn't been physically neglected. But you might say she has suffered emotional harm."
"Mrs. MacAdam, there is a specific definition to that term. You would need to demonstrate that Lisa has severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or self-destructive behavior—" And yet, as Kate knew only too well, emotional harm could be something far more insidious, far less obvious, something that spurred a teenage girl to ignore every warning her stressed-out mother ever gave her and allow the unthinkable to happen.
"I think she is using drugs," Marian MacAdam said softly.
Kate leaned back in her chair. "Are you sure?"
Marian MacAdam shook her head. "I don't have any proof… it's just a suspicion. She's unreliable, won't come to supper when she says she will, that kind of thing."
"Have you spoken to her parents about it?"
"Her mother keeps saying that Lisa doesn't have a problem, and, of course, Lisa won't admit to a thing." Marian MacAdam's voice hardened. "Which suits her mother just fine."
Kate felt a sneaking sympathy for Marian MacAdam's former daughter-in-law. It wouldn't be easy facing a mother-in-law's disapproval while trying to handle being a single parent.
"Have you tried speaking to your son about it? Maybe he can help."
Marian MacAdam's lip curled. "My son has no influence over his ex-wife. And besides, he travels all over the place. He's a partner in one of those big consulting firms."
"So Lisa lives with her mother?"
Marian MacAdam nodded. "Yes. Her mother works even more than my son." That sounded familiar. Kate's mother had worked two jobs to keep them going after her father's downfall.
"What does she do?"
Then Marian MacAdam dropped the bomb.
"She's a judge."
"A judge?" Kate tried to keep the shock from her voice. She'd created a picture in her mind of a down-at-heel single mother. Not a judge. "Which court?"
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I plan on re-reading this author. I have purchased the paperbacks I was holding on to to re-read on the nook. I have two titles for this author and when I finish reading even one I find myself looking to see if she has had anything else released. I haven't anyone to compare her to off the top of my head, just a quick read that is enjoyable.
Kate is a lawyer and the majority of her cases so far have dealt with family issues. But she's in for a real eye-opener when she lands the TransTissue case. This company works with cadaver tissue. When a teenager is murdered, she can't help but blame herself. She had given advice to this teenagers grandmother and she wonders if her advice was completely wrong. Kate throws herself into the case, determined to unscramble the clues that will lead her somewhere she doesn't want to go. The truth has a price and it just might be too high to pay. Talk about a thriller! Damaged is awesome! This is the first book in a series that I will definitely be addicted to. If you're a thriller and suspense fan, this is a much read.
Awhile back I had Damaged recommended to me and I borrowed it no less than 3 times and never got around to reading it until the other day when I borrowed it again after buying the third book in the series and I really regret not giving it a try sooner. Damaged is a dark legal thriller that is set in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and written by Nova Scotian author Pamela Callow. I mention this because I always feel the need to give Canadian authors a proper shout out when I can. This is pretty much the only contemporary novel that I've read that is set in the maritime province and I am so glad that the author was able to bring such an authentic feel to the novel despite the gruesome nature of the book. The story centers around lawyer Kate Lange who has struggled almost her entire life to rise from the ashes of her past and when her client's granddaughter ends up being dismembered by who will soon become Halifax's most notorious serial killer she can't help but feel guilty and resolves to do everything she can to bring the killer to justice even if it meant putting her career and life in danger. As soon as I picked Damaged up I was absolutely hooked and before I was on page 60 I already had placed the second book in the series on hold and since I figured it would take a couple days to get it I wanted to make the book last a little longer. But, who am I kidding? Self discipline has never been a friend of mine so of course I whipped through the book really quickly. I loved the setting of the novel, the author's description of the places in the city were fantastic and when she described them I felt as though I was standing there watching the events of the book take place. I also really liked Kate, I felt for her. She'd had some serious trauma and guilt in her life and I hated that the men in her life (her ex Detective Ethan Drake and her boss Randall Barrett) weren't making it easy on her at all and I thought that while they were key players in the novel that the author did slightly over do their macho-ness and they seriously got on my nerves with how cruelly they treated Kate for no reason. The serial Killer was quite the conundrum at first and I kept thinking I knew what his deal was but then the author would throw in some plot twist and I'd be left treading water trying to figure him out all over again and in the end even though I kind of ended up figuring him out I was surprised that there was not another twist that would have proven me wrong. The cunning, and evilness that the serial killer exhibited was disturbing and really made the story come alive. Pun intended. The other characters were good as well and made for a well rounded though slightly cold and uncaring batch of characters in some ways they all ended up fitting into the story just so. The actual plot of the book the was my favourite. I never shy away from a book with a serial killer on the loose but this is the first one I've read in some time and I thought it was very well written. The pacing was perfect, the plot line was interesting and I honestly had no idea how it would end until I finally got to it and it was a wee bit surprising. The way that Kate was able to investigate the crimes against the slue of female victims was genius and I loved how smart she was and how well the author was able to bring together two seemingly separate cases together to get this fast paced thriller. Overall, I really enjoyed this first book in the Kate Lange series and am so glad I finally gave the book a try and I'm glad to have Pamela Callow representing Canada in the novel world. My only main issue with the book was the two characters Ethan and Randall. I felt that they were too exaggerated and took away from the story line. Other than that the book was fantastic and had me guessing the whole time. The air of tension and fear was ripe it pretty much leaped off the page and I can't wait to continue reading this series. I would highly recommend Damaged to fans of legal thrillers with a female protagonist. I think the author offers up a new take on legal thrillers using a woman and if you're new to the genre I suggest starting with this book.
thought this book was a decent debut for author Pamela Callow. It was a murder mystery with some legal thriller thrown in to give the reader a interesting story. At first I really didn't care for the character Kate, she seemed a bit whiny. I know she has gone through a lot of things and she did get the job at the law firm thinking she would get some great jobs, but she is at the bottom of the totum pole so to speak so she should take the cases she gets and like it. So when this grandmother comes in to talk to her about her granddaughter and how she wants to get custody of the child, Kate sort of just tosses her aside. I really did sound like there was no grounds for a case but as a lawyer she should have at least looked into it, then the girl ends up dead. Kate then gets in trouble and her job is on the line so now she feels bad and needs to find out what happened, but its a little to late for the young girl. Kate does redeem herself in the end but she just wasn't a character I cared much for at the start of the story, and maybe that is how the author wanted it to be. It is a thriller/mystery but lets not forget that it is published by Mira, which is a branch of of Harliquin so it reads a bit like a woman's book and some men might not like it. Over all I would recommend it to anyone who likes crime dramas, legal thrillers, etc.
Damaged, author Pamela Callow's freshman effort at legal mystery/suspense/conspiracy thriller, started slowly but if you are patient, you will be rewarded by what became a page-turning, perfect summer read. It builds slowly, while painstakingly laying the groundwork on central character Kate Lange, her former fiance, Detective Ethan Drake, Kate's employer, and its partner, Randall Barrett, plus a bevy of supporting characters. I found the murder mystery and conspiracy aspects of the story to be especially fascinating, having not guessed far ahead of time the connections and the "solution" before Kate (one of the bigger disappointments for me with mysteries/thrillers). I also appreciated the resolution, as it didn't stretch reality to unnatural boundaries and it seemed the natural course by the end of the book. I liked the character of Kate by the conclusion of Damaged although I was a bit neutral about her throughout much of the early story. I always like a tough, determined character with some humanity and all three traits were in evidence as I flipped that last page. I was particularly pleased to note that Ms. Callow will have a new mystery featuring Kate releasing next year and I hope that we will learn more about Kate on this next venture. By the same token, I hope that we will receive additional insight into the characters of Ethan Drake and Randall Barrett, who both seemed to be yearning for additional literary time. I felt that both characters still have a wealth of information to share and excellent storyline potential. I also hope that we will see Kate's neighbors again, the elderly sisters Muriel and Enid, who I found engaging and pleasing. Is it possible that these two have secrets themselves or is it just the conspiracy buff in me at work? Damaged, considering its subject matter, isn't heavy on the gore or violence, although it may have a few objectionable words. There is no sexual matter, although a brief innuendo, and some mentioned drug use. In all, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Damaged to fans of the mystery, thriller and/or legal genre, all of whom are sure to be satisfied by this debut work that packs a powerful little punch.
Kate was a new lawyer at Lyons McGrath Barrett law firm. She knew that she was going to have to work hard to prove that she belonged there. Having recently ended an engagement to Ethan Drake, detective, she had got a new job, bought a new house, and acquired a dog named Alaska. Barrett was determined to keep Kate practicing family law for 2 reasons - He had a bone to pick with Ethan Drake and with John Lyons - the partner who had recruited her. He assigned her a case with a futile outlook. A grandmother (Marian) wanted custody of her granddaughter (Lisa) - but did not have any proof that the granddaughter wasn't being taken care of properly or that she was doing drugs. The hitch was that Lisa's mom was Hope Carson, a criminal court judge known for her icy personality and demeanor. Kate tells Marian that she really doesn't have a case, but after mulling it over tries to call her back to discuss it. Unfortunately it is too late and Lisa has been murdered and dismembered. Talk about opening a can of worms! Now Kate has to worry that she did everything by the book in talking with Marian. She figures she can throw her law career out the window when John Lyons assigns her a litigation file with Trans Tissue as the client. Trans Tissue makes surgical products and they are being sued by someone who believes they contracted Hep C after an arthroscopic knee surgery using their product. See, the surgical products are made from human tissue from cadavers harvested by tissue suppliers. So you really have two stories in one. You have the medical mystery of how this patient contracted Hep C and you have the very grisly thriller of the serial killer. There are quite a few supporting characters which are absolutely necessary to round these out and the book kept me tuned in all the way to the end. They did not give anything away too quickly but rather dropped the pieces in a little at a time. Definitely a must read. I am eagerly awaiting the second book in the series Indefensible, which is due out in January of 2011. I just discovered there is a third book - Tattooed coming out in August of 2011 and a fourth book planned for 2012.
For me, the book opened just a tad slowly, but then I was quickly drawn in, and 450+ pages flew by. Kate Lange has worked hard to pull herself up from a broken past - the untimely loss of a sister, and a father with a criminal record. She worked her way through law school, and now has a chance at finally building a reputation as a top-notch attorney at a top-notch law firm. One of the firm's partners, John Lyons, is serving as a sort of mentor and helped her get her foot in the door. Now all she has to do is prove herself, in spite of the gossip that she did something other than work hard to get in the door. She's on a 4-month probationary period, and is hoping that she finally gets a chance at something other than the "pink death" of family law cases. Randall Barrett is the managing partner of the firm and seems to 'have it in' for Kate. Maybe it's because her ex-fiance', Ethan Drake, a detective, is the one who put one of his oldest friends in jail. Maybe it's because he has somehow managed to get to the top position in the firm in spite of the fact that John Lyons actually founded the firm, and he resents the fact that Kate is his protege'. Randall hands Kate a file for a custody case. When Kate meets with the grandmother, she advises her that without proof of negligence or the involvement of Child Protective Services, it would not be a good idea to go ahead with a custody case. When the granddaughter is found brutally slain and dismembered a couple of days later, Kate's wonders what else she could have done to prevent this tragedy. When the grandmother telephones her and asks her to follow up with one of the granddaughter's 'street friends' to see if she can find additional information, she does so, even though John Lyons has finally pulled her in on a case that involves civil litigation against one of their clients, a tissue broker that is accused of not properly processing donated tissue and causing a recipient to contract hepatitis. Kate finds herself at odds with Randall Barrett, who had a long-ago affair with the teenager's mother, now a candidate for High Justice, as well as with her ex-fiance', who advises her to stay out of the police investigation, and who she has a lot of loose ends with. When she uncovers what may be a string of unaccounted-for girls, as well as questionable paperwork at the company she is supposed to be defending, she has to go it on her own, with no idea of who to trust with the information she is unearthing. This is a page-turner of a book, with a lot of interesting facts and a psychopath thrown in the mix as well. I liked the writing style of this author, and had to put the book down only because my eyes were drooping shut. As soon as I brushed my teeth the next morning, I opened the book and continued reading it while eating my morning cereal. I can only hope to see more from this talented writer, and am happy that the ending of this book may well make for a sequel. I will look forward to it.
In Halifax, attorney Kate Lange handles mostly family law cases for her firm Lyons McGrath Barrett. She wants much more as she knows these cases do not help someone work their way up the ladder, but that is all her boss Randall Barrett assigns her. Her current assignment is a custody case. Grandmother Marian MacAdam wants custody of her teenage granddaughter Lisa from her daughter the judge. Worried about her career by going after a judge and too frightened to do so, Kate strongly suggests Marian forget the custody argument. The lawyer also ignores her gut which screams for her to contact Child Protection Services. Soon afterward, Lisa is found murdered and Kate feels guilt for failing the youngster. Kate's efforts for atonement lead her to her former fiancé homicide detective Ethan Drake who is working the murder investigation that has ties to the affluent medical world. Damaged is an intriguing Canadian medical legal thriller that grips the audience from the moment that a horrified Kate feels remorse that she allowed her fears to overwhelm her sense of decency as she knew the grandma made a strong appeal in the interest of her granddaughter. The key to the story line is Kate who is a classic scaredy cat who ends up in "Hell", which could have broke her or given her a steel backbone replacing the mush. Fans will enjoy a sort of coming of age tale as the women who always chose flight now must choose fight fore the first time in her life against a powerful influential opponent. Harriet Klausner