Loosely based on the personal experience of author Liz Lazarus, Free of Malice is a page-turner full of drama and suspense with unexpected twists.
Set in Atlanta, main character Laura Holland, a rising journalist, endures a night of terror when she is attacked in her home in the middle of the night. "I remember seeing the diamond of my engagement ring sparkle in the dim night as he thrashed his head. This was the only time I caught a glimpse of his dark face, with my fingers in his mouth. He did not seem human, but like a rabid beast attacking me in the night." Although she fights off the would-be rapist, his parting words are a threat to return. At the urging of her husband, Laura undergoes therapy to recover from the trauma, learning about a relatively new technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) used for PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) patients. But just when the reader feels a sense of where this book is headed—the story of a woman healing—the plot veers in a new direction.
Though Laura did not own a gun at the time, she wishes she could have shot her attacker as he fled. When she learns that her actions might not have been deemed self-defense, her journalistic instincts are kindled. Laura decides to write a hypothetical legal case, which plays out the events of that night had she shot and killed her assailant. She enlists the help of a young, black attorney, Thomas Bennett. Though Thomas proves to be clever in the rules of the criminal justice system, his striking resemblance to her attacker does not go unnoticed. As the two work together to develop the case, Laura's discomfort escalates, particularly when Thomas seems to know more about that night than he should. Could he possibly be her assailant or is Laura being hyper-vigilant? Reality and fiction soon merge as her real life drama begins to mirror the fiction she's trying to create.
As an added bonus, we invite you to listen to "Let Me Breathe", the song that is described in the book. The piece was written by Thomas Barnette, one of the author's best friends and the inspiration for the lawyer character. "Let Me Breathe" was co-produced by Liz Lazarus.
|Publisher:||Mitchell Cove Publishing LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)|
About the Author
Loosely based on her personal experience and a series of 'what if' questions, Liz's debut novel, Free of Malice traces the after effects of a foiled attack; a woman healing, and grappling with the legal system to acknowledge her right to self-defense.
Liz lives in Atlanta where she is engaged to fiancé, Richard, and in addition to writing is a managing director at a strategic planning consulting firm.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Liz Lazarus is a new author to me although I have listened to a couple of cozy mystery books narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya before. Free of Malice was an interesting listen, particularly since I understand that it was loosely based on the personal experience of Liz Lazarus. This book is full of twists and turns which kept me guessing until the end and I was taken by surprise by the direction Free of Malice took on occasion. Ms. Araya did a great job narrating this thriller and she kept me on the edge of my seat as I tried to second guess what was coming next. This was such an interesting premise and I really had a hard time stopping myself from listening throughout the night. I was absolutely sure I knew where the book was going to go but again I was surprised by Ms. Lazarus.
I’m not an avid reader or consider myself qualified to “review” a book but inline with my interest in learning more about personal defense, I couldn’t put this book down! Thanks for this great perspective and realistic fiction I won’t soon forget!
Is wanting to stop an attacker the same as defending yourself? Where does self-defense end and revenge begin? How do you know whether one acted free of malice and in good faith, i.e. avoiding any more force than one had to? These are just some of the questions raised in Liz Larus's debut novel. Based on the author's real-life experience of being attacked by a stranger in her home, this Atlanta-centered story follows six months in the life of Laura and her remarkable approach to deal with the attack. Initially reluctant to do so, Laura undergoes psychotherapy to overcome PTSD with a therapist who uses the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing technique (EMDR) which helps people to ease the unsolicited recollections of traumatic events. I found this was really interesting to read about. With the aid of Thomas, a defense attorney, Laura also starts to write a hypothetical legal case on the basis of what would have happened if she had actually shot her attacker. Laura's first-person narration allows you to enter her mind and go through all the varying emotions with her. This was so well-written and cleverly constructed, it never felt like a debut novel. I actually thought I knew where this was going and who was behind the attack, but it turned out I was utterly clueless. Not only was Free of Malice exceptionally entertaining, it was also incredibly informative. I learned a lot about the criminal defense system and about gun ownership. I found the part about jury selection particularly fascinating. If that wasn't enough, this also raised some powerful questions about race. Definitely an author to watch out for in the future! Great blend of suspenseful, mysterious psychological thriller and educational legal thriller. Highly recommended! I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.