“The Two Lila Bennetts” by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, Lake Union, 2019, 315 pages
Athriller — but much more. It takes a spin through suspicion toward fear. There are two timelines, but the reader is clued in, so she can identify whether Lila is free or captured. There are marital secrets and far reaching mistakes.
Lila is a successful criminal lawyer, but she cuts a few corners with the help of her assistant, Chase. She recognizes that she has two different personalities. Each Lila Bennett has opposite opinions. One Lila is fun, dangerous and willing to take chances. The other Lila tries to do right but finds it impossible. All her selfish attempts work, and she likes being that way. But she says her life haunts her. The novel opens in a courtroom.
From the good Lila, we learn an important lesson: When climbing the corporate ladder, take care how you treat others. To get ahead, you are tempted to step on rivals to win, but in the years to come, you may pay a high price. Lila makes many questionable choices, but what else can she do if she is eager to be the best criminal lawyer. She is an expert at ignoring guilt and proving the innocence of her client.
Each chapter is headed captive or free, and the psychological suspense will keep you staying up late and turning the pages. Both POVs are credible when the good Lila wins out — seldom, and the bad Lila chooses the path of legal success but serious consequences.
We see how her choices affect her career, her marriage, her relationship with her mother and her high-class friends. You will struggle for Lila. The ending blew me away.
The novel is an unpredictable story of that will have the reader thinking about the choices she makes and how in only a second your life can change drastically.