MEC Reviews: Lawless – Jenna Rae

Lawless by Jenna Rae

3.5 to 3.75

I was surprised how quickly this book drew me in and kept me glued to the page. This is a crime drama with nary a whiff of romance.

Kate Hollister is an an undercover agent assigned to ferret out information on local drug dealers in a small, rather dismal town called Lawless. Living in a squalid trailer in a fading trailer park, she befriends Maggie and Sierra as a way to make inroads with the suspected local dealer. Kate isn’t the only one in this novel playing a role and as we learn more about Sierra and Maggie. We see Kate manipulating the two women who in turn are manipulating Kate and it makes you reconsider initial assumptions and impressions. The unexpected murder of a local brings peels back further layers of mystery and, as Kate progresses, she begins to wonder what exactly she’s been sent into this town to investigate.

Ms Rae creates a gritty and realistic feel for Lawless and Kate’s character is rather fascinating as details of her childhood and early life bleed into her portrayal of her undercover identity – she seems to be more honest about those details with the people she is investigating than her co-workers. As a crime drama, this was interesting with the leads bringing Kate and the reader deeper and deeper into the uglier underbelly of the town. I appreciate how Maggie and Sierra are portrayed – they are more complex than you would first think and I kept swaying my opinion of how involved either one of them were – hapless victim, unwilling participant or the architect. There was no black and white – just lots of shades of gray.

I found that the end was a bit rushed and almost too much show, not enough tell. I felt that after the level of detail provided as Kate got pulled deeper into the unsavoury elements of Lawless, she put all the pieces together quickly and I was a bit unsure of what details she captured and what the end results were.

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