by: Pamela Kay Hawkins
Genre: Suspense, Mystery
Publish Date: 15 April 2015
In the early 1920s, Jake Witherspoon, a prominent DC attorney, moves his family back to his hometown to help his widowed mother. He also wants to give his family the chance to leave the turmoil of the big city and live a quiet, small-town life in the beauty of rural Arkansas, where living is easy and nothing much happens.
At least that was the plan. But to paraphrase Robert Burns, “The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry.” Jake is not used to having his plans go astray—or anywhere he has not intended, for that matter.
So when he wakes up one quiet morning in his mother’s house in Hulet, Arkansas, and has no idea what has been happening in his own life for the past several years, he’s forced to piece together his painful old life and examine the man he was—and the man he wants to be.
Filled with mystery, suspense, and political intrigue, A Defect of Character is the powerful tale of one man’s journey from selfishness to self-discovery against a backdrop of deceit and murder in 1920s Arkansas.
First off, lets talk about Jake Witherspoon. He handsome, charismatic, intelligent, and self-centered. Not the kind of self-centered that comes across as arrogant. In fact, on some levels, he would be considered to be a fairly humble guy. However, Jake is completely unaware of how his actions affect those around him. There are times that I really liked him and others when I just wanted to shake him and ask him, “What the heck is your problem?”
Overall, the characters portrayed in A Defect of Character are believable and the dialogue is consistent with the time period. It’s apparent that Hawkins did her homework where language and lifestyles are concerned. The rough story line concerning the murder mysteries of the book are based on The Strange Death of President Harding by Gaston B. Means and in and of itself is an interesting idea.
There are a lot of twists in the mystery plot and a decent amount of characters with aliases to keep track of that I found it a little difficult to keep things straight at times. Just don’t read it while you’re sleepy :). I also found that Hawkins writing style is fairly unique and takes some getting used to. The book is written in third person past tense and changes perspective unexpectedly at times. I also felt that she used parentheses a little excessively (although that may not be the case with the purchased version).
My favorite part of the book was the romance between Jake and Jenny. I’m not big on romance books, but I do enjoy a little romance in the story. Hawkins does a fabulous job balancing Jake’s personal life with the mystery side of the story.
The moral of the story? Everything we do affects those around us, for better or for worse. Jake learned this lesson the hard way. But he also learned the all important lesson of true forgiveness and the freedom and joy that it brings.
A special thank you to Pamela Kay Hawkins for offering me a copy of A Defect of Character in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
Pamela Kay Hawkins graduated with a BA in English literature, along with a double minor in history and journalism. She later went on to earn an MA in journalism and mass communication with an emphasis in professional writing. She also holds an MFA from the University of Oklahoma, where she worked as a teacher’s assistant and lecturer.
A published writer since 1984, Hawkins’s work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and advertising. She has worked in the public relations field and written several books for Golden Books under the name “Broughton.”
Hawkins currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband, Ed.
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