Jilliane Hoffman's first novel Retribution takes the stock material of the forensic thriller and the woman-in-jeopardy modern Gothic and combines them with an intelligent meditation on justice. When Banting is caught with an eviscerated blonde in the boot of his car, prosecutor Chloe thinks she has got bang to rights a serial killer she and her police allies have been tracking for months. When she realises that he is the man who raped her and left her for dead twelve years earlier, it only makes her more certain--and more determined to send him to his death and not stand down from a trial in which she cannot possibly be objective. Yet nothing is quite as it seems.
Hoffman is entirely on top of both the small telling details from which a convincing criminal case is built up and the combination of intense concentration and deep personal damage that Chloe brings to her work and to surviving; she makes depression and stress as much a matter of white-knuckle excitement as more obvious dangers. This is an intelligent thriller that makes no pretence at having final answers to the matters of life and death that it raises. --Roz Kaveney [via]