When Olivia Randall discovers that her ex-fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for murder, the old guilt that has plagued her since their break-up twenty years before is driving her when she agrees to represent him.

Sad and tragic events have followed Jack around ever since they were together. His father’s death, his brother Owen’s death…and then his wife Molly, who was a victim of the shooter at Penn Station a few years earlier. The boy who killed her and other victims was the son of a man named Malcolm Neeley, a man who failed to get help for his obviously disturbed son.

When a lawsuit against Malcolm Neeley failed, did Jack find another way to punish him? Did he kill the man indirectly responsible for Molly’s death? How did the deaths of two other victims figure into it all?

Olivia initially believed that someone tried to frame Jack, and the story he tells about why he was near the scene seemed perfectly credible, but was there more to the story? Were there unexpected connections between Jack and the victims?

How does Olivia change from someone advocating for the man she had once loved to someone finding it hard to believe anything he says? What does she discover after digging through the evidence?

The Ex was a page-turner that had me guessing, and then guessing again, just as Olivia herself seemed to be doing throughout the story. The characters were intriguing, and I liked that Jack’s teenage daughter Buckley was not the usual snarky teen, but smart and articulate. But was she wise beyond her years?

Olivia was convincing as a tough attorney who had strong feelings about her own behavior in the past, strong enough to lead her to push hard for her client.

Charlotte, a wealthy young woman who had been Jack’s friend since their youth was helpful in mounting a defense.

Would all of those fighting for Jack have to change their position in the end? Or were there mitigating circumstances that could alter everything? Then, in a stunning reveal at the end, everything I thought was true had been upended. Secrets and unexpected sacrifices were the author’s parting gift to the reader. 5 stars.



  1. I saw a post praising this selection on Deb’s Debbish blog, and she loved it, so I put it on my wishlist. Now I see your post and really want to bump it up near the top of the list. Thanks for a good review, sounds like an author I should enjoy reading!


  2. I love Alafair Burke and this was probably my favourite of her novels. I really liked Olivia and was hoping she’d feature in a series, but given the epilogue I’m not so sure…


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