Poisoned Pen, March 2004, 24.95, 252 pp.
Ever since Hannah was a young girl, her father ignored her, sending off to boarding schools and a college in the East. Her sister Shelby, a brilliant effervescent glamour queen, despises her but the ties of blood are too deep for Hannah to completely sever. She returns to the family law firm of Dain & Dain in Arizona hoping that she can develop relationships with her kin, but all her efforts fail.
She plans to moves back to Boston where she has a job offering at a respectable firm. Before she can tender her letter of resignation, her client Eddie Keen calls saying his land deal fell through. Instead of handing her father a $600,000 check and leaving in triumph she has to prove criminal wrongdoing on the part of the seller and his associates so she and the family firm will not be held responsible. By the time, Hannah figures out someone wants to destroy the Dains, her paralegal is killed, Eddie is in danger, and her sister is kidnapped.
Readers will like FAMILY CLAIMS because the characters ring true. Heather's father and sister are not villains but the way they treat Hannah is terrible even though they think they are justified. The protagonist is afraid of emotional commitment and has tried so hard that she's given up being a member of the Dain family. The motive of the perpetrator is tragically sad as a Dain did something wrong that resulted in tragedy and the victim wants revenge. Twist Phelan is a talented author and this reviewer cannot wait for her next book to come out.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner