Free of Malice

Free Of Malice - Liz Lazarus

Debut thriller, Free of Malice by Liz Lazarus takes place in Atlanta featuring Laura Holland. She awakens to find a man in her room, he attacks her but she is able to get away and the man flees, but not before he says that she should not forget Sam. Of course, Laura is terrified that the man will come back to complete what he started. 

Laura, at the advice of her husband, goes to therapy where the therapist. diagnoses Laura with PTSD. Laura starts to have nightmares of the attack so the therapist starts using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing technique (EMDR) to help Laura recover from the emotional pain she is experiencing. 

"EMDR therapy is a cost-effective, non-invasive, evidence-based method of psychotherapy that facilitates adaptive information processing. EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies. Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive." ... from

Therapy goes along well for Laura but she starts questioning 'what if'. The what if in her case is that if she would have had a gun what kind of trouble would she be in if she had shot him as he was fleeing her home. Laura is a journalist and wants to do a feature on what happens in a case like hers if the victim shoots the would-be rapist/attacker. Against her husbands wishes she purchases a gun and starts taking lessons on how to properly handle a gun.

She starts seeing a lawyer, Thomas, who has an office in the therapist's building. The lawyer takes her from the attack all the way through the jury's verdict if she had shot her attacker. All of this is hypothetical of course but I believe that she was still suffering the emotional pain because she starts to get suspicious of her lawyer, Her attacker was black, Thomas is black, Plus he seems to know things that she does not recall telling him. All this leads the reader on a thrilling journey along with Laura as she finds out who her attacker is. 

This story is loosely based on the author's personal experience. I loved how the author wove Laura's experience into a what if scenario, learning what happens from the time of the incident all the way to the jury's verdict and sentencing. You can't shoot someone once they leave your property because then unless you can prove that you were Free of Malice, you could find yourself in prison for protecting yourself. An interesting read that I really enjoyed!