Review: “Conflict of Interest,” Lauryn Christopher

Pros: Really fun character and setup
Cons: Just tiny things
Rating: 4 out of 5

Lauryn Christopher’s Conflict of Interest brings us into the world of Meg Harrison, a “corporate consultant” who happens to do corporate espionage on the side. She’s also not above a little murder-for-hire if the price is right. Harry Saunders, the head of a biofuel company, has hired Meg to discredit his competition, a Dr. T.J. Whitfield. Then he decides he wants his rival killed. But when Meg shows up to do the job, things get complicated. It turns out that “T.J.” is Therese, Harry’s estranged wife, and Meg doesn’t like it when clients lie or omit details. Therese also looks strikingly like Meg–beyond what could be expected from a coincidence. Suddenly Meg finds herself not entirely certain–for the first time ever–that she wants to carry out the job she’s been paid for. She works to get close to Therese, something easier than she expected under the circumstances, and the two start to become friends. What will Meg do? Will she kill Therese? Will she go after Harry? Is something more going on here?

The pacing in this one is particularly good. The tension builds up quite nicely, with little revelations leading to larger. This isn’t a high-action book, and the tone definitely has a sense of humor to it, but it kept me engrossed. It’s also very detail-oriented, with things seeming to disappear only to come back later, and little things adding up. I did have one small issue with a detail later on, but I don’t want to spoil anything, and it was only a little thing.

I really enjoyed the characters; only Harry is a bit of a one-dimensional horn-dog. Therese and Meg are both intriguing, as are several side characters. I particularly enjoy that Meg is not an entirely likable character. Even when she learns that Harry is manipulating her in order to kill his wife, she doesn’t immediately set aside the contract. She continues to work the job, and even contemplates whether it would be possible to use her resemblance to Therese to steal her money.

The connection between Meg and Therese, especially given that they live in entirely different areas, is an awfully large coincidence. But hey, weird coincidences happen all the time in real life, so I’m willing to suspend disbelief for this one.

This was a really fun book, and I look forward to reading more about Meg!

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