Archive for October, 2011

Nearly two decades after slaying Broadway audiences in such shows as Godspell, Grease and Working, as well as notable roles in film and television, Robin Lamont switched gears entirely when she returned to school for a law degree, and spent the next several years as a respected Westchester County Assistant District Attorney while also being a wife to loving husband Ken and mother to her cherished sons. She switched gears again even more recently, and has now combined her love of entertaining audiences with her love of the legal process by making her debut as a brilliant novelist with the suspense/crime drama genre. The result is If Thy Right Hand, for which she has done a bang-up job in more ways than one. It’s a captivating thrill ride that is certain to keep the reader guessing right up until the last page, and then wondering further exactly what happened to the characters once the story was concluded.

Our protagonist, Ilene Hart, is everything we’d expect from an Assistant District Attorney so devoted to her work with the sex-crimes unit of a small town in New York State; she’s a barracuda in the courtroom and always makes sure justice is served. However, the private Ilene is battling personal demons right and left on the homefront by way of her long-term love relationship with police chief Matt Bingham and strong conflicts from her past regarding her parents, plus her struggles with nineteen-year-old son Sam, a high-functioning victim of Asperger’s Syndrome besides a statistical genius, and the slightly younger Frankie, at the textbook throes of adolescent behavior whenceupon entering sixth grade. Ever the crusader in the area of pedophilia and prosecution of same, Ilene finds herself drawn into an investigation of what might well be a serial murder of convicted sex offenders, further complicated by local unrest within the school district, by a public who seek vigilante perpetration on behalf of the youth of the community with a blind eye towards anything more or less than abject punishment. As if these particular highways and byways of her life weren’t complicated enough, Sam suddenly finds himself a victim of controversy when accused by two local youngsters of molesting them sexually, which leads Ilene onto an entirely new and unexpected battlefield. Though the charges are eventually dropped, Ms. Hart soon discovers herself at her most challenged on every level…and at her most vulnerable.

What Lamont has done here with her narrative is really quite astonishing for a novice author; every single character, from the most in-your-face to the most virtually-invisible, simply bursts off the page at every turn. It’s at times almost impossible not to love Ilene Hart or at least feel her unthinkable plight, and at other moments extremely difficult to warm to her. What the reader will feel on every single page of the book, however, is complete and utter respect for her, and possibly wish we could know her in real life just to say a kind word or offer a friendly hug when times are particularly tough. Which, in this book, are copious but necessary. And once the pieces fall into place about exactly who is at the evil center of this seamless tale, the reader is certain to feel nothing less than utterly gobsmacked, for want of a better term. The story leads to a climax which is utterly chilling, and necessarily so. And that is absolutely to Lamont’s credit; she literally grabs us by the throat and doesn’t let go, even long after the last syllable of the last sentence.

If Thy Right Hand can be ordered via Amazon by clicking here, or by visiting finer bookstores everywhere. It makes for not only a worthwhile read, but an important new step on the journey of life for the woman many only knew for being the voice behind the hit song “Day by Day.” You simply can’t go wrong by ordering a copy, or several to pass along to friends. Yes, it’s THAT good.

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