Fiction and Firearms

As an avid reader, I have seen my share of writing that uses inaccurate terminology and even incorrect usage related to firearms. Though I am much more aware of and bothered by the errors now, when I was younger, I plowed through the terms “clips” and “bullets” without realizing the author was mistaken. I also fell for the notion of “warning shots” or shooting into the air to scare away a bad guy, and I have read along, without blinking an eye, when a modern-day character chose a cap-and-ball revolver for home defense. It was fiction, after all, so I did not put much stock into any of it, but I cringe at those mistakes and misnomers now.

But, honestly, that seems to be the issue with a lot of fictional writing: It’s not true, and it doesn’t have to be true. Beyond that, some of the writers do not like guns, and that message comes across pretty strongly in their work. That is why it was so refreshing when I read a fictional novel that actually supports and promotes the responsible use of firearms — from training and learning about firearms safety to actually using a gun in self-defense. That book, Free of Malice, introduced me to a fantastic story (based partially on true life) and a fantastic author: 2nd Amendment supporter, fellow Well Armed Woman, concealed carry student and friend Liz Lazarus.

When I finished her first book, I was thrilled to share it (see original post here), and I was also quick to ask: “When’s your next book coming out?” Thankfully, Lazarus seriously considered that question from me and from countless others who read and loved her first book just as much as I did. And thankfully, she made it happen. Book two, Plea for Justice, launches today, and I got a sneak peek.

Embracing her talent for blending spot-on research with intriguing twists and turns, Lazarus spins another fascinating psychological thriller. She keeps readers constantly questioning the main characters … and (quite possibly) themselves. The story, told seamlessly through alternating viewpoints, focuses on Jackie Siegel, a young paralegal who suddenly becomes caught up in a frightening murder case when an estranged friend from high school named Aaron Slater reaches out from prison, claiming his innocence and pleading for her help. Reluctant but curious, Jackie agrees to help Aaron, who has been labeled “The Snapchat Killer.” But conflicting information and bizarre clues cause her to wonder if she is actually (as the synopsis claims) “helping an innocent man or being played for a fool.” Even from early on, Jackie laments, “Now I understood. [Aaron] wanted my brain, just like when we were kids. He somehow must have found out that I worked at a law firm and that I might be able to help him. But this wasn’t like writing his term paper. This was a potential life sentence and I had no training or experience to draw upon.”

In the midst of her determination to uncover the truth about the case, Jackie launches her own journey for truth as she seeks out ways to challenge and improve herself — both physically and emotionally. I found myself rooting for her constantly: as she takes the R.A.D. women’s self-defense course, as she goes through classes to obtain her concealed carry permit, and as she explores a variety of new friendships and relationships despite her deep-rooted self-doubt. I also found myself agitated and disturbed whenever the elusive “Me” takes over the narrative. Hearing directly from the killer’s brain — the disturbing motives, the high-tech and brutal mode of operation and the arrogance that everything is so meticulously planned out well — is an important key to this book’s suspenseful success.

Be prepared for the unexpected in Lazarus’ fast-paced new novel Plea for Justice. But, just like with her first book, also be prepared to learn something new. Perhaps you will find intrigue in the legal processes themselves. Maybe you will find information and empowerment alongside Jackie in her practice and training. Or you might discover some new truths about the concealed carry lifestyle. No matter what part speaks the most to you, this brand new page-turner definitely deserves a spot on your bedside table or at the top of your e-reader list.