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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Fresh Start is a work of fiction in the legal mystery sub-genre, which was penned by author Mark Shaiken. Most suited to the adult reading audience, the novel is part of the 3J Mystery novel series and features bankruptcy lawyer Josephina Jillian Jones. 3J is called in this time to initially assist property developer Quincy Witherman, but her sharp senses begin to pick up red flags almost instantly. Stacy Milnes, Witherman’s banker, is also confident that something is up, and she and 3J soon find themselves uncovering a family legacy of shady dealings, hidden accounts, and felonies left, right, and center.
Author Mark Shaiken has crafted an intellectual work of genre fiction that skilfully blends the legal, mystery, thriller, and drama aspects together to form a deep and layered novel that is also smoothly penned and enjoyable to dive into. Fans of any of these genres will find satisfaction in the storytelling, with Shaiken’s keen eye for detail leaving no stone unturned and no question unanswered. Our protagonist, 3J, was erudite and clever but also penned with genuine emotion and concern, making her a well-rounded figure to lead the mystery without leaving the reader out of the loop. I also found the dialogues to be highly expressive and useful in terms of characterization and plot exposition. Despite not typically being into legal mysteries, the drama had me on the edge of my seat by the novel’s conclusion. Overall, I’d certainly recommend Fresh Start for any reader seeking a well-penned and deeply satisfying mystery tale.