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REVIEW: “Conflict of Interest” by Zahra Owens



When a material witness changes her story during a court interrogation, allowing the man who assaulted her little boy to go free, Senior Crown Prosecutor Finn DeHavilland’s legendary self-control goes out the window. His subsequent suspension from appearing in court leaves Finn with time on his hands. Desperate to continue working, and after regularly attending his mandatory psychiatric sessions, he accepts a delicate case involving a fraudulent Scotland Yard police detective.

Excited to be assigned to the case, DS Tommy Drummond, who has had a soft spot for Finn since Finn defended him during an internal investigation, and his partner, Stevie Fielding, begin uncovering evidence. A series of seemingly random occurrences muddle their investigation. Believing they’re on the right path, the team pushes forward, until Tommy’s apartment goes up in flames. Offering Tommy a guest room in his home turns up the heat on the growing feelings between Finn and Tommy. But Finn’s baggage may be too much to deal with, and paranoia threatens to tear them apart. As the net around the corrupt detective tightens, it becomes clear he must have had help from high places, and Finn and Tommy become pawns in the game.


While this is not my first experience with Zahra Owens, unfortunately this might be one of my least favorites from her. I thought the writing style felt a little dry and I admit that I had trouble following the narration.

Ms. Owens wrote the story from both Tommy and Finn’s perspective but sometimes the switch from one man to the other felt too fast. Because of that, it was hard for me to form an emotional connection with both men. In fact, I only started to really care about them when Tommy was unconscious for a while and the narration was then taken solely from Finn’s perspective. At that time, I felt the needed attachment towards Finn, and wanted to get to know more about these two. In addition, I thought both Tommy and Finn — well, especially Finn — also felt ‘dry’ as characters. In the beginning, Finn was written as losing his ‘cool’ when his star eyewitness retracted her statement, but I didn’t feel like he was losing his emotions.

I also wonder if my problem was because there were two things going on, both had quite heavy impact. The first was about an investigation towards a corrupt senior investigator at the Scotland Yard who had fabricated evidence. Now, this investigation put Tommy and Finn working together and at one point, even forced them to live under the same roof after Tommy’s apartment burnt down and Finn offered him a place to stay. However, this investigation also didn’t really start ‘launched’ off after half-point or so because it was shadowed by Finn and Tommy’s relationship.

Which was the second important thing — apparently Finn had a bad experience in his childhood which made him having hard time to accept his sexuality. This did quite a damage to him emotionally and he couldn’t approach relationship intimately. So another portion of the story dealt on how Tommy and Finn worked on this problem, with help from Finn’s counselor Ayse.

I felt the story went on two different directions and got lost along the way. Maybe it will better emotionally if the story focuses on the relationship and Finn’s journey to get better. But the mystery-fan in me prefer the story to focus on the mystery/investigation, and for it not to be bogged down by the relationship issue. I’m conflicted!!

Oh and on last note, the story sets in England and there are some acronyms and terms that I am not familiar with because I read more stories with American setting



ConflictofInterestLGTitle: Conflict of Interest
Author: Zahra Owens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 276
Release Date: April 15, 2015
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press, ARe, Amazon

About Ami

My name is Ami and I'm an Indonesian girl in my mid 30's, living in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. I used to do a lot of journal writing in a different website but over the years, I started to lose interest. I am, instead, pretty active in reading and writing opinion in Goodreads. Then I start thinking that maybe I can have a blog in which I write mostly about books or joy of reading or anything related to reading activity, really. So this is what this blog is for ... although, I may be inspired to write off-books topic as well :)

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This entry was posted on April 23, 2015 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Ami and tagged , , .

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