cover image The Favorites

The Favorites

Rosemary Hennigan. Graydon House, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5258-0509-7

In Irish writer Hennigan’s riveting debut, a woman avenges her late sister by attempting to entrap a law professor. Jessie Mooney’s older sister, Audrey, dropped out of Trinity College in Dublin and left for Central America, where she dies in a bus accident. Jessie soon finds out Audrey had been sleeping with her professor, Jay Crane, and Jay had sexually assaulted her. Believing Crane’s abuse is to blame for Audrey’s ill-fated move, Jessie enrolls in Franklin University in Philadelphia, where Crane has tenure, and manages to be selected for his exclusive six-person law seminar. Known for playing favorites, Crane chooses Jessie and Charlie Duke, the reluctant scion of a prominent political family, to be his research assistants. Jessie plans to have sex with Crane, then charge him with rape, and she seeds gossip about her relationship with Crane among her classmates to build the potential case. Despite her objective, however, Jessie finds herself charmed by the professor, whose apparently sincere passion for the law makes him popular with students. Jessica’s plan gains momentum after she finds an ally in Charlie, but before it’s all over, things spill out of her control. Hennigan’s law degree is evident in her eloquent depictions of classroom discussions and her thoughtful meditations on justice. Readers will devour this satisfying tale of vengeance. (Nov.)