Gotta hand it to writer Jonnie Jacobs. Her 5th novel in the Kali O'Brien series, "Cold Justice", was such a winner, I went back in time and read the first four. In this 6th outing, Kali's still running her own small legal firm in San Francisco, but much of the action takes place around Lake Tahoe, where Kali has a mysterious new client, and in Las Vegas. (Some minor plot details, below, no big spoilers!)
The plot opens with a bang as Kali never gets to find out what her new client, Betty Arnold, needed her to do, and why she was maintaining such secrecy. Kali and Betty become targets at their meeting place, and Betty is killed. Over time, Kali's vague memories of the shooting and Betty's words lead her to continue to probe what her client was hiding, and why she was a target. O'Brien shows the mettle and instincts we've seen her develop over the series to chase down people from Betty's past, and to follow it home, despite the danger that might await her.
An active second subplot that seems well-written and true to life involves sheriff's deputy Kim Wong, who is assigned to the case, helps to wrap up a plausible suspect, and then follows her own instincts (with help from Kali), to undermine the "false case" and focus on the real killer. Jacobs goes out of her way to present a fair synopsis of how the police feel pressured to lock down a case for trial, even though loose ends are bothersome. If Jacobs' interest in O'Brien is waning, she's certainly set an interesting new character to follow in Deputy Wong, who feels a fish out of water as the highest ranking woman in the department, a transfer from LA and an outsider..."not only was there a glass ceiling, but glass walls, too"....let's hope Kim Wong returns to Jacob's dance card in the future.
By page 130, you are wondering how a contract kill "arranger", Sid Mertz, and a Las Vegas waitress, Irene Thompson, will tie in to the plot. Jacobs admits excerpts from both their storylines, and although you are making a connection, your suspicions don't start to crystallize until around that time. The rest of the book is a fast-paced roller coaster, with more surprising twists at the end.
Bryce, the SFPD offier that Kali became interested in, in "Cold Justice" is back, and the relationship between the two of them stays interesting...Kali "doubted she'd affected his heart so much as assaulted his ego". Jacobs gives us the right mix of professional and personal, and the right stuff with her heroine, Kali O'Brien.
There's intensity in the plot of "Intent to Harm", and you'll want to get to the bottom of it, as soon as possible.
Highly recommended....best if you've read the books in series, though.