Book Review: Northfall by Brian Lutterman

  • Title: Northfall
  • Author: Brian Lutterman
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Genre: Thriller and Suspense
  • Would I recommend: Definitely. Pen Wilkinson is off on another investigation, putting herself in harm’s way for the sake of justice, and it is thrilling!


A Homeless Man.
A Billionaire.
A Paraplegic Attorney.

And the murder that will entangle their fates forever.

A billionaire who lives on the streets is the unlikely potential witness to the vicious murder of a wheelchair-bound homeless man, and attorney Pen Wilkinson, waiting for the break that will revive her legal career, is an unlikely investigator. But Pen, a paraplegic herself, can’t let it go, and her search for the elusive billionaire entangles her in a web of corporate crime instigated by an international cartel of criminal organizations. Pen’s quest, and the criminals’ desperate attempts to silence her, culminate in a terrifying encounter with sadistic killers in a remote Minnesota forest, just north of Northfall.

My review:

In Northfall, Brian Lutterman returns to the world of Pen Wilkinson, a paraplegic attorney who doesn’t let anything slow her down in her pursuit of justice.

“When a friend invites you to breakfast, you don’t expect to be sucked into a vortex of evil. But, having encountered evil on several occasions in recent years, I can tell you that the experience, pretty much by definition, is like Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition: nobody expects it.”

Here, Pen is trying to steer clear of the freelance investigations that have previously put her in harm’s way. While her boyfriend, James, had reluctantly accepted that she was going to get involved in dangerous projects, Pen knows it would be better for her to back away from them. She’s anticipating returning to federal prosecution, awaiting final word on whether a position will open up for her.

Then Luke Reilly contacts her, asking her to look into the murder of a homeless man. Luke is on the board of the homeless shelter that had helped the dead man, Roger, and his girlfriend, Nella. He fears that the police investigation is going nowhere fast, so he appeals to Pen’s sense of justice. He says the police really aren’t going to try that hard to seek resolution for Roger. And just like that, we hear the sucking sound of the vortex, pulling Pen in. But she’s definitely NOT investigating.

What does billionaire Jake Conover have to do with Roger? That’s something Pen would love to know, but Jake Conover is nowhere to be found. A photo of Jake with an older man, talking to a homeless woman, is Pen’s only real lead. He turns out to be the elusive Leo Hurt. Who is he, really? How does he know Jake? What is his connection to all of this? And why is Jake’s sister Chloe so determined to buy his company right now? And how far will she go to achieve her goal?

Lutterman gives us family tension, murders both old and new that cry for resolution, international bad guys, and people who are not what they seem. Pen finds herself with new questions at every corner, and she definitely finds herself at risk of bodily harm more than once. The tension is high and the action keeps on coming, right up until the end. This one had me biting my nails, reading as fast as I could to see what happened next!

So. Was this Pen’s last investigation? Will she return to the relative safety of a desk job? You’ll have to get the book and find out. If you love a good thriller, grab it and get to reading. You won’t be disappointed!

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