For the month of June, SGBE is pleased to welcome award-winning author Claire Matturro. This month, Claire talks a bit about her new legal thriller, Privilege, and shares an exclusive excerpt. For more about Claire and her books, visit www.ClaireMatturro.com

Q. Privilege (Moonshine Cove Publishing May 21, 2019) is your fifth published legal-based novel. Can you describe Privilege in 50 words or less?
A. Ah, conciseness comes hard for a novelist, but here’s a short blurb I’m using on my webpage. Privilege is a steamy tale of a corrupted law firm, a beautiful, but jaded attorney whose shadowy past snares her in a brutal marriage, a violent ex-con stalker seeking his own justice, a dead lawyer murdered in his bedroom, and the honorable cop caught in the cross-fire.
Q. I see that James O. Born, best-seller crime author who has rocketed to new heights by co-authoring best sellers with James Patterson, commented on Privilege, saying only a lawyer could know the inner workings of a law firm like you did in the book. I see in your bio that you are—or were—a lawyer. Naturally, this raises the question if any of the book is based upon your own experiences as a lawyer?
A. Well, I’ll have to laugh a bit at that. In my old firm, we most assuredly never murdered a partner, or anyone else! Privilege is fiction, pure totally imagined made-up fiction. However, that said, naturally I used my personal legal experience to write a book that had an authentic quality and an insider’s view at details.
Q. In which category or genre would you place Privilege?
A. Privilege is a hybrid between a classic legal thriller and a police procedural. But given its dark, gritty, and erotic aspects, I call it a legal thriller noir.
Q. Please explain what you mean by a legal thriller noir?
A. Sure. We all know what a legal thriller is—John Grisham and Lisa Scottoline have made sure of that these last decades. And a noir book is one that harkens back to the hard-boiled detective books of Micky Spillane, John McDonald, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. These are usually sexy, gritty tales involving crime, cynical detectives, bad women with shady pasts and a femme fatale quality about them, with plenty of fatalism, all tossed with plenty of moral ambiguity, and usually an erotic gloss. So, a legal thriller noir simply combines the formula for a legal thriller with that gritty, steamy noir quality, all infused with moral ambiguity. A perfect type of book for our times.
Q. Thank you, Claire.
A. You are most welcome.

More about Privilege:

WHEN BEAUTIFUL, JADED ATTORNEY RUBY RANDOLPH IS ARRESTED FOR KILLING HER SNAKE OF A LAWYER HUSBAND, NOBODY BLAMES HER—EXCEPT THE COP WHO LOVES HER.

Ruby Randolph is a street-smart lawyer with a dark past who finally makes it big, but she’s snared in an abusive marriage. Privilege has its costs.

When her husband’s shocking murder sets her free, Ruby vows to keep it that way at any cost. But when her former lover shows up at her door as the police detective investigating the case, freedom gets tricky. There’s still heat between them, but can she trust him?

Hank Rider, an honorable, world-weary cop, knows better than to get emotionally involved in a case. But he can’t forget what he once felt for Ruby as they re-ignite their steamy affair. When he discovers evidence against her, the line between duty and passion gets blurred, fast.

As the investigation spirals out of his control, Hank struggles through a long list of suspects who wanted Ruby’s husband dead—including Ruby. A bankrupted law firm, a busted client-attorney privilege, an ex-con out for revenge, a corpse in an orange grove, and Ruby’s own shady history conspire to make everyone a suspect.

Excerpt:

The face under the sheet didn’t look like Gardner. It was flat, pale, weak jawed, with cheeks somehow collapsing into themselves. Vacant. For a moment, Ruby saw the animated Gardner’s face flash over this dead thing, obscuring the putty mask on the floor.

Gardner’s face, lively, alive, talking. Kinetic, ringing with energy even in sleep. That undercurrent of rage humming in him, keeping him on the move. Alive, his eyes had held everyone, engaged them, tricked them, bullied them. But now though his eyes were open, they were empty and blank. His lips were twisted, as if in pain, but even behind the grimace, he looked dull, weak, already cold. Utterly gone.

Ruby rocked forwards on her knees, dropping her head till it was nearly resting her on her thighs as she knelt on the floor. …[S]he put her index finger in the center of his forehead. Then she traced her finger down his nose, down his upper lip, and rested it on his full bottom lip. Inhaling sharply, she said, “Damn you, Gardner. Now what?”

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