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“When We Were Married" is the story of the marriage of a driven Florida prosecutor and a beautiful professor and the four words that killed it. In its aftermath, Bill Maitland will face baby killers and stone cold drug lords, mercy killers and deadly grannies, killer cops and drug cartels. And Debbie Maitland-Bascomb will discover that beauty is no shield against pain and loneliness as she attempts to make a life for herself away from William Maitland.
Four words ended their marriage. Four words ended his life. And changed hers forever. Four words made both of them face terrible truths about their marriage.
After those four words, nothing would ever be the same. For them. For their children.
Those words would touch the lives of cops and criminals, judges and prosecutors and defenders, the best of men and the worst of them.
The ripples cast by those four words would stretch from the warm waters of the Caribbean to the arid deserts of Mexico, from the government halls of Paris to the moonlit dunes of Matanzas south of St. Augustine.
And, when it was all over, it would finally come down to three lives. And there could be no happy ending.
“When We Were Married" is the story of the death of a marriage of a driven prosecutor and a beautiful professor, and what happens afterward.
It has psychiatrists and assassins and CIA Black Ops teams, the protective head of a deadly Columbian Crime Cartel, a cold blooded and savage murderer who is determined to save the wife and family of the prosecutor who sent him to prison, the Angel of Death, the Shark and the Iceman. It features loyal friends, friendly enemies and really, really bad people.
The first volume of four, "The Long Fall" introduces Bill Maitland, a short, fat, balding Assistant in the Florida State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville, Florida in 2005. He is married to a tall, gorgeous, blonde big breasted Associate Professor of Economics at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville. Despite his personal shortcomings, he is the man who actually runs the State Attorney’s Office. He’s lost touch with his wife and his two children as the demands of his job have swallowed up his personal life over the past five years he’s spent as the actual top prosecutor for a three-county North Florida circuit.
He is, despite the demands of the job, an ignorantly happy man until the night his wife utters four fatal words. That Freudian slip unleashes his pit-bull instincts upon his wife and results in a discovery that changes both their lives forever.
In this first volume, an 18-year marriage seemingly doomed from the start, blows up. The impact of its destruction on Maitland, his wife, and a host of lawyers, cops, judges, criminals and other occupants of the intertwined worlds of law and order and the criminal underworld is shown.
In the courtroom, Maitland will face baby killers and stone cold drug lords, mercy killers and deadly grannies, killer cops and drug cartels. And in his private life, he will find himself caught in an emotional trap from which he cannot escape.
Against these and all odds, Maitland is armed only with a superb legal mind, the powers of the prosecutor’s office, bulldog stubbornness and a compulsion to do the right thing no matter what the cost. And a basic decency that gives him surprising allies from the Florida underworld to a Columbian crime cartel.
Maitland, if he survives several attempts on his life, will finally have to choose between an old love and a new one, and whichever choice he makes, he is going to lose.
The cruise director, a tall youngish man with neatly trimmed bangs,
headed off trouble by saying, “I’ve read some web stories based on this
case and I believe it must have been a difficult case for you to prosecute,
Mr. Maitland. Did you have any second thoughts about your course of
“Of course I did. A lot of cases, no. They’re open and shut. But then
there are the hard ones, and this was one of the hardest. I still think I did the
right thing, but...to be honest I’ve had doubts since then.”
“I wouldn’t have your job,” Gil said, the first words he’d spoken
during the meal.
“A lot of people wouldn’t. But, as I’ve told other people, somebody
has to do it.”
“The law is bullshit,” the billionaire said around a mouthful of
choice French braised beef. “People that can afford it can do anything and
little people get shit on. It’s the way of life, and the law doesn’t change
anything. It just lets the morons think that there is some fairness in life.”
“I think you would probably differ with that opinion,” Dunleavy
said mildly to me.
I looked at the billionaire and said, “The son of a man with almost
as much money as you is sitting in a cell in Raiford today because he
thought money would let him do anything he wanted. His daddy thought so
too, but he found out the hard way that there are some things money can’t
buy. As for the little people...”
I grabbed an escargot and popped it in my mouth and washed it
down with hot bitter coffee before telling them the story of Lilly Mae
Longstreet, the victim in the first case I ever argued as an Assistant SA.
“Her killer walked free. Stayed free for about two years until he
tried to shortchange someone in a crack deal. They found parts of him
around the Westside for months after that. The ME—Medical Examiner -
said there were strong indications he was still alive when they started
dissecting him. Somehow, I think Lilly Mae is smiling somewhere about
“She left two sons, ages 9 and 11. That was ten years ago. The older
boy was shot dead in an abortive 7-11 robbery a year ago. The younger boy
is in a wheelchair and in a minimum security prison in the Panhandle
because he made the mistake of insulting a gang boss in the middle of a
drug deal. He won’t ever walk again, but someday he’ll be a free man. I
know that he’s in a high school diploma program in the facility so he might
make something of himself.”
“Why does something tell me that you had a part in getting him into
that program, Mr. Maitland?” Dunleavy said with a slight smile.
“A friend of his said that he never forgets about victims in his
cases,” Aline said. “How many prosecutors would have followed a victim’s family for ten years? I don’t think many.”
“Her husband remarried the next year. His wife left him in a couple
of years and he remarried again. He started drinking heavily after Lilly
Mae’s murder and never stopped. They found him in bed a couple of years
ago. The medical examiner said a heart attack. He was 45. Lilly Mae
herself never completed high school. I don’t think anyone in her family
ever got a diploma. She was just a hard working lower class woman who
loved her husband and kids.”
I stared at the billionaire.
“Just Southern white trash as some people would say. No great loss
to society. But she was a human being. She lived and had a right to a better
end than taking a couple of .38 slugs to the head delivered by a stoned-out551
of-his-mind crack addict. That’s what the law is all about; making
everybody’s life count. Even little people.”
There was a long silence around the table and finally Dunleavy
said, “I understand now why you are the prosecutor that you are, Mr.
I ate the last escargot on my plate and washed it down with the last
of my coffee. God, the French and food and drink are made for each other.
Conflicted - But A Good Story About a Good Man
Review by: Sadie S. Forsythe on July 11, 2012 : star star star
3.5 stars really
I'm really conflicted about how to rate this book, because there are some aspects of it that I really like. Steele is obviously a talented writer and shows a broad and varied knowledge that makes for an interesting assortment of characters. However, there are also some aspects of if that practically curled my toes and they aren't easily (or at least briefly) explained.
I think this book comes across as very male. There isn't anything wrong with that. The author, primary protagonist and narrator are male so it shouldn't be at all surprising that, despite being a romance of sorts, it is also very macho. But as a female reader there were times I felt alienated by the writing. For example, almost every description of a woman starts (and sometimes ends again) with a description of her 'assets' and whether or not she was pretty, sexy and/or f_ckable. I'm left wondering if this isn't one of those differences between men and women situations. While I read these descriptions as fairly objectifying, I accept the possibility that a man might simply see them as descriptions of beautiful women.
While there aren't very many actual sex scenes, at times When We Were Married reads like Ron Jeremy's script closet. Seriously, every cliche male sexual fantasy I could think of finds its way into these pages in some way. Well...there aren't any fembots, but to be fair they would have been pretty hard to fit in the plot. There's the big breasted nymphomaniac blond who can't get enough, the cruise ship director, the fit barely (or not quite) legal girl crawling into your bed, the stepdaughter, the older woman, younger woman, woman in uniform, the boss' mistress, office subordinate, friend's wife, girlfriend's slutty best friend (or at least friend), the divorcee, rapes, gang bangs, orgies, and more women begging to be taken in every conceivable way with no expected emotional return than I could count.
The sex scenes themselves are crude. No one in this novel makes love, or even just has sex. Everyone f_cks porno style. It's coarse and raw, even when the characters are meant to be bonding on a deep emotional level. But like I said, while people talk about sex constantly there isn't that much of it, so I was able to take 400 or so pages before even my rather mild inner feminist started to take umbrage. Up to this point I would have given the book an easy 4 stars, but the book is so long and I was eventually worn down. Despite all of this the book isn't really about sex. It plays a large part in causing the turmoil that sets the scene in motion though and does have a legitimate place in the novel.
What I really did like about When We Were Married was the depiction of Bill as a good man who strives to do the right thing. He really breaks the mold of the powerful alpha male. He starts the book as a short, fat, balding middle aged man. He is a king in his working life and when the day is done he truly enjoys going home to his wife and children. There are none of the common inferences that such dedication is a chore and given the chance he would gladly ease out from under the burden of fidelity. I liked this about him. I also enjoyed the message that there is always a price for doing the right thing. This is something that gets forgotten and if you forget that there is a price for something you also forget to appreciate the person who paid it.
I think When We Were Married is a worthy read. It's written for adults and I think men will probably enjoy it more than women. But there is a good story here and isn't that what really matters?
(reviewed the day of purchase)
An Excellent - Compelling Read
Posted January 5, 2012
An excellent, compelling read
I read this book continuously over a couple of days, staying up late to finish it, and found it a compelling book. The main characters are complex people and like any good narrative story how you view the characters changes. Unlike many such tales of a couple splitting apart, the author goes into enough depth that you actually start understanding the human feelings at the center of this, this is not the evil spouse leaves the good spouse, the good spouse is devastated then gets their life back together, it is a lot more complex then that, there are nuances, wheels within wheels, that keep you guessing and at least in my case made my change my opinions about the people. I think maybe because I have been married for 23 years and have had my ups and downs and elements of the story remind me of my own life, in many ways it haunted me, made me think about my own feelings and emotions and as a result dug me in deeper.
Some might find the characters a bit larger then life and maybe some of the background drama could be too much for one person, but keep in mind this is basically a variation on the adult romance novel genre and they always have larger then life characters and situations. On the other hand, the situations themselves are believable enough that if maybe on the other side of common situations, they make for one heck of a read.
The surrounding characters are interesting, too, and like the main character, there are tons of gray in them, while many of them are decent people, they all have very human traits and frailty, and there is also the element that in the interests of doing the right thing people forget about the harm doing so can cause others or that when faced with difficult choices, sometimes the right choice isn't necessarily the purest one.
The only hard part is after finishing this book if your experience is the same as mine, you want to be able to race ahead and find out what happens to the characters but of course this is a work in progress, we have 3 more books to get through before we know what happens.
Mr. Steele's writing is excellent, it isn't overly wordy and the dialog is both jarring at times and realistic, the anger and love and confusion expressed in the words paints a vivid picture of people in turmoil.Defining this book simply based on its category would be like defining a Raymond Chandler story as just another mystery and dismissing it as such without reading it would be a major mistake.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.
Plot Twists and Turns Worthy of the Best of His Genre
Posted December 18, 2011
highly recommend. plot twists and turns worthy of the best of his genre.
I have read Mr. Steele's first book in his series, and eagerly await reading the balance. There is a rich texture to his work, and he fills characters out with descriptions that seem to put them exactly in the situations he intends them to be. There is a complexity to his story telling, yet the characters are simple people with everyday, simple needs and aspirations. Their stories are akin to those we see every day, and are very much like people we know. Unfaithful spouses, neglect in marriage, mid-life crisis, rebellious children, not to mention the topics that are in the major reviews. I found the interpersonal dynamics much more compelling than the work environment of William Maitland, protagonist of Mr. Steele's work.
It is a "can't put down" piece, and one finds oneself hurrying to finish a page to turn to the next, yet savoring each new and different dynamic to its end. As an avid reader, I have found Mr. Steele to be quite accomplished (I believe this to be his first work, but might be mistaken) and well worthy of both time and money.
Just FYI, I read Stuart Woods, Lee Child, Kellerman, the Alex Cross series, John Sanford, and many others of that genre. I think Mr. Steele is on his way to fitting nicely into that circle. As stated, I do look forward to the series of his "When We Were Married" books.
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