Sam DiCiccio seemed to have it all going for her — a high-powered job in Chicago as a corporate defense attorney, an amazing wife, and more money than she could have ever imagined. But when Sam was arrested for cocaine possession, her addiction came to light and things fell apart with Amy. Now, Sam is one year post rehab, living in New York, and working as a legal advisor to a crisis PR firm. She is learning to live with a life that is not quite as adrenaline-fueled as her old one, but Sam also knows that is what she needs to keep sober.
When Amy’s hedge fund firm is accused of insider trading, they end up hiring Sam’s PR agency for help with managing public opinion. The women are both unprepared to see one another again. They haven’t talked since their divorce and, while Sam would love to restart their relationship, Amy is wary of getting involved again. Sam broke her trust, and Amy isn’t sure she can gain it back again. But when Amy is falsely accused of being the one behind the insider trading and gets arrested, Sam is the first person she wants to call. The women aren’t sure it is a good idea for Sam but be Amy’s attorney, but they also both know that no one else is going to work harder for her.
As the women begin to build Amy’s defense, they must first figure out how to prove someone is framing her for the crime. As they dig deeper into the case, it becomes clear that there have been a lot of shady dealings at Amy’s firm, but proving she wasn’t the one behind it all isn’t going to be easy. As the trial looms ever closer, the women begin to rekindle their feelings for one another and consider whether there is a chance they could return to the relationship they once had. But with the threat of prison hanging over Amy’s head, they must first figure out how to save her from incarceration before it’s too late.
Last Chance Chicago is a legal suspense, combined with a lovers reunited plot line. It appears to be Diana DiGangi’s debut book, and her career as an investigative journalist really shows here as the story has an authenticity that really brings it to life. It also provides a great balance of combining the legal and business side of things with the rekindling of the relationship between Sam and Amy.
Both women are really well developed as characters and I just felt like I had a great sense of both of them. Sam, in particular, is really fascinating. This is a woman who thrives on adrenaline; she is a tough New Yorker who doesn’t take crap from anyone and isn’t afraid to push the line to get what she wants. Sam was flying high for years in her fast-paced job as a defense attorney, making money and connections and working at a frenzied pace made possible by her cocaine addiction. Now, after her fall from grace, Sam is trying to live a quieter, sober life, but she can’t help but be bored. Taking this case and helping Amy brings back that thrill of the fight and gets her juices flowing again, but of course, also highlights her need for excitement and puts her at risk for falling off the wagon. Sam is a frenzy of untucked shirts and hair flying everywhere, cigarette hanging out of her mouth. Amy is the one who outwardly seems more together of the two, always looking tidy and polished. But at the same time, she is the one who is vulnerable here and needs Sam to help her navigate this complicated situation. I love the way the two women seem so evenly matched, with their strengths balancing each other out. Their connection is clear and I really was rooting for them to find a way beyond their complicated past and be together again.
The legal side of the story is well developed, and even knowing nothing about hedge funds and little about insider trading, I was able to follow the details of the business end of the story. At first, Amy is just in town with others from her firm to hire Sam’s company. Then, suddenly, she is arrested and realizes it has all been pinned on her. Sam immediately believes Amy is innocent, but with a conspiracy behind the scenes, proving it won’t be easy. And, of course, there is the added complication that the women are exes, not to mention Sam is a recovering addict who doesn’t work for a law firm and has burned some bridges in the legal community. At the same time, Sam is a firecracker and she works every angle, manipulates every situation in her favor, and will throw down with anyone to help defend Amy. I found the whole case really interesting and there are some fun twists and exciting moments as we learn more about who is behind it all and see the final legal showdown. At the same time, I was expecting a bit more suspense or intensity here, especially in the middle. We find out pretty early on that Amy is being framed and by whom, so there is a lot of the story that nothing new is really uncovered. But overall, this one really kept me engaged and I was eager to see how it all came together.
If you are enjoy legal dramas or lovers reunited stories, I can highly recommend Last Chance Chicago. It was a really compelling story with two very interesting main characters, particularly in Sam. I really loved the blend of the legal side of things with the relationship end and DiGangi gives a nice balance to them both. This was a great debut story and I definitely look forward to more from this author.