"Malice in Miami" By Barbara Venkataraman: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book, and a link to purchase it.

As Much as Things Change...They Stay the Same

Jamie Quinn is an attorney by education, family law by practice, and honorable by reputation, but she’s made a career change. After she closes out her remaining “divorce” cases, one for the second time, she’ll be the face of The Andrea Lowenthal Memorial Fund as its trustee, a new job that requires an extensive, yet crash course in art history as well as an upgrade to her wardrobe. Gowns, okay, but “I won’t wear heels for anyone.” Her new boss, eighty-five year-old Herb Lowenthal, is the father of the Foundation’s namesake, a favorite with a laugh more akin to a plea for the Heimlich maneuver, and very, very wealthy. He hopes to “do some good in this world” with the money, and Jamie is just the one for the task. She knew some staff was required along with her BFF Grace’s services as a “plus one” and to help her navigate the unexpected galas and the fashion and style needed to fit in. “Take a deep breath, Jamie Quinn, Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Herb Lowenthal wrote in his detailed, multi-page “To Do” list, and although acting the student was a daunting task for a lawyer who graduated a while ago, the prospect is exciting! But exciting turns larcenous!

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Erin Brockovich said, “The only thing standing in the way of you being a hero is you,” so Jamie’s professional friends are thrilled she’s not closing her office, especially Fellow attorney Nelda Santos, whose very emotional lawsuit against a large corporation needs Jamie’s expertise. The case has evolved from workman comp demands to complicated paternity issues to personal injury claims that could translate into millions. Reluctantly, Jamie says yes. One last hurrah for Jamie’s law career? It’ll be quick. She just needs to arrange for her “good ol’ boy” PI friend to get the ‘so far hard to serve’ papers into the hands of the defendant and arrange for DNA confirmation. Famous last words when politics intervene.

With all the legal complications, family issues, and trips to museums, Jamie finds comfort in the arms of her boyfriend Kip Simons. His passion for all things flora and fauna leads him to finds ways to protect and conserve. But, be careful...the Everglades can hide many secrets beyond curtailing the python population.

Malice in Miami earns 5/5 Florida Man Headlines...Engaging Fun! 

Compelling. Barbara Venkataraman has woven several seemingly disconnected issues into a engaging drama which seems to epitomize the David and Goliath scenario: the small or insignificant challenges the bigger, more powerful. It may be greed vs humanity or man vs environment or just man vs man or woman. Whatever the battle, Barbara provides realistic situations for the characters to manage, avoid, and solve.

Exciting. The drama is at times intense with a realism that might make you question whether it’s “based on true events.” Jamie is strong, clever, and adventurous, and her move to turn the corner on her law career is totally understandable. I felt that way a few times during my thirty-five years teaching. Beyond a seemingly cut and dry lawsuit and the challenges with her foundation work, there was just the right amount of peril “shot” at the characters.

Well-written. Barbara’s style is written in a first-person narrative from Jamie’s perspective giving me a vicarious role as “I.” It is also well-paced with easily consumed chapters. Although the real drama and peril seemed slow to rev up, it’s definitely the journey that made this a real page-turner. Her use of descriptive language does well to paint the Florida settings, the museums and art work, Everglades, and the various characters from fashionable to alligator boots. The dialogue, witty and informative, illustrates well the characters’ personalities which make this series and ensemble easy to recommend.

Educational. I don’t just read. I read. I learn. Then I explore and learn. Then read and learn some more. In Barbara book, I googled pythons, python hunting, and other flora and fauna native or imported to Florida, but it was the tour of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida, that caught my interest on fire. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, it is literally a “treasure trove” of artwork from various eras and styles, rare books, and an architectural masterpiece. Bucket List #26!

Jamie Quinn Mystery Trio (2014) KRL Review & Interview HERE

Death by Didgeridoo (2013)

The Case of the Killer Divorce (2013)

Peril in the Park (2013)

Engaged in Danger (2015)

Jeopardy in July (2017)

Malice in Miami (2020)

Become a Barbara Venkataraman Fan!

Barbara Venkataraman Blog A Trip to the Mobius Strip

Barbara Venkataraman (Goodreads)

Barbara Venkataraman (Amazon)

To enter to win an ebook copy of  Malice in Miami, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "miami,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 6, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This book sounds like a fun and entertaining reading get away!

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  2. Sounds like another great book. Thanks for the chance.

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