The Guilty Die Twice – Spoiler Free Review // a quick legal mystery

Good morning friends! I am back today with another book review. I know, a r e v i e w! I haven’t done one since the start of August, which I guess isn’t too bad compared to before (my last review before the one in August was in April…). It just feels like forever since the last time I did one.

Today, I have a review of The Guilty Die Twice by Don Hartshorn. This was a fun and relatively short legal thriller and it made me feel super nostalgic for the genre. I liked some of the characters, really liked the plot, and I thought the ending was both cheesy, but also satisfying.

Book: The Guilty Die Twice

Author: Don Hartshorn

Genre: Adult, Thriller, Legal

Summary: Two attorney brothers. Two bullet-riddled corpses. Two sides to the story.

Ten years ago, a capital murder case in the heart of Texas split the Lynch family in two. Now, estranged lawyer brothers Travis and Jake Lynch find themselves on opposing sides of the courtroom in a high-profile, grisly double murder case—with another accused criminal’s life on the line. Conscience-stricken Travis left his high-powered law firm to become a public defender, while bullish Jake rose to become District Attorney. The case pits brother against brother in a contest of wits, wills, and legal savvy that will shake the justice system to its core: both Lynches are convinced they’re in the right, but the truth turns out to be more complicated—and deadly—than either could have possibly imagined.

A drug deal double-cross turns lethal, leaving two corpses and one victim paralyzed for life. The victim never saw the gunman, but he knows one name: Sam Park. Travis defended Sam’s brother years before, and his heart won’t let him turn down the case, even knowing it’ll bring him face-to-face with Jake after ten years of cold silence. Jake, meanwhile, runs afoul of the Austin political machine and needs a high-profile conviction to win a tough upcoming election. And Sam, the star witness and prime suspect, won’t talk—not to Travis, and certainly not to the high-and-mighty DA—and time is running out.

Can these feuding brothers put aside a decade of enmity in the name of true justice? Or will the truth of what really happened that bloody night go to the grave with Sam Park?


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a review. All thoughts are my own.

You all know that I love legal thrillers, and this was the perfect dose that I needed. This book is under 300 pages yet still packed with action, family drama, and an intriguing mystery. So let’s discuss the plot and characters.

Travis is one of the Lynch brothers and one of the MCs. I liked him even though he’s your typical poor lawyer who’d rather do pro bono work than take money from those who can’t afford it. His wife Shirley was the sweetest, and I liked how she supported Travis every step of the way, even when she disagreed with him. Her attempts to reconnect Travis with his family and make their life better also made me really like her since I felt Travis was being a little ridiculous at times.

Jake is the other MC and the other Lynch brother. Unlike his brother, Jake just annoyed me. All he ever did was growl, yell, snarl, or do some combination of the three.

Okay, that’s not a completely fair description, but he’s definitely the more aggressive Lynch brother.

I never really liked him, but I did appreciate what he did in the end. His wife Rita was really forgettable and I just didn’t care much about her.

Velasquez was the sleazy scheming assistant and a very unlikeable guy. Christine was frustratingly senseless and rude, but you can argue that she’s just doing her job as a reporter and I kind of liked her for that. I actually wouldn’t mind reading a mystery from her POV because she seems like she’ll be good at the whole mystery solving thing. However, the ending made me like her a little less. It was just cheesy and kind of too convenient for her to become a “better” person.

The rest of the characters were pretty bleh and forgettable.

I liked the backstory with Sutton and how he had destroyed the relationship between Travis and Jake. It was a bit eye-roll worthy how it was all about Travis “having a conscious” and Jake not having one, but the family drama that ensued was one of my favorite aspects of the book because I just love some good drama. The highlight for me was the family brunch because it was incredibly tense while still being funny (seriously though, Shirley being horrified and Claire just rolling her eyes and saying they’ll be fine while Travis and Jake are beating each other up is so relatable lol).

The mystery with Sam and Mark was so interesting. The twist at the end, the buildup to it, and the fact that I completely missed a vital clue at the start made me love the reveal.

The thing with legal thrillers is that the focus is on the legal process surrounding the case, and not so much on the investigative process. And I love both processes, but I haven’t read a legal one in a while, so this just made me so nostalgic and happy.

Another fun fact about the legal process is that more often than not, there is a political aspect that sometimes interferes with cases, and this book included some of that, which I also really liked.

Basically, the mystery and legal aspect of this was really well done.

If you’re looking for a diverse mystery, then this is probably not the book for you. There was an Asian family, but there wasn’t really any representation with that. There is also some mentions of the morality of the death penalty but it doesn’t really consume the storyline.

So, if you’re looking for a “mindless”, quick, and fun read and not something that goes deeply into the structure of the world and makes you contemplate life, then this might just be the book for you.

And that’s my review for today! Hopefully this marks my return to posting more than once a week, and is also the beginning of the many many reviews that I need to write.

What are some of your favorite legal thrillers? Have you read The Guilty Die Twice? Do you love family drama? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “The Guilty Die Twice – Spoiler Free Review // a quick legal mystery

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