Final Appeal: Questions for Book Clubs

  1. Final Appeal is a winner of the Edgar Award, the highest honor for a mystery novel. What did you like the best about the book in terms of its plot, character, and structure? For example, did you think the characters were complex and the chapter endings suspenseful? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think about Grace’s decision to have an affair with her married boss? If she had waited even one more day, until after divorce papers were filed, would that make you feel any different? How risky is a workplace romance, and where do you draw the line?
  3. Did you like Armen’s character, and why or why not? Was he really a good guy? Did you agree with all of the decisions he made? How much of a factor was his Armenian background and upbringing on his decisions? Did you like the idea of Grace and Armen as a couple? Do you think he really could have fallen in love with Grace after only three months?
  4. All of the parents in Final Appeal are flawed, although some more than others. Grace has to face an ugly truth about her own parents and reevaluate her childhood. Did you agree with Grace when she questioned her daughter, or did you think she was being disloyal? How do you think her own childhood impacted her role as a mother? Should Grace forgive her father? Is it ever too late to rekindle a relationship with a parent?
  5. Why do you think Eletha is such a strong character? Did you like her, respect her, or agree with all her decisions? How did her decisions affect her child? Do you consider her a good mother and a good friend, and why?
  6. Sarah says “The death penalty is revenge masquerading as justice.” What do you think about this statement? Do you think the defendant in the book deserved a second trial because the judge misread the directions to the jury, or is it just a loophole that will cost the taxpayers more money? The Hightower case plays an important role in the plot. If you were writing the end of the book, how would you have resolved the Hightower proceedings? Is it possible to separate law from justice, or law from morality?
  7. Why do you think Final Appeal has such an interesting cast of characters? Who was your favorite character, who did you dislike, and why? Do you think Grace and her new love have a future together, or it will be difficult for her to date while she has a young child? How soon should you introduce your child to someone you are dating? How hard is it for a single parent to find time for themselves, especially if they are working?
  8. Do you think judicial misconduct is widespread, or is it just a few bad apples? What do you think would help cut down on judicial bribery? For example, would it help if we gave judges a higher salary? Do we need to have a better system for tracking judiciary conduct, and if so, what would that system be like?