Free of Malice

Loosely based on the personal experience of author Liz Lazarus, Free of Malice is a psychological thriller with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the end.

“No one expects to wake up in the middle of the night with a stranger in their bedroom,” said author Liz Lazarus. “It was both horrific and surreal. I instantly switched into survival mode, fighting back with all my might. After it was over, my sense of security was shattered, but writing helped me to heal. And I’ve been told by other survivors that reading my book made them feel more normal—that they weren’t alone in how they were reacting and coping.”
Set in Atlanta, main character Laura Holland, a rising journalist, endures a night of terror when she is attacked in her home. Although she fights off the would-be rapist, his parting words are a threat to return. Laura undergoes therapy to recover from the trauma, learning about a relatively new technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) used for PTSD patients. But just when the reader feels a sense of where this book is headed—the story of a woman healing—the plot veers in a new direction.

Though Laura did not own a gun at the time, she wishes she could have shot her attacker as he fled. When she learns that her actions might not have been deemed self-defense, her journalistic instincts are kindled. Laura decides to write a hypothetical legal case, which plays out the events of that night had she shot and killed her assailant. She enlists the help of a young, black attorney, Thomas Bennett. Though Thomas proves to be clever in the rules of the criminal justice system, his striking resemblance to her attacker does not go unnoticed. As the two work together to develop the case, Laura’s discomfort escalates, particularly when Thomas seems to know more about that night than he should. Could he possibly be her assailant or is Laura being hyper-vigilant? Reality and fiction soon merge as her real-life drama begins to mirror the fiction she’s trying to create.

As an added bonus, the book has a theme song written by one of the author’s best friends, Thomas Barnette, who is also the inspiration for the lawyer character. We invite you to listen to “Let Me Breathe,” co-produced by Liz Lazarus, at


"Gripping and well-written. I enjoyed reading about the legal and psychological aspects of the process while at the same time trying to figure out how this was going to end! Also liked the subtle role race played in the book; the author uses a sensitive but effective touch. I couldn't help but put myself in her situation and wonder what would I do?"

"I couldn't put it down. I love a book that keeps me in suspense and one that isn't predictable. This book was so very well written and I loved the dialogue. It made me feel like I was right there with Laura the whole way through the story."

"A new twist on the standard mystery/thriller. Well researched with interesting background details and a fascinating story line. I simply could not stop reading it."

"This was a great book! It had me captivated from the very first chapter and second-guessing all the way until the end. Great plot with amazing twists and turns."

"I loved the ending of this book - it kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend it!"


Profile Photo Liz Lazarus

About Liz Lazarus

Liz Lazarus was born in Valdosta, Georgia, and graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree. She spent her career at General Electric’s Healthcare division. The work allowed her the chance to travel the world, including living in Paris for three years. She later attended the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, earning an MBA in their executive master’s program. Liz lives in Atlanta where she is a partner in a strategic planning
consulting firm. Free of Malice is Lazarus’ first book and is based on her real life experience.

All books by Liz Lazarus

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