Book Review: The Sacrifice of Lester Yates by Robin Yocum

Posted 06/23/2022 by Charli in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley to facilitate my review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Sacrifice of Lester Yates by Robin YocumThe Sacrifice of Lester Yates by Robin Yocum
Published by Simon and Schuster on 04/27/2021
Genres: Fiction / Crime, Fiction / Political, Fiction / Thrillers / Crime
Pages: 288
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley
Buy on: Amazon CA

** Finalist for the 2022 Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing **

Lester Yates is the notorious Egypt Valley Strangler, one of the country’s most prolific serial killers. Or, is he? Yates is two months from his date with the executioner when Ohio Attorney General Hutch Van Buren is presented with evidence that could exonerate him. But Yates is a political pawn, and forces exist that don’t want him exonerated, regardless of the evidence. To do so could derail presidential aspirations and change the national political landscape. Yates’ execution will clear a wide political path for many influential people, including Van Buren, who must battle both the clock and a political machine of which he is a part.
Robin Yocum has been compared with E. Annie Proulx for his authenticity of place, and Elmore Leonard for his well-laid plots and perfect pacing. Arcade is thrilled to publish The Sacrifice of Lester Yates, which is Yocum at his best: suspenseful, political, and smart.   

I know my last couple of reviews have been romance novels, but this time, I’m pulling out a mystery/thriller for you. I’ve been a fan of mysteries and thrillers for years and if you look back at my review history, you’ll see that I’ve reviewed my fair share of them. So today I’m bringing you a new one – The Sacrifice of Lester Yates by Robin Yocum.

This one has been in my NetGalley queue for far too long. I’m honestly disgusted with myself for not having read this book sooner.


Allow me to preface this characters section by saying there are a LOT of characters at play here. I’m only going to touch on a couple of them for the sake of my dear readers not having to spend hours reading a review.

Hutchinson Van Buren

Our illustrious main character, from whose point of view the story is being told, is an interesting character. He’s the Attorney General for the State of Ohio. He’s also overly concerned about whether or not the right man is being executed for a series of murders. I like him, I like him a lot. He’s not afraid to go after the real culprit no matter who that person may be.

Lester Yates

We don’t see a lot of him even though he’s the title character. He’s a likable fellow though, seems very sweet, though not very bright. I like him too.

Big Jim Wilinski

I really hope I spelled his name right – actually, I dislike this one so I don’t really care. He’s the kind of person you love to hate. He’s the Governor of Ohio and is a complete dog. He has an annoying habit of calling people “padnah” and it makes me what to smack him through the pages of the book. Obviously not a favorite of mine.

Alfonso Majestro

If you think I dislike Wilinski, I really can’t stand this guy. He’s Wilinski’s chief of staff and honestly, he’s a greasy piece of junk. He’s the kind of person who pulls all the strings for his politician because his politician has no idea what he’s doing. He’s a real piece of work and not very likable.

Del Brown

He goes by another name in the book as well, but I’m too damned lazy to look it up. He’s the sheriff who arrested Lester Yates and he’s a piece of work as well. He drinks too much diet soda and he has a really gross habit of sucking saliva back in his mouth when he talks. I’m obviously not fond of him. He was known as Del Brown when he arrested Lester, but got himself a cushier job and started referring to himself by a fancier name. He wasn’t worth it.


The Sacrifice of Lester Yates sounds like something John Grisham would have written. The Attorney General of the State of Ohio investigating to make sure a man who was convicted of a murder and sentenced to death is truly the right man before he’s executed. I admit, it’s a book that is right up my alley. Again, I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it.

I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. As you progress through the book, you are introduced to more evidence of Lester’s innocence and to new suspects for the murders committed by the Egypt Valley Strangler. You never quite know what they’ll uncover next and just when you think you might know who committed a particular murder, the plot twists and you’re left wondering who really did it then.

The book is well written, with the usual typo, missing word, or extra word here and there. Nothing to really be annoyed or upset by – in fact, most of the time I had to re-read a sentence or word to realize anything was amiss. Pretty much every book I read has these types of things in them and they don’t detract from the story because they aren’t so prolific that you can’t ignore them.

The author’s writing style is easy to read and easy to follow. While the plot has twists, you can easily follow along and won’t get completely lost. By the time the book ends, you’ll know who did what and you’ll be able to understand how they got to that conclusion.

One of my favorite things is that it wasn’t easy to guess who did what in the story. While I would tell myself that so-and-so did this or that, it usually ended up not being the case, which made the book all the more interesting to read.

If you’re a mystery fan and you like legal and/or political thrillers, I’d recommend you give this book a try.


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