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Identity Crisis

(Sam McRae Mystery #1)

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  522 ratings  ·  90 reviews
A simple domestic abuse case turns deadly when the alleged abuser is killed and Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae's client disappears. When a friend asks Sam to find Melanie Hayes, the Maryland attorney is drawn into a complex case of murder and identity theft that has her running from the Mob, breaking into a strip club and forming a shaky alliance with an offbeat private investi ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published May 5th 2013 by Renegade Press (first published June 2004)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  522 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
3.5 bumped up to 4.

Best categorized as hard-boiled/noir crime fiction, Identity Crisis has a lot to offer fans of the genre.

Sam McRae is a chick dick, you know the female version of Philip Marlowe, with a tough exterior that occasionally cracks enough to reveal a vulnerable interior.

This was well-written and fast paced. The biggest flaw for me involved the plot, which took an unexpected turn--not necessarily a bad thing--but in this case a little too far out of left field and a little bit of a d
Jim Thomsen
Debbi Mack's debut novel, "Identity Crisis," has a lot going for it. It's a well-written, briskly paced, plot-packed detective mystery that makes strong but subtle use of its Chesapeake Bay-area settings held my attention for the most part. Overall, it's a few cuts above the majority of self-published fare.

Unfortunately, it's a little too packed with plot -- to the extent that the final act goes off the rails, with way too many scenes in which way too much is explained. I found myself jumping b
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from the author with a request for a review. I told her I only posted positive reviews on DorothyL and she was happy with that. I am very pleased to tell you how much I enjoyed this book.
Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae is a small-time lawyer with a small office and an even smaller staff, her landlord’s secretary. She is happy representing common people who need help. A simple domestic abuse victim suddenly turns up missing and is the lead suspect in the murder of her abusive boyf
Benjamin Sobieck
With so many lawyers running extracurricular sleuthing activities already in crime fiction, it's hard to latch onto yet another attorney with seemingly too much time on her hands. This is the feeling I had going into "Identity Crisis," by Debbi Mack (Lulu, 2009).

Fortunately, readers won't suffer through the 254 pages of Mack's mystery. In the protagonist, attorney Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae, they'll find something both familiar and new. They've probably been down the lawyer-detective path before
Elizabeth Gerhardt
A light read murder mystery
This is a light read for the beach or travelling. The protagonist is a lawyer who is nice to her client, but don’t look too closely at her ethics. The supporting cast ranges from rich club owner to hires ripping off the business to mob thugs and murder victims. Others appear as the book progresses and characters’ secrets become known.

My confusion arose from the title of the book, which did not mesh with the action, which involved murders, accusal of the lawyer’s clien
David Kubicek
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Identity Crisis follows former public defender Sam (Stephanie Anne) McRae as she works to clear her client of a murder charge which turns out to be anything but simple. The clues lead her into a case involving identity theft, ties to the mob, a fire in a school lab, and revenge.

Sam's practice doesn't make a lot of money. She shares an office building--and a receptionist--with an accountant, her car is an old beater that barely runs, she lives in a small apartment and has trouble paying her bills
J.T. Cummins
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Early in Debbi Mack’s crisp and exciting mystery/thriller Identity Crisis there’s a reference to Dragnet and Joe Friday’s no nonsense manner. The same could be said of Mack’s efficient storytelling, which wastes no time plugging the reader into the life of lawyer Stephanie Ann McRae. By page two of Identity Crisis, Sam (a nickname constructed from her initials) is indoctrinated into what appears to be a simple missing person’s case. Unfortunately, as Sam begins to dig, nothing is as it appears, ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Just another Chick Dick this case, though, she's an attorney with a Nancy Drew streak....a decent amount of moxie..a married boyfriend....and a temperamental automobile. The story is set in and around Baltimore...old CHARM CITY herself.

This little tale of identity theft and murder-most-foul (with a back story of High School hijinks gone wrong, and the revenge that followed) was a sweet respite from heavier fare. Nothing earth shaking, mind you...but it flowed smoothly, without too much
Although these posts aren't blogs as such, new FTC regulations suggest that I ought to disclose the Debbi Mack graciously sent me a review copy of her recently re-published book. I was happy to get it because my "A Mystery for Every State" challenge to myself was inching up on Maryland, and I'd just about read all of Laura Lippman's Baltimore-based series and Barbara Michaels' books, many of which are set in rural Maryland.
Identity Crisis is set primarily in Prince George's County. Since one of
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful mix of Mob action, lawyers, identity thieving and a more than dodgy High School experiment gone wrong.
Debbi Mack's "Identity Crisis" follows the lawyer Sam McRae through the attempts to, at first save her client from an abusive boyfriend, to saving her from one of the North American Mafias. Written by the author whom has some knowledge in both the legal and private investigation field, this makes the book extremely pleasant to read, and efficiently easy to associate yourself with the
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Debbi Mack's first novel, Identity Crisis, had me hooked from the first page, and proved to me by last page that she is a mystery author to contend with. She builds a tight and compelling plot in this noir murder tale, while managing to pace the story so nicely that I never once felt bored. And there's a great twist that I just didn't see coming - and I'm usually pretty good at spotting a twist from a mile away.

Of course plot and pacing are important in any mystery, but I'm a reader who loves a
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, quick read. Sam McRae is an attorney doing detective work in this novel. This is the second Sam McRae mystery that I have read. I like the author's style which is fast. Near the end of the book, unnecessary characters and relationships surfaced but did not destroy the fast pace of the book. I worry a little about Sam McRae. Her car is not reliable. Her clients cannot pay for Sam's legal services. The mob 'knows' her. She is all alone in the world. She has not invested in a house, probabl ...more
Oct 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what genre this really is. The protagonist is an independent lawyer, but seems to act more like a PI than anything else. There wasn't a single court-related action in the whole book. Maybe she's just an attorney because that's what the author is familiar with.

That said, it was a good PI book. I saw the resolution of the stolen identity a mile and a half away, but I think maybe I was supposed to. It makes you think that you've solved the mystery, while all along there are bigger unk
K.R. Bankston
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book without doubt. Ms. Mack crafted very believable characters, easily identifiable with for the readers. I loved Walt, the loveable grouch of a neighbor, his crotchety ways reminded me alot of myself.LOL. Sam McRae the lead character, attorney, in the saga was definitely a terrier in her journey to find the truth. There are alot of "what the hell" moments during the story where you can only shake your head at the true nature of people. Once the story was unraveled, the reasoning ...more
Kimberly Hicks
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-on-kindle
This was a pretty good read, but it just wasn't as exciting as I would have liked a legal thriller to be.

For me, Sam McCrae was more of a detective than she was an attorney, and perhaps that's the problem I had with the story because I was looking for more legal-eze, and I just didn't get that much.

Sam's client, Melanie, was being accused of identity theft, and factor in her ex-boyfriend was recently found murdered, all evidence seemed to point in Melanie's direction, or was she being framed, an
Glyn Smith-Wild
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slightly different take on a detective novel, the main character not being a police officer, but a lawyer. The story drags the reader in and tends to get a bit over-complicated towards the end. It is doubtful that a lawyer would do the things she did without being in trouble with the police authorities herself, but no matter, it made a thrilling read.
The ending? Well, I still don't know exactly what happened in the end. I had to read the final three chapters again in case I had overlooked some
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer- I received this book free in a Goodreads giveaway.
This book was an enjoyable read because it was fast paced and action packed. Mack didn't let off the gas for a second and it was like riding a roller coaster blindfolded. Sure, when the coaster started to climb you knew there would be a drop but you didn't know how high the fall would be or where the next curve was. The book sucks you in and it's hard to put down. There were so many seemingly random events happening but by the end Mac
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I met Debbi Mack at an author's "thing" at a small town in Maryland in 2009. Took her card and always meant to get to reading her (at the time) first book. I found the card a few days ago and went searching for her book ... found it on Amazon for Kindle at .99 ... how could I pass that up?

It's a good book. Like most mysteries (detective/police stories) I've read, a little predictable, but not something I wanted to put down after just a few pages.

Will I read Ms Mack's other books ... possibly, po
Regena Rogers
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Go on a thrilling ride with Sam McRae as she tries to find her missing client who is thought to be a murderer. It started out as a domestic abuse case but quickly turned into more. As an attorney trying to help her client she runs into many mysteries including identity theft. This is a great book
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicely paced mystery

Very nicely paced mystery that kept the reveal and some extra tidbits till very close to the end. The characters were interesting and a little fun to get to know. I look forward to reading more in this series
Bonnie Dale Keck
Not kindle unlimited, got it as freebie copy in hopes of review, something about re-release of print copy or something, but the best {seriously} could give it would be a 3, and that is stretching it, with the huh? ending that didn't make sense in the context of the earlier story line, the outright illegal and other actions that didn't make sense for lawyer or medical staff or police, and so on and on, was not indecision to rate it okay, more indecision as to how many stars to take off, so basica ...more
Julie Howard
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
I enjoyed this book. It contains everything fraud, murder, revenge and broken relationships. Even though the main character is a lawyer, we didn't see the inside of a court room and she acted more like a private investigator than a lawyer. I still enjoyed it and the many plot twists. It did get a bit confusing with the different identities for the characters but it certainly kept you on your toes and listening until the end. I liked the main character and the fact that despite being a lawyer she ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have read by this author and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it !

The story starts off with Sam McRae, a small independent lawyer, being notified that the client she had gotten a restraining order for, against her abusive boyfriend, was now being saught for his murder.

Mix in a sudden identity theft issue for our main character, Sam, and things start to heat up. She starts to try and find her client who has gone missing and also has to contend with the Mob and a large c
Mar 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. It was not morbidly graphic even though it touched on some difficult scenes. The style of writing was a very easy read, especially before bed as I love to read a few chapters when ending the day. Loved that the language was intelligent and clean. The end was sad, but understandable. I can't pinpoint the exact reason this book had so much appeal for me. There was honesty, decency and caring involved in some characters as well as callous and predatory behaviour in others. ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part of the reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 3 is that it is absolutely full of local places, some of which I pass every day, some of which are no longer around.

Having said that, I really enjoy Mack's writing, her characters are likeable without being saccharine, and the plot had a good mixture of foreshadowing and surprises. I really enjoyed the fact that not all the loose ends were tied up, leaving an obvious reason for the protagonist to be involved in sequels without inventing anot
Kevin Cannon
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast Paced Action Suspense Murder Mystery

Really liked this one. Read it over two evenings and found it difficult to put down.

The fast pace kept it interesting and with a likeable lead character it was a joy to read.

My only quibble is the ludicrous names of some of the other characters which broke the ‘suspension of disbelief’ at times, at least for a Brit - maybe they are common names in the US

This is a bang on 4 stars - not a 3.5 rounded up and those stars are fully earned
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Identity crisis is very well written and Sam McRae is an interesting character that grabs you and pulls you along with her trying to prevent her client from being railroaded for a murder she didn't commit...Definitely a book worth picking up and losing yourself in. Will be looking to read more from Debbie Mack in the very near future! ...more
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really did enjoy this book. Only problem was all the boxes going back and forth that wasted a lot of time and words. Because it was Book 1 in the series, I wondered how her relationship with Detective Derry came about. Did I miss something? All in all a good read and I will definitely read the next in the series. I received an ARC in return for a fair and honest reviewed. It was well worth it.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It has great characters. I loved the determination of the main character. The plot was wonderful too. It kept me very attentive and interested with no down time. I love how the author describes the story. I will be following the author and looking forward to reading more of her books. I am glad I found this book.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written book about stolen identity, murder, and the long painful road in finding the truth. Lawyer Sam McRae finds herself in a literal battle to find the truth of who murdered her clients boyfriend. She is beaten, chased, shot at, and more as she defends herself and her client against the police, the feds and the real crooks.
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Debbi Mack is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sam McRae Mystery Series. She's also published a young adult novel called INVISIBLE ME and a thriller entitled THE PLANCK FACTOR.

She's the author of DAMAGED GOODS, the first book in a series about a female Marine veteran sleuth named Erica Jensen, which was nominated for a Shamus Award. She's also written short stories, including one nomin

Other books in the series

Sam McRae Mystery (4 books)
  • Least Wanted
  • Riptide (A Sam McRae Mystery)
  • Deep Six (A Sam McRae Mystery Book 4)

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