Author Allison Leotta, a Detroit area native, says the Justice Department no longer has to screen her book transcripts, steamy sex scenes and all. That’s because she quit her job last year as a prosecutor in Washington.
“It’s is a relief,” says the Michigan State graduate who now lives in suburban D.C.
Back in 2010, the Justice Department screened her first book, "Law of Attraction", to check for any national security breaches. So Justice Department folks had to read the whole thing. Everything.
When I spoke to her back then she was on a leave of absence from the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. as sex crimes prosecutor, and I asked her about the Justice review.
"It was embarrassing to me," said Leotta, who grew up in Farmington Hills and Franklin. "There were some steamy sex scenes, not the sort of thing I'd discuss with my boss and ethics officials at the Justice Department. It made rides in the elevator a little uncomfortable for a while."
The publisher, Simon & Schuster, liked it so much, it signed her to a three-book deal, with the main character Anna Curtis set to appear in each one. Curtis is a sex crimes prosecutor -- just like Leotta. The character Curtis has an abusive dad.The good news was the book played to very flattering reviews, with one critic describing her as the "female John Grisham."
Leotta’s father Alan Harnisch, a former federal prosecutor in Detroit, who is now in private practice in Bloomfield Hills, bristled when he first read the manuscript for the first book. He thought some people might think that was him being portrayed in the book.
Leotta, 39, who is married to a lawyer and has two young sons, 2 and 5, assured him it wasn’t.
She says he's gotten over it.
“No one thinks it’s him," she says of the character. Now, she says, he pushes friends to buy the books.
"He’s really a very enthusiastic marketer," she says.
On Tuesday, her second book "Discretion", was released.
The New York Journal of Books wrote this:
The story, set in our nation’s capital, gives the reader an inside look at what goes on behind the closed doors of Congress. One of Washington, D.C.,’s most powerful figures, its lone congressman, is the prime suspect when a woman falls to her death from the balcony of his office. As one would anticipate, the investigation is fraught with misdirection and minefields, as power and politics are set in motion to deter the investigators at every turn....
Discretion is intriguing, ultimately rewarding the reader with a very satisfying conclusion that leaves you wondering if the book is truly fiction—or not."
Leotta begins her book tour this month and will be at Barnes & Noble in West Bloomfield on July 20 at 7 p.m.