By Hubert Crouch
1. A radical fundamentalist church protests at a veteran’s funeral. The parents hire attorney Jace Forman to sue. Forman hires a private investigator, Jackie McLaughlin to gather evidence.
2. McLaughlin also is involved in helping a reporter who is being terrorized because she is about to release a story on a shady lawyer, Cal Connors, and how he manipulated several medical lawsuits.
3. Connors, who runs a firm with his daughter, is involved with kickbacks to an insurance guy to settle some other cases.
Did you make the tenuous connections? I could have added a fourth with dealing with the problems of accepting the kickbacks. I thought this book was going to be mainly focused on the radical church case with the reporter as a sidekick. Unfortunately, until the end, the case is rotated around the burners along with two or three other plots with subplots sprinkled throughout.
Ezekial Shaw: assumed name, pastor, long stringy hair, brown hair, beard
Jace Forman: attorney, attended U. of Texas, 40s, has a son, widower
Leah Rosen: reporter: 26, attended U. of Texas
Darrin McKenzie: paralegal for Jace, has a sister, 36, divorced
Eugene Hanson: short, balding, 50s, daughter dead, married
Janice Hanson; Eugene’s wife, gray hair, dark eyes
Jackie McLaughlin: P.I., former cop, wavy brown hair, brown eyes
Cal Connors: attorney
Christine Connors: attorney, Cal’s daughter
And more characters. A typical cast of sleazy lawyers, a preacher, a lawyer, reporter. Nothing unexpected. Good guys and bad guys.
Considering the number of characters, I kept each one separate. Even Darrin and her sister. Dialogue never strayed, kept to the important stuff, moved the story along. Lots of dialogue, as expected, in the court room scenes.
Book is divided into Parts. However, no page had Part 1 so I didn’t know it was broken into parts until Part 2 showed up.
As mentioned above, I was a bit disappointed the church case wasn’t the main focus. I was looking for a good gritty court room battle with lawyers arguing and investigators turning up last minute evidence and witnesses galore. This read more like a soap opera and it was difficult, at times, to keep the characters and stories straight.
One major problem with this story is time. It was very difficult keeping track of time passing because very few references are made.
I discovered this problem during the beginning chapters. Briefly summarizing:
Chap. 1: the reporter goes home to find her home has been invaded and she has been left a ‘gift’. I read this as her going home at the end of the day. Okay. Maybe, maybe not, it doesn’t tell the time.
Chap 2: the Hansons show up to Forman’s office to discuss the case. I can’t see this happening at night so it must be during the day.
Chap 3: the Connors discuss their sticky matter with the insurance company cases. Apparently this is at lunch time because that’s the way the scene reads. It could be supper, though
Chap 4: back to the reporter. Now it’s 1 a.m.
Chap 5: Jace meets with Jackie. Here’s where I became a bit confused. Is it the next day? Same day? He’s in a different town, so…
I’m not sure which chapter has Christine visiting New York but, again, it doesn’t say when. How many days have passed. The next time we visit the reporter, weeks have passed. Really? With nothing going on in the court case? By the time court is in session for the trial, six months have passed. Fine, but it would have made the story so much better knowing the time frame. Again, a bit soap opera-ish in the way the author handles time.
Clean writing, minimal profanity-maybe two or three instances. Good story(ies) but maybe focus on one or two.