Tag Archives: Todd M. Johnson

First Line Friday — The Barrister And The Letter of Marque

20 Aug

Happy Friday — it’s been a soggy and muggy week with Fred’s journey through the usually sunny South. But I am looking forward to some better conditions as I travel to my cabin in the mountains. Hopefully a lot of reading is on the horizon too!

This week I am featuring The Barrister And The Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson. I have loved his contemporary suspense, and this Regency-era mystery is up my alley too. Here’s the first line —

Early evening shadows blanketed the study lit only by desk candles and a sputtering fire in the hearth.

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter—the sole proof his actions were legal—has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

Todd M. Johnson is the author of three legal thrillers: The Deposit Slip (2012), Critical Reaction(2013), and Fatal Trust (2017), and The Barrister and the Letter of Marque (2021), his first foray into historical mystery. He has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong. He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.

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Book Spotlight And Author Interview — The Barrister And The Letter of Marque

11 Aug
  • Title: The Barrister and the Letter of Marque: A Novel 
  • Author: Todd M. Johnson
  • Genre: Historical Mystery, Suspense, Inspirational Fiction 
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 3, 2021)
  • Length: (416) pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0764239137
  • Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0764212369
  • eBook ASIN: B08LG91Y95
  • Audiobook ASIN: B0983VZ6XZ

BOOK DESCRIPTION

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter—-the sole proof his actions were legal—has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLEBOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP 

| GOODREADS

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Johnson debuts with a tense story of powerful interests teaming up to thwart a legal challenge in Georgian-era England…Johnson steeps his story in legal maneuvering, layers of intrigue, midnight chases, and even a hint of romance. While faith elements are subtle, this enthralling novel will appeal to fans of both legal thrillers and historical inspirationals.”— Publishers Weekly

“… a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This richly historical and lively paced story has all the makings of a modern classic.”— Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City 

“At once atmospheric and gripping, Johnson’s latest is a luminous and refreshing new offering in inspirational historical fiction.”— Rachel McMillan, bestselling author of The London Restoration, and The Mozart Code

“A fascinating glimpse into a Regency London readers seldom see.”— Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of Edwardian fiction

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd M. Johnson is the author ofthree legal thrillers: The Deposit Slip (2012), Critical Reaction (2013), and Fatal Trust (2017), and The Barrister and the Letter of Marque (2021), his first foray into historical mystery. He has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong. He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Q & A WITH TODD M. JOHNSON

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Always been a writer? Could I convince you that I can still recall smuggling a pen and paper into my play pen and musing late into naptime on plot points drawn from my long road of experience?

Seriously, storytelling has been a long journey for me. From imaginary childhood friends to stories told to schoolmates, I started pretty early. I first began scribing when a good friend and I got together to write short stories in fifth grade or so, reading our finished works to one another over Cokes and cookies. (I wish I still had those stories, his and mine!) As I grew older, I continued writing fiction whenever I could convince a schoolteacher that a “short story” was an appropriate response to an assignment – like the rewrite I did of a chapter in A Separate Peace by John Knowles from ‘Finny’s’ perspective. In eighth grade, a teacher intern was excited enough about my writing that she volunteered to be my “agent”, setting me up in a classroom after school to write stories under her supervision. I’m sure she went on to be a marvelous teacher. Unfortunately, I hadn’t the patience to stick with it at that young age. 

I got away from writing after college, focusing on the more practical career path of law—only to return to the typewriter (now transformed into a keyboard) about twelve years ago when I realized the dream I’d always nurtured of being a novelist was getting away from me. That led to my fortunate intersection with Bethany House and my four novels (and more in the pipeline).   

Can you tell us a little about what inspired The Barrister and the Letter of Marque?

When I first landed with Bethany House, it was wisely suggested that I “write about what I knew”. As a longtime trial attorney, I dove first into writing contemporary legal mysteries, particularly in the courtroom (The Deposit Slip, Critical Reaction and Fatal Trust).  Each of those first three books were very exciting and rewarding to write. Except …

The fact is that I am nearly as passionate about history as I am about writing. Not only was history an emphasis in college, but historic non-fiction and fiction alike have been my “go to” reads ever since. My poor wife and children have long experienced my obsession as I careen off the road on car trips to catch the latest roadside historical marker (now “hysterical markers” in my family, a term suggested by an equally obsessive friend and history buff). 

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque was inspired by a desire to combine my passion for history with my abiding love of writing. That, along with my great love of Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and their writings about life in nineteenth century England. 

What does Marque mean? What other Regency lingo can you explain for us?

“Marque” was originally French for “Mars, God of War”.  The phrase “Letter of Marque” has, for centuries, described the device by which a sovereign granted power to a privateer captain (or merchant captain) to take ships of other nations as though the holder of the letter was part of the sovereign’s navy. In practice, it empowered those privateers to take foreign ships without the risk of being deemed a “pirate” – which would subject them to prosecution and hanging for their actions.  

The authority to grant such power continues to this day: it is, in fact, enshrined in the American Constitution, although an American Letter of Marque must be granted by the government. The Letter of Marque which appears in the opening pages of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque was drafted by me from an actual letter issued by the British Crown in the eighteenth century. 

A smattering of other examples of Regency lingo include:

Gaol:  The nineteenth century English spelling for “jail”.

Mulled wine: A favored drink in nineteenth century England (and much earlier), made by combining warmed red wine with sweeteners (sugar, oranges, maple syrup or honey) and adding cinnamon, cloves and/or anise.

Brag: A betting card game played in the Regency period England in which the players each receive three cards instead of the five cards typical of modern poker.

Hosteler: A person who took care of horses at an inn – not to be confused with an “hosteller”, originally a monk who cared for guests, but now a hotel manager.

 Can you share your thoughts on your hero and his challenges in the story?

The principal hero of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is William Snopes, a barrister in his late thirties practicing in Regency Period London. Barrister Snopes came from money, power and privilege: his father was wealthy and a member of the House of Lords. 

But sadly, his father was also unprincipled, as revealed in the opening pages of the book – so much so that William was driven from home after his mother’s death, turning his back on the money and station he would otherwise have enjoyed. He channeled the resulting anger and revulsion into representing debtors and the lower classes who could not afford representation.

The challenges William faces in The Barrister are personal, professional and spiritual. William is asked to represent the imprisoned captain of a privateer who claims to have operated under a Letter of Marque from Regent Prince George, a letter which has disappeared. The captain and his cousin, Lady Madeleine Jameson, now in dire financial straits, are members of the very class from which barrister Snopes had retreated. Nonetheless, he is drawn to the case by the inequities in power between his potential clients and the forces arrayed against them – and the injustices they are suffering. As he goes deeper into the case, he is forced to examine his own methods in court which, while effective, edge a line of morality, ethics and propriety. How far will he go to save the captain and his cousin? What lines will he be willing to cross? 

I created William Snopes to be his “own man”, but the character is influenced by Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and the modern television barrister “Rumpole of the Bailey”. Like barrister Snopes, both characters were very creative and insightful, but also flawed and (like us all) hobbled in judging their own shortcomings.  

Why did you choose to write a historical mystery?

As I mentioned elsewhere, history is a great passion for me. Drawing from my own

courtroom experience, I thought it would be fascinating to follow a nineteenth century barrister as he not only fights to solve a mystery but struggles to prove a man’s innocence in the roughhewn courtrooms of the Regency Period – burdened by the knowledge that a man’s life, and the estate of a woman he admires, is at stake.   

What type of research did you pursue of Regency London and detectives during this era?

l read many books and more articles to prepare The Barrister, some of which I’ve

identified in a video I posted a few weeks ago.  There was much about the Regency Period (1811-1820) I wanted to master: social mores, cultural norms and expectations, the court and prison systems, the selection and training of barristers, clothing of the period, eating and entertaining, the Far East tea trade, the economy of post-Napoleonic War England, and more. I also needed to understand the geography of London two hundred years ago. To that end, I bought several map books about the roads, buildings and neighborhoods of Regency London. Finally, I researched some of the great personalities of the period who appear in the book, including Beau Brummell, Princess Charlotte, Regent Prince George, Admiral Nelson and many others. I even used contemporaneous documents and doctoral dissertations to calculate the likely cost of a merchant brig at the time, as well as the likely tonnage of tea that could be stored in its hold.     

One of my favorite resources was an autobiography of an early Victorian period barrister (a decade and a half after the Regency period). That barrister’s description of his early years living and practicing in London was absolute gold.  

As for detectives of the period, there were none with one notable exception: the Bow Street Runners. This was a group of crime fighters organized in the mid-eighteenth century to capture thieves and other criminals for a reward from the government and the victim. Operating until the 1830s, it was very successful – and featured in The Barrister.  

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing it.

My hope is that readers will be entertained and find William Snopes and his compatriots of the period to be complex, witty, interesting – and worthy of following in future adventures in Regency England. I also hope they will recognize the inspirational underpinning of the story and characters, as they grapple with and strive to overcome the discouragement of corruption and the imperfection of any system of justice.  

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I do. I am just finishing edits of an historic novel about Ernest Hemingway in

Cuba in the early 1960s, as he and a young girl he’s befriended are pursued by Cuban intelligence due to knowledge they’ve acquired of secret Russian missiles aimed at America. 

I have also commenced a sequel to The Barrister and the Letter of Marque featuring William Snopes and Lady Madeleine Jameson, with a working title The Barrister and the Mad Duchess.  

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Join the virtual book tour of THE BARRISTER AND THE LETTER OF MARQUE, Todd M. Johnson’s highly acclaimed historical mystery, August 2-15, 2021. Over twenty-five popular on-line influencers specializing in historical mystery, suspense, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with an interview, spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set in London, England. 

TOUR SCHEDULE

Aug 02 The Readathon(Review)

Aug 02 From Pemberley to Milton(Excerpt)

Aug 02 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog(Review) 

Aug 03 Life of Literature(Review)

Aug 03 Captivated Reading(Spotlight)

Aug 04 Laura’s Reviews(Review)

Aug 04 The Green Mockingbird(Review) 

Aug 05 My Jane Austen Book Club(Spotlight)

Aug 05 Reading is My Superpower(Review) 

Aug 06 Among the Reads(Excerpt) 

Aug 06 The Blue Stocking (Review) 

Aug 07 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) 

Aug 07 Reading with Emily (Review) 

Aug 08 Storeybook Reviews (Spotlight)

Aug 08 Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)

Aug 09 Heidi Reads (Excerpt)

Aug 09 Bookworm Lisa (Review) 

Aug 10 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Spotlight)

Aug 10 Wishful Endings (Review) 

Aug 10 My Bookish Bliss (Review) 

Aug 11 By the Book (Interview)

Aug 11 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

Aug 12 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Review)

Aug 12 A Darn Good Read (Review) 

Aug 13 Fire & Ice (Review) 

Aug 14 The Lit Bitch (Spotlight)

Aug 14 The Book Diva Reads(Spotlight)

Aug 15 Vesper’s Place (Review) 

Top 10 Tuesday — Anticipated Books of July – December 2021

29 Jun

Can you believe that half the year is already gone?! 2021 is going so much better than last year — we’ve had a lovely wedding, fun times with family and friends, and no health issues to concern us. Add on top of that the great books published this year, and 2021 is looking to be a banner year. 😉 I am behind on reading so I am not sure I will get to all the books on my list this year, but I am sure going to try!

For more anticipated books, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Anticipated Books of July — December 2021

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner (July)

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

The Chase by Lisa Harris (July)

US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing–it’s time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that’s gone wrong–and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it’s never been just about the money. It’s about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else–someone close to them–gets hurt . . . or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn’t an option.

Woman in Shadow by Carrie Stuart Parks (July)

A woman off the grid.

Darby Graham thinks she’s on a much-needed vacation in remote Idaho to relax. But before she even arrives at the ranch, an earthquake strikes. Then a barn on the edge of town is engulfed in flames and strange problems at the ranch begin to escalate, and Darby finds herself immersed in a chilling mystery.

A town on fire.

More fires erupt around town, and a serial arsonist sends taunting letters to the press after each. As a forensic linguist, this is Darby’s area of expertise . . . but the scars her work has caused her are also the reason she’s trying to escape her life.

A growing darkness.

As the shadows continue moving in, pieces of the town around her come into sharper focus. To make it out alive, Darby must decide if she can trust the one man who sees her clearly.

The Barrister And The Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson (August)

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter–the sole proof his actions were legal–has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

Under The Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse (August)

Restless with the familiarity of her Alabama home, Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country. Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their culture, most of the people in tiny Bernadette, Louisiana, come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher as a boon to the town. She’s soon teaching just about everyone–and coming up against opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives.

Acclimating to a whole new world, Ellie meets a lonely but intriguing Cajun fisherman named Raphe who introduces her to the legendary white alligator that haunts these waters. Raphe and Ellie have barely found their way to each other when a huge bounty is offered for the elusive gator, bringing about a shocking turn of events that will test their love and their will to right a terrible wrong.

A master of the Southern novel, Valerie Fraser Luesse invites you to enter the sultry swamps of Louisiana in a story that illuminates the struggle for the heart and soul of the bayou.

The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham (September)

Will the magic of Christmas bring these two newlyweds closer together, or will the ghosts of the past lead them into a destructive discovery from which not even a Dickens’s Christmas can save them?

Mistletoe is beautiful and dangerous, much like the woman from Lord Frederick’s Percy’s past, so when he turns over a new leaf and arranges to marry for his estate, instead of his heart, he never expects the wrong bride to be the right choice. Gracelynn Ferguson never expected to take her elder sister’s place as a Christmas bride, but when she’s thrust into the choice, she will trust in her faithful novels and overactive imagination to help her not only win Frederick’s heart but also to solve the murder mystery of Havensbrook Hall before the ghosts from Frederick’s past ruin her fairytale future. 

Once Upon A Wardrobe by Patti Callahan (October)

“Where did Narnia come from?”

The answer will change everything.

Megs Devonshire is brilliant with numbers and equations, on a scholarship at Oxford, and dreams of solving the greatest mysteries of physics.

She prefers the dependability of facts—except for one: the younger brother she loves with all her heart doesn’t have long to live. When George becomes captivated by a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there’s no way she can refuse.

Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, imploring them for answers. What she receives instead are more stories . . . stories of Jack Lewis’s life, which she takes home to George.

Why won’t Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother—the story behind Narnia—turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.

Shiloh by Lori Benton (October)

December 1795
A year has passed since Ian Cameron reluctantly sent his uncle’s former slave Seona and their son, Gabriel, north to his kin in Boston. Determined to fully release them, Ian strives to make a life at Mountain Laurel, his inherited plantation, along with Judith, the wife he’s vowed to love and cherish. But when tragedy leaves him alone with his daughter, Mandy, and his three remaining slaves, he decides to return north. An act of kindness on the journey provides Ian the chance to obtain land near the frontier settlement of Shiloh, New York. Perhaps even the hope for a new life with those he still holds dear.

In Boston, Seona has taken her first tentative steps as a free woman, while trying to banish Ian from her heart. The Cameron family thinks she and Gabriel should remain under their protection. Seona’s mother, Lily, thinks it’s time they strike out on their own. Then Ian arrives, offering a second chance Seona hadn’t dared imagine. But the wide-open frontier of Shiloh feels as boundless and terrifying as her newfound freedom—a place of new friends and new enemies, where deep bonds are renewed but old hurts stand ready to rear their heads. It will take every ounce of faith and courage Ian and Seona can muster to fight for their family and their future . . . together.

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy (November)

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape. 

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her. 

Lights Out by Natalie Walters (November)

CIA analyst Brynn Taylor developed a new program to combat terrorism, and she invited members of foreign intelligence agencies to America to foster cooperation between countries. Now one of them, Egyptian spy Remon Riad, is missing.

Jack Hudson has been working for the Strategic Neutralization and Protection Agency (SNAP) for almost nine years and takes the lead in hunting down the missing spy. But he isn’t at all pleased to find out Brynn is involved. It’s hard to trust a woman who’s already betrayed you.

Every lead they follow draws them dangerously deeper into an international plot. Kidnapping, murder, explosions, poisoning–the terrorists will do anything to accomplish their goal of causing a digital blackout that will blind a strategic US military communications center and throw the world into chaos.

Can Brynn surrender control to a man who doesn’t trust her? And can Jack ever get over what she did to him? The fate of the world–and their hearts–hangs in the balance.

Reading Road Trip — Washington State

24 Jul

This week’s road trip is to a state I have not visited, at least not in real life. I have gone there through some wonderful books though. The State of Washington (its official name) was admitted into the Union in 1889 as the 42nd state. It is quite diverse with mountains, coastal areas, and in the eastern region, some arid deserts. I am really looking forward to seeing it in person. If you live there or have visited, let me know the best thing about Washington. And if you, like me, can only travel there in a book, take a look at my list. There is something for just about everyone!

 

Road Trip Reading — The State of Washington

 

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

It’s 1927, and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow. 

But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources. 

When Margie’s former fiancé sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park’s pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?

Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington by Tricia Goyer and Oceianna Fliess

The Second World War has stolen Rosalie’s fiance from her. But rather than wallow, Rosalie throws herself into her work at the Boeing plant in Victory Heights, shooting rivets into the B-17 bombers that will destroy the enemy. A local reporter dubs her Seattle’s Own Rosie the Riveter, and her story lends inspiration to women across the country. While Rosalie’s strong arms can bear the weight of this new responsibility, her heart cannot handle the intense feelings that begin to surface for Kenny, the handsome reporter. Fear of a second heartbreak is a powerful opponent – but will it claim victory over love?

True to You (A Bradford Sisters Romance, book 1) by Becky Wade

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson

After turning out plutonium for the Cold War, the shuttered Hanford Nuclear Facility’s poisoned buildings may be a bigger risk than ever. The men who guard the facility from sabotage or monitor its buildings are told the dangers are under control. But then the worst happens–a thunderous explosion in the dead of night.

Kieran Mullaney survived the blast, but when threats and silence meet his attempts to discover what really happened, he reconnects with an old friend–inexperienced lawyer Emily Hart. Convinced Hanford is hiding something, they also realize their case is sunk without more help.

Emily’s estranged father, Ryan, has the courtroom experience they need, but he’s grown jaded and weary of the profession. Still, it’s a chance to rebuild ties to Emily, and the deeper he digs, the stranger — and more dangerous — the case gets.

The View from Rainshadow Bay (A Lavender Tides Novel, book 1) by Colleen Coble

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.

 

Where will a book take you next?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Books with Lawyers

4 Jun

I love all kinds of suspense, but legal suspense is my favorite sub-genre. FBI agents, policemen, and PIs are great, but I love a book that combines the thrill of dangerous situations and mysterious doings with courtroom scenes. This week’s Top 10 Tuesday post is all about the books I love that have a lawyer as the main character. Some of the books are standalone, others are part of a series, all are great. And even better, all of the authors are lawyers themselves! So if you need your Perry Mason-fix, check one of these out! 😉

For more of bloggers genre favorites, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books with Lawyers by Lawyers!

Rachel Dylan

The Atlanta Justice Series 

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything — even murder — to keep the case from going to trial.

 

Todd M. Johnson

The Deposit Slip 

When Jared Neaton grew tired of the shady ethics of his big law firm and left to go out on his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly. One big case collapsing on him has pushed him to the brink and it’s all he can do to scrape by. He can’t risk another bad loss.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father’s death, she found a slim piece of paper — a deposit slip–with an unbelievable amount on it. Ten million dollars. Only the bank claims it has no record of the deposit and stonewalls her attempts to find out more. This lawsuit, her last chance, has brought only intimidation and threats. Now she needs to convince Jared to take a risk, to help her because the money is real. And both need to watch their backs as digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats.

Fatal Trust 

Ian Wells is a young criminal defense attorney struggling to build a Minneapolis law practice he inherited from his father while caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. Nearly at the breaking point, everything changes for Ian when a new client offers a simple case: determine whether three men qualify for over nine million dollars of trust funds. To qualify, none can have been involved in criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian’s fee for a week’s work: the unbelievable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

Ian warily accepts the job–but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust with a decades-old criminal enterprise and the greatest unsolved art theft in Minnesota history. As stolen money from the art theft surfaces, Ian finds himself the target of a criminal investigation by Brook Daniels, a prosecutor who is also his closest law school friend. He realizes too late that this simple investigation has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

 

Cara Putman

Hidden Justice Series

Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain that follows when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s assigned a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there.

Further complicating matters is Andrew Wesley, her roommate’s distractingly attractive cousin. But Andrew’s father is a congressman, and Hayden’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?

The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to kill the case—or her. Logic and self-preservation indicate she should close the case. But how can she, when justice is still just beyond her reach?

 

Randy Singer

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a points-shaving scheme. During his time in prison, he found forgiveness and faith and earned his law degree. Now he longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth. Be careful what you ask for. 

Harry McNaughton is one of the founding partners of McNaughton & Clay—and the only lawyer willing to take a chance employing an ex-con-turned-lawyer. Though Landon initially questions Harry’s ethics and methods, it’s clear the crusty old lawyer has one of the most brilliant legal minds Landon has ever encountered. The two dive into preparing a defense for one of the highest-profile murder trials Virginia Beach has seen in decades when Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging. Then two more lawyers are killed when the firm’s private jet crashes. Authorities suspect someone has a vendetta against McNaughton & Clay, leaving Landon and the remaining partner as the final targets. 

As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can’t help but wonder, is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughton & Clay’s past, or to the murder trial he’s neck-deep in now? And will he survive long enough to find out?

Rule of Law

What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

Robert Whitlow

Chosen People

During a terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a courageous mother sacrifices her life to save her four-year-old daughter, leaving behind a grieving husband and a motherless child.

Hana Abboud, a Christian Arab Israeli lawyer trained at Hebrew University, typically uses her language skills to represent international clients for an Atlanta law firm. When her boss is contacted by Jakob Brodsky, a young Jewish lawyer pursuing a lawsuit on behalf of the woman’s family under the US Anti-Terrorism laws, he calls on Hana’s expertise to take point on the case. After careful prayer, she joins forces with Jakob, and they quickly realize the need to bring in a third member for their team, an Arab investigator named Daud Hasan, based in Israel.

To unravel the case, this team of investigators travels from the streets of Atlanta to the alleys of Jerusalem, a world where hidden motives thrive, the risk of death is real, and the search for truth has many faces. What they uncover will forever change their understanding of justice, heritage, and what it means to be chosen for a greater purpose.

Tides of Truth Series

The Tides of Truth novels follow one lawyer’s passionate pursuit of truth in matters of life and the law.

In the murky waters of Savannah’s shoreline, a young law student is under fire as she tries her first case at a prominent and established law firm. A complex mix of betrayal and deception quickly weaves its way through the case and her life, as she uncovers dark and confusing secrets about the man she’s defending–and the senior partners of the firm.

How deep will the conspiracy run? Will she have to abandon her true self to fulfill a higher calling? And how far will she have to go to discover the truth behind a tragic cold case?

 

 

A Time To Stand

In a small Georgia town where racial tensions run high and lives are at stake, can one lawyer stand up for justice against the tide of prejudice on every side?

Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable—defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice and to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.

 

What are your favorite books in your favorite genre?

 

If you liked Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman . . .

31 Jan

My book club’s first discussion of 2018 is  a wrap. We loved Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman, a romantic suspense novel with a good dose of legal drama thrown in. Cara gets it right — she is a lawyer after all! Did you read and love it? If so, check out these books also written by lawyers. You may find another you will like as well.

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer 

Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a points-shaving scheme. During his time in prison, he found forgiveness and faith and earned his law degree. Now he longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth. Be careful what you ask for.

Harry McNaughton is one of the founding partners of McNaughton & Clay—and the only lawyer willing to take a chance employing an ex-con-turned-lawyer. Though Landon initially questions Harry’s ethics and methods, it’s clear the crusty old lawyer has one of the most brilliant legal minds Landon has ever encountered. The two dive into preparing a defense for one of the highest-profile murder trials Virginia Beach has seen in decades when Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging. Then two more lawyers are killed when the firm’s private jet crashes. Authorities suspect someone has a vendetta against McNaughton & Clay, leaving Landon and the remaining partner as the final targets.

As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can’t help but wonder, is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughton & Clay’s past, or to the murder trial he’s neck-deep in now? And will he survive long enough to find out?

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan 

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything — even murder — to keep the case from going to trial.

Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow

In the murky waters of Savannah’s shoreline, a young law student is under fire as she tries her first case at a prominent and established law firm. A complex mix of betrayal and deception quickly weaves its way through the case and her life, as she uncovers dark and confusing secrets about the man she’s defending–and the senior partners of the firm.

How deep will the conspiracy run? Will she have to abandon her true self to fulfill a higher calling? And how far will she have to go to discover the truth behind a tragic cold case?

 

Fatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson 

Ian Wells is a young criminal defense attorney struggling to build a Minneapolis law practice he inherited from his father while caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. Nearly at the breaking point, everything changes for Ian when a new client offers a simple case: determine whether three men qualify for over nine million dollars of trust funds. To qualify, none can have been involved in criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian’s fee for a week’s work: the unbelievable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

Ian warily accepts the job — but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust with a decades-old criminal enterprise and the greatest unsolved art theft in Minnesota history. As stolen money from the art theft surfaces, Ian finds himself the target of a criminal investigation by Brook Daniels, a prosecutor who is also his closest law school friend. He realizes too late that this simple investigation has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

 

 

Book Review: Fatal Trust

13 Oct

Ian Wells is a young criminal defense attorney struggling to build a Minneapolis law practice he inherited from his father while caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. Nearly at the breaking point, everything changes for Ian when a new client offers a simple case: determine whether three men qualify for over nine million dollars of trust funds. To qualify, none can have been involved in criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian’s fee for a week’s work: the unbelievable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

Ian warily accepts the job–but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust with a decades-old criminal enterprise and the greatest unsolved art theft in Minnesota history. As stolen money from the art theft surfaces, Ian finds himself the target of a criminal investigation by Brook Daniels, a prosecutor who is also his closest law school friend. He realizes too late that this simple investigation has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

Todd M. Johnson has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years. Todd’s passion for writing blends well with his legal career and his novels are drawn closely from his personal experiences as a trial lawyer.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, Todd taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law and has served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Johnson’s first novel, debuted in 2012. His second novel, Critical Reaction, was released in October 2013.

My Impressions:

If you are a fan of legal suspense, a la Grisham, Singer or Whitlow, then you definitely need to check out Todd M. Johnson. I have read all of his novels to date and am impressed by the twisting plots, well-developed characters, and the nuances of the legal wranglings. (Read my reviews of The Deposit Slip and Critical Reaction.) In Fatal Trust, a young lawyer must choose between doing the right thing or protecting his family — a family he quickly discovers has lots of secrets. I found this novel to be fast-paced and well-written, and is definitely a recommended read.

Set amidst courtrooms, seedy bars, and family neighborhoods of Minneapolis, Fatal Trust has a great sense of place. Johnson makes his home there and it shows. I’ve never been to the Twin Cities, but this book made me feel right at home. Of course, many of the attractions described in the book — alleys and barrooms — I’ll settle for visiting in the pages of the book! 😉 Main character Ian Wells is a character I quickly came to love. A man who has sacrificed his career dreams for his family, Ian is just about at the end of his rope at the beginning of the story. A windfall fee for a week’s worth of work on a trust is too good to resist. But as Ian soon discovers, something too good to be true usually is. Ian’s struggle is so very real. It is easy to be tempted to turn a blind eye or justify our actions when money is involved. Secondary characters are complex as well, especially Ian’s friend, US Attorney Brook Daniels, and Ian’s mother, Martha, and give this plot-driven legal suspense novel depth. The reader is let in on more of what is actually going on before Ian, but there are plenty of surprises in store for both. The ending is great and certainly not what I was expecting.

There is more action outside of the courtroom than in, but there’s plenty of legal maneuvering to satisfy fans of this genre. All in all Fatal Trust is a riveting read. I am hoping for many more from Johnson.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday: Suspenseful Waiting

30 May

When I began making a list for the books I can’t wait to meet this year, I noticed one thing. They were all suspense novels! Whether the books have contemporary or historical settings, take place in the courtroom or on the mean streets, or involve a bit of romance, I love this genre! So this week’s Top 10 Tuesday features the 9 Suspense Novels I Cannot Wait to Read.  For what other bloggers are waiting on, visit The Broke And The Bookish.

 

Top 9 Suspense Novels I Cannot Wait to Read

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon (available October 2017)

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death–and puts Trish under police scrutiny–her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn’t certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge–and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn’t just dangerous . . . it’s deadly.

 

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan (available September 2017)

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything–even murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

 

Fatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson (available August 2017)

Ian Wells is a young criminal defense attorney struggling to build a Minneapolis law practice he inherited from his father while caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. Nearly at the breaking point, everything changes for Ian when a new client offers a simple case: determine whether three men qualify for over nine million dollars of trust funds. To qualify, none can have been involved in criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian’s fee for a week’s work: the unbelievable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

Ian warily accepts the job–but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust with a decades-old criminal enterprise and the greatest unsolved art theft in Minnesota history. As stolen money from the art theft surfaces, Ian finds himself the target of a criminal investigation by Brook Daniels, a prosecutor who is also his closest law school friend. He realizes too late that this simple investigation has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

 

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright (available December 2017)

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own — are lost?

 

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley (available September 2017)

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she’s ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she’s out of her league–and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.

 

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks (available August 2017)

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming—and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

 

Rule of Law by Randy Singer (available September 2017)

What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

 

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow (available September 2017)

Adisa Johnson, a young African American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable — defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice, to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.

 

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris (available November 2017)

During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies–number six–Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn’t have what it takes to be an agent. What he’ll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him — or Jordan.

 

What books are you waiting on?

Top 10 Tuesday — Back To School!

30 Aug

Thanks to the folks at The Broke And The Bookish for weekly hosting Top 10 Tuesday. This week is the Back To School Top 10. To find out what other bloggers are posting, click HERE.

toptentuesday

School has been back in session since the last week in July here in middle Georgia. So, so glad that I don’t have any more kids in school! Oh wait, I do! My youngest son started his first year of Law School two weeks ago. My other two children have both completed Master’s degrees and on their way to outstanding careers. Yeah, I’m a bit proud!

When I read this week’s theme, I just couldn’t get the classic song Don’t Know Much out of my head. Here’s my list in tribute to that Sam Cooke classic.

The Don’t Know Much, Back To School Top 14

Don’t know much about  . . .

History. I really liked European history in school. American history, not so much. So here are a few books that feature those things I didn’t pay attention to in class.

Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser (pre and post-Revolutionary War)

Burning Sky by Lori Benton (post-Revolutionary War)

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Civil War)

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin (Civil War, Women’s Suffrage, Prohibition)

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Biology. When I think of biology, I think of the birds and bees. When I think of the birds and bees, I think great romances. Here are some that fit that title.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

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Science Books. Science? Yick! I glazed over in my HS Chemistry class and I didn’t even attempt Physics. Here are four novels that involve science but didn’t make me glaze over!

Bad Ground by Dale Cramer (mining)

Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson (nuclear energy)

Maximal Reserve by Sam Batterman (petroleum exploration)

Undetected by Dee Henderson (sonar)

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The French I Took. This may be because I took Spanish. LOL! The only French word I can say with confidence is oui! These books set in France deserve a definite oui, oui!

My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (17th century)

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot (WWII)

Two Crosses by Elizabeth Musser (Algerian Civil War)

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What are some of your favorite school books?

Book Review: Critical Reaction

5 Jan

210154When a Warning Siren Screams in the Desert Night,
the Worst Has Happened

After turning out plutonium for the Cold War, the shuttered Hanford Nuclear Facility’s poisoned buildings may be a bigger risk than ever. The men who guard the facility from sabotage or monitor its buildings are told the dangers are under control. But then the worst happens–a thunderous explosion in the dead of night.

Kieran Mullaney survived the blast, but when threats and silence meet his attempts to discover what really happened, he reconnects with an old friend–inexperienced lawyer Emily Hart. Convinced Hanford is hiding something, they also realize their case is sunk without more help.

Emily’s estranged father, Ryan, has the courtroom experience they need, but he’s grown jaded and weary of the profession. Still, it’s a chance to rebuild ties to Emily, and the deeper he digs, the stranger–and more dangerous–the case gets.

 

14de351636d085353b7c693b2bb4e121_f45Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd’s career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson’s first novel, debuted in 2012.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.

 

My Impressions:

Critical Reaction by Todd Johnson had been languishing on my shelf for far too long. I loved his debut novel, The Deposit Slip (read review HERE) and was anxious to read book 2. But life gets busy and other book review deadlines seem to push some books to the bottom of the TBR pile. But a long road trip during the New Year’s holiday allowed me to finally pick this title up. I had to put it down with just 7 pages to read when my turn at driving came around (just as the action had hit its peak!). By the time I was back in the passenger seat, it was dark. So the flashlight app on my phone allowed me to get to the end. Yeah! Critical Reaction is a great novel for fans of legal suspense.

There’s been an accident at the defunct Hanford Nuclear site and a huge cover-up is under way. Kieran survived the accident and wants some answers. But the lawsuit he has filed looks like a long shot in the company town of Sherman. When he retains new counsel, the stakes go higher and the company increases its pressure and intimidation. How far will the company go to make sure its plans are successful and the people investigating will shut up or just disappear?

Critical Reaction has all the elements of a legal suspense novel — a David versus Goliath story, cover-ups and conspiracies and a legal team with issues of their own. While the plot kept me turning the pages, the characters were what made me love this book. Emily is an idealistic public defender who takes on Kieran’s case because of it rightness. Her father, Ryan, reluctantly signs on to the case after years of grief and malaise following his wife’s death. Kieran and Poppy are honorable men just trying to find out the truth. The villains are complex as well. Adam Worth has many motivations and enough sociopathic tendencies to make him very interesting. There are lots of shadow characters on both sides of the action to cause plenty of reader speculation.

So if you are looking for a suspense a la Whitlow, Singer or Grisham, then be sure to check out Critical Reaction.

Recommended.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.