A Harvest of Thorns

a-harvest-of-thornsAuthor: Corban Addison

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

This should be a required read for business ethics courses!

Dhaka, Bangladesh is home to several garment factories that make products sold in stores all across the world. Some are better suited for working conditions than others.  One night, an electrical short in a generator causes a fire at the Millennium factory while workers are trying to complete a last minute order.  As the fire roars up the stairs, which is also the upper floors only exit, several workers try to remove the bars from the windows.  Finally, they get them free only to jump five levels above the ground, many to their death.  A photo of a young girl on the ground, bloody and battered, is shown throughout the news media.  On her face is a mask made of pants sold by one of the world’s largest retailers, Presto.

The next morning in Washington, D.C. Cameron Alexander, Presto’s general counsel, is called into the CEO’s office to watch the scene unfold. The factory was on the company’s red list, meaning they should not have any products being manufactured there.  Cameron’s main job is damage control as well as company reputation and he must figure out why this happened and how to spin it in a positive light.  As he digs into the investigation, he is shocked to find out the code of conduct is not only misused, but many times completely ignored.  He starts cracking down on the factory that the order was with and other items begin to come to light, not just in Bangladesh, but in Malaysia and Jordan as well.  Can the poison be stopped, or will it just keep spreading?

A year later, Joshua Griswold meets a confidential informant from Presto urging him to investigate the matter. Josh has won two Pulitzers, but was disgraced after one of the articles was used to uncover an unfortunate scandal.  Now with his marriage in shambles, he hopes he can rebuild his career with the Presto case and maybe even his family.

This book was an incredible read. From the start of the book, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down until I figured out what was going on.  Then once I did, I was along for the ride to see how everything played out.  As a consumer, this book can really open your eyes if you let it.  Most of us have heard about sweatshops and working conditions, but living in a first world country, you don’t really want to go there, either in person or your mind.  So reading this book can definitely give you an education.  It really makes you think about where the products you purchase come from.  It may have a sticker that says Made in Taiwan, but what do the people who make it go through?  How much do they get paid?  And then the whole set up with labor trafficking and supervisor rape.  It’s sickening to even imagine, but it does happen.

I think this would be a powerful book for business majors to read. Just to get them in a mindset about decisions they will be making and how they can affect other people’s lives.  If we are going to change the system, it will have to be from the top down and everyone will have to work to make a difference.  Thank you Corban Addison for bringing this issue to light and giving these workers a voice to be heard.

Aside from some of the content that will undoubtedly make some people uncomfortable, there is also some harsh language throughout. I would recommend this book to college age and above.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Heavens May Fall

the-heavens-may-fallAuthor: Allen Eskens

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A true thriller that examines both the detective procedural and the legal defense. Fiat justitia ruat cælum!

Detective Max Rupert is going through a trying time after the death of his wife. Now with a new homicide case involving a young woman and a defense attorney who once committed fraud on the court with a false discipline paper on Max, he finds himself up against one of his good friends Boady Sanders, who has taken the case on as the defense counsel.  Max has the suspect pegged on this as his alibi is shot, a neighbor swears she saw him at the scene at the time of the murder, and he has a motive.  But Boady is equally convinced that his client couldn’t have committed the murder.  After all, he left his law practice to him after he could no longer stomach the trials when an innocent man was killed in prison.  Told from differing points of view, it is a race to find out the truth.

This book is an exceptionally good legal thriller. It is fast paced and doesn’t draw on anything from the past books that have three of the common characters.  It is easily a stand-alone novel.  Even with the fast pace, there were still plenty of twists that kept the reader guessing.  Throughout most of the book, I found myself sympathizing with both Max and with Ben, unlikely though it would seem.  I really wanted to find out the truth to determine who was right.  I had a questioning moment with the flip flop of the credible witness, but still didn’t see the twist coming with that.  Well done Mr. Eskens. Well done.

The core of the book really centers on the relationship of Max and Boady. An unlikely pair (detective and defense attorney), they have found some common ground in the past and even had a poker club that they started.  However, after Max’s wife died, he become more reclusive, but Boady always visited him and helped to make sure he didn’t do anything crazy.  But now he is faced with having to cross examine Max to completely discredit him in order to prove that his client is not guilty.  Can their relationship withstand this test? Or will their relationship be over?

If you like legal thrillers, then you should definitely grab this one off the shelf. You’ll be glad you did.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The vies and opinions expressed within are my own.


The 7th Canon

the-7th-canonAuthor: Robert Dugoni

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: September 27, 2016

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An exciting new legal thriller from one of the best! Robert Dugoni has written another that you can’t miss!

Father Thomas Martin has grand ambitions for his shelter for boys in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco. He wants to help those in need, but when a teenage street hustler is found murdered in the shelter, the bright hopes he has start to dim, especially when he is accused of the murder.  He stands by his innocence of not only the murder but also more heinous crimes against the young boys he has vowed to help and protect.  Then steps in his attorney, Peter Donley.  Peter has only been practicing law for three years working in his uncle’s small firm and learning from his uncle that it’s not about the money, it’s about the people they are able to help.  Father Thomas becomes one of those people right at the time Peter is getting ready to leave and go to work for a more lucrative firm.  Peter doubts if he has the skills to work this case but is determined to give it his all, especially when he is up against a ruthless DA on a headhunting mission in order to get headlines as well as a deranged homicide cop on his own agenda.  Donley finds he is going to do more than he ever planned when going into law school in order to save his client and get to the truth once and for all.

Robert Dugoni has become one of my favorite authors and I will not miss a single novel that the publishes. He got me hooked with My Sister’s Grave and I have immediately devoured anything since.  I was curious to see how The 7th Canon would be since it wasn’t a continuation of this Tracy Crosswhite series.  The problem that I have is that Dugoni completely outdid himself with My Sister’s Grave and it is hard for anything to hold up to that standard. It has become one of my favorite books, I have probably read it at least five times.

Even so, while The 7th Canon isn’t on the same level as his Crosswhite series, it is still an excellent read.  I thought Dugoni did an excellent job with the combination of legal parts and thriller parts.  It can be hard to get a good ratio when combining those but Dugoni is a master.  His writing has gotten better with each book and this is no exception.  The story flowed effectively and the characters were just right for each situation they found themselves in.  Peter was thrust into some very interesting spots and was able to work through them in a believable and interesting way each time.  Not much was a shocker, I would have liked a few more surprises, especially towards the end, but that is getting very picky to find something to complain about.  This book does need to have at least a PG-13 rating for mature language and scenes.  An excellent read that fans of Dugoni won’t want to miss.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest and thorough review. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.