The Barrister and the Letter of Marque

Author: Todd M. Johnson

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An exciting, historical legal thriller!

Disgusted by the actions of his wealthy father, young William Snopes leaves his place of wealth and privilege to become a barrister.  Many years later, he has made it his practice to represent those that cannot usually afford adequate counsel to argue their case.  He’s had offers from wealthier clients, but always turns them down.  However, the day that he meets Lady Madeleine Jameson, his perspective changes just a bit.

As the Jameson estate begins to crumble, along with the health of her father, Madeline Jameson acts as the estate executor and finances a ship captained by her cousin Harold Tuttle, which has been granted the ability to operate under a Letter of Marque assigned by the Prince Regent to capture illegal tea cargo transported by French vessels.  After a successful voyage, when the ship returns to the harbor, it is met with a band of soldiers and constables to arrest Captain Tuttle for piracy.  When the Captain goes to show the Letter of Marque to the soldiers, it has vanished from his cabinet.

Barrister Snopes agrees to take the case after his own investigation and knows that going up against the Crown won’t be easy.  As he tries to collect evidence for the hearing, it seems that someone is one step ahead of him and the mystery continues to deepen with every turn!

I love a good mystery and when the synopsis of this book referenced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I was instantly intrigued.  However, this is really nothing like a Sherlock Holmes book other than it’s setting.  With Holmes, readers are unraveling the mystery at the same pace with the same about of information present to try and solve the case.  This book, on the other hand, is much more of a legal thriller where the reader is provided with almost all the information ahead of the characters so that they know what has happened and how it all ties together while reading ahead to determine if Snopes and his crew will be able to piece it together before it’s all too late.

It’s takes quite a while to build the setting and the story up to a point where it really takes off.  Johnson did a great job of researching the early legal system in London and how it operated.  It was almost like reading a present-day legal thriller even though it was set in the early 1800s.  I feel as though there are quite a bit of loose ends that will need future installments to tie up.  Especially now that I’m vested into the characters and would like to see more of them. 

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

Primordial

Author: David L. Sobel, MD, JD

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: December 9, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What do you get when a lawyer is tied up in a medical thriller? Primordial!

Jonas is a member of the legal team at a hospital in New York City and enjoys his quiet life.  He’s good at his job and enjoys living with his dad, even if his dad does wish he would get involved with someone.  When one of the hospital’s research analyst determines that someone has been killing patients and provides a list to Jonas of the next potential victims, he pays little mind to it.  But then he finds that one of the patients who dies the next night was on the list!  With only the help of two medical residents, Jonas begins to uncover something sinister that dates back to concentration camps in WWII.

This is one of those rare books that you don’t expect to keep on your shelves after you’ve read it, but you are so surprised by how good it was that you think about rereading it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this book and watching the characters relationships get intertwined with each other. It was a little bit cat and mouse mixed with some medical/legal thriller aspects that kept me turning the pages.  And how about that ending?  I wasn’t sure how the flashbacks were going to tie into the present-day story, but WOW!  Can this thing have a sequel?

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

Almost Damned

Author: Christopher Leibig

Publisher: Koehler Books

Release Date: April 1, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A legal thriller of Heavenly proportions!

Samson Young has learned a lot in the last year, both about himself and the world in general.  As his caseload has grown, he has started to realize that the people in his life and those that he has represented are remarkably interconnected.  As events start to unfold before him, he realizes that all the difficult cases he has been involved in are leading up to the biggest case of his life, where we will literally have to lay out good and evil.  But not everyone wants this case to happen and are willing to do whatever it takes to stop it coming to pass!

So, everything in Chris’s previous book written five years ago that was confusing, yet somewhat interesting, has finally come into focus with his new release.  This book was much more interesting and really delves into an area that a lot of people don’t know about.  Readers will be transported to a world in the time of Genesis before the flood of Noah when the Sons of God fell from earth to mate with human woman, thereby creating a mixed race.  A large part of this book calls on the Book of Enoch, which is only used in the Ethiopian bible, but goes into much more detail on the events concerning this.  If you haven’t read (or even heard) of that, don’t worry, Leibig does the legwork for you in this and may cause you to even do research on your own.  The way this is all laid out makes it really interesting and worth a read.

There is a lot of foul language throughout the book as well as some implied sex scenes, though nothing is graphic.  This book is recommended for mature audiences.

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

Trial and Error

Author: Robert Whitlow

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: February 2, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Suspenseful, intriguing, and makes readers cheer for the protagonist!

Eighteen years ago, Buddy Smith’s girlfriend skipped town with their newborn daughter and he hasn’t found them since.  Now a defense lawyer back in his hometown, he often takes cases where one of the parents has fled with a child. 

Gracie Blaylock is the county clerk and coach of the local girls’ softball team.  She and Buddy have been friends for years, but never had a romantic aspect to their relationship.  When one of the girls on the softball team abruptly stops attending practice, the other teammates know that something is wrong and confirm that she has runaway.  She knows it’s not the same as an abduction case but feels that Buddy would be best to pursue it.

As Buddy and Gracie work together to find out what happened to the missing girl, clues start to show up that could lead Buddy to find his own estranged daughter. 

Robert Whitlow has such a great ability to blend faith, suspense, and legality into his stories.  It’s easy to get lost in the story, even when there is not much of a legal thriller aspect.  With cases of parents abducting their own child on the rise, this book fits right in for current times.  I love the rural small-town Georgia setting to this book.  It made me to want to have porch conversations with some of the main characters.  I also loved all the characters throughout this book.  Everyone contained some sort of flaw that was able to improve through the course of the book.  Gracie is such a role model for me, similar to other characters he has written.  No one took a step backwards and it worked out for the better by the end.  We need more books like this in our library today!  I’ve always loved his writing and will continue to read his books!

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

Lethal Intent

Author: Cara Putman

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A medical/legal thriller that gets darker with every twist and turn!

Caroline Bragg is excited to start her new job as legal counsel for Praecursoria, a research lab working on cutting edge therapy for cancer treatment. Along with the new job, her relationship with Brandon Lancaster has never been better. Just when she thinks things can’t get any better, her world comes crashing around her as the job she thought was so perfect starts to show all is not as it seems and with each new stress at the job her relationship with Brandon becomes more and more strained. Brandon has been running a foster home and one of the kids in his care, Bethany, is very sick and a candidate for the new research. When the treatment doesn’t show the same results for Bethany as others and things don’t add up as they should, Caroline starts to wonder if things in the company are not as good as she and others were led to believe. The more she digs, the more she discovers the danger she and others are now in and wonders how much she might lose to expose the truth.

I have always loved Cara Putman’s writing style. She is a lawyer and her legal thrillers have always been top notch with so much passion, emotion and realistic content the story flies by. Lethal Intent is more of a medical thriller than legal thriller to me; the story revolves more around the sick kids and research than anything legal and I think that slowed it down for me. I didn’t feel any real tension in the story until almost halfway through. At that point though the story did fly by and was much more enjoyable, just not the usual fast paced thriller I am used to from her. The characters each had moments to shine, I enjoyed Caroline’s tenacity and commitment to follow through in finding the truth. Brandon was determined to do anything he could to help those he cared about. This is the kind of story that takes patience and the pay out at the end is good if you stick with it and don’t give up after the slow start. I recommend this to readers that enjoy medical/legal thrillers with a little romance thrown in the mix.

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

Flight Risk

flight riskAuthor: Cara Putman

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With sharp characters and a story within the story, Flight Risk is a perfect blend of excitement, adventure, romance and suspense.

Savannah Daniels has had her share of troubles in the past. Her ex-husband left her after going off to war and when he came back, he had a baby with her sister who struggles with substance abuse. Being there for her niece is one of the most important things in her life right now, along with building her law practice. Finding love is one of the last things on her mind, especially after her ex-husband is in an accident and winds up dead.

Jett Glover is a reporter who has been working all his life to get over finding his father dead of suicide by reporting the truth. When he comes across the story of his career, he can’t pass it up and spends months doing research to make sure he comes to the right conclusion. His story is an expose that features a celebrity baseball player and a group of men involved in sex-trafficking; one of the men happens to be Savannah Daniel’s ex-husband. When Jett releases his story, it leads to a chain reaction of events, an airline crashes, the men connected to the sex-trafficking start to mysteriously die, and Savannah’s new clients are implicated in the crash. Together Jett and Savannah work to figure out what is fact and what is fiction with his story and all they have been told before one or both of them wind up dead.

Cara Putman is fantastic at writing romantic suspense. Her main characters as lawyers are totally relatable and easy to cheer for. I particularly enjoyed Savannah and her relationship with her family, it was messy but so real. Even though she doesn’t want reminders of her failed marriage, she also wants nothing more than to be there for her niece who is a shining jewel to her in the chaos of her life. She realizes her sister isn’t the greatest mother, and no matter how much she has tried to help, Savannah realizes she can’t make her sister change if she doesn’t want to. The only thing she can do is be there for her niece and make sure she feels loved. Jett could have been a difficult character to relate to but Putman writes him in a way that even when it is shown that he made a mistake, he tries so hard to make it right you can’t help but cheer him on in the process. Almost every aspect of the story is well thought out and written perfectly except for a few scenes that had me scratching my head by the end of the book as to why they were necessary. I don’t want to say too much about them and give anything away. If you take those out of the equation there is nothing at all for me to complain about. I would recommend this to fans of legal thrillers with a hint of romance, fans of Putman’s previous work will thoroughly enjoy Flight Risk.

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

Rule of Capture

Rule of CaptureAuthor: Christopher Brown

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Interesting concept of a dystopian America given the current political climate.

America is on the brink of a full civil war.  Climate change has caused drought conditions in the northern part of the countries and forced most of the population south.  A war with China has devasted the country and brought fallout zones off the coast of Texas as well as several other areas.  The current president trying to hold onto power and once the flood zones of coastal Texas became catastrophic, he declared martial law.  Now justice has been suspended.  There are still courts, but they must answer to a higher power rather than being impartial.  Anyone suspected of being a rebel to the cause is now brought before the court for a quick trial often leading them to exile or death.

Donny Kimoe still believes in justice.  He used to work for the US attorney’s office to put away said criminals, but he realized that the system was broken and decided to change sides and defends them.  His newest client Xelina Rocafuerte is a filmmaker for propaganda materials but witnesses the death of an opposition leader.  As the court tries to silence her for good, Donny must exhaust every option that he has to try to have her released.  But this uphill battle has consequences that could lead to Donny’s demise as well.

This book definitely grabbed my attention based on the current political and because it is set in Texas, my home state.  It seems crazy to think that the entire judicial system could be turned in a manner that people are guilty until proven innocent, but then again, maybe it is not so farfetched.  With stronger hurricanes and heavy flooding, it’s not difficult to picture the climate change indicated in the book.  I had a love/hate relationship with Donny.  Loved that he fought for the underdog, hated his methods and habits.  Did remind me a little of Better Call Saul, but just wanted him to be more of an up and up guy.  I liked Xelina immediately.  Her attitude and demeaner fit right in with my perspective of her.  I also enjoyed seeing how the author broke the county apart based on current events.  If you enjoy this type of novel, you will likely love this one as well.

There is a lot of foul language throughout the book as well as some graphic violence that makes is suitable for a mature audience.

Top Legal Thrillers

Merry Christmas everyone!  What better way to celebrate than to release our top five picks for legal thrillers and crime fiction!

Delayed Justice1. Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

Our top pick centers on speaking out about abuse and not letting others control you.  Quite a bit of a limelight subject this year.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chosen People2. Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

A fast paced legal mystery focused on terrorism in Israel and the US brings in our second pick.  Whitlow has a knack for keeping us glued to the paf Dffge.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lone Witness3. Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

Rachel Dylan’s background in law makes her work writing legal thrillers the perfect combination.  What could be more fun than a novel about white collar crimes?

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justice Betrayed4. Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley

With Elvis impersonators, unsolved murders, and an unstable murderer, Justice Betrayed this book is bound to leave readers all shook up!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Formula of Deception5. Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks

Impersonating a sketch artist seems like a good way to keep a low profile until it leads to a trail to crack open a case colder than World War II.

Read the full review here.

Chosen People

Chosen PeopleAuthor: Robert Whitlow

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Terrific international legal thriller!

Hana Abboud has always known that she would leave a chosen life ever since her uncle blessed her when she was a little girl in Israel. Now an international trial lawyer in Atlanta, she is surprised when she is suddenly pulled into a briefing by one of the senior partner’s to consider a case.  Their firm was contacted by another young lawyer named Jakob Brodsky, who has taken on a long shot case concerning a family that took a trip to Jerusalem where the wife of a young couple was killed in a terrorist attack, leaving behind her husband and daughter.  The lawsuit would look for an entity that supported a terrorist to claim financial damages.  Brodsky is someone who loves to help the underdog fight for justice, but his claim maybe impossible when his client says that his daughter has to be kept out of the lawsuit.  Although Hanna doesn’t initially want to take on this case, she fells lead to help with it and becomes the primary counsel.  She hires an investigator in Israel named Daud Hasan to help find out more about the terrorist that attacked their client.  As the team digs into the investigation, things start to happen that appear to target Brodsky.  Is someone trying to kill the lawsuit before it even gets started?  Or is there more at stake than anybody realizes?

Whitlow continues to deliver legal thrillers that are must reads. I picked up a copy of this book for a flight and breezed through it with anticipation.  I even finished it before my travel itinerary was complete.  I loved the way that he compared Hana to the boy Samuel from the Bible and how she was open to hearing from God.  The way she knew He was calling was when she woke up in the night and would meditate to hear His voice.  The Christian faith played a huge role throughout this story and also affected Jakob in his lack of faith until he went to Jerusalem.

I felt an instant connection with both Hana and Sadie. I could picture them together in every scene with perfect clarity even though very little personal descriptions were provide.  The tension throughout the book was evident between the link to the terrorist and the strange occurrences with Jakob.  The romance played out great as well between the characters that it was intended.  I’m not going to say more on that note because I don’t want to give anything away about some possible surprise romances.  Also, if you loved the show NCIS with the character Ziva David, then you will thoroughly enjoy the resemblance that Hana shares to her with the trouble of understanding American idioms.

If you love legal thrillers that are clean and just great reads, grab a copy of this today! There are a few authors that I grab off the shelf without even reading the synopsis first and Whitlow is one of those.

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

 

Delayed Justice

Delayed JusticeAuthor: Cara Putman

Series: Delayed Justice #3

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: October 16, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An absolutely fantastic book with a very timely message about speaking out on abuse even if it takes time and strength to say the right words.

Jaime Nichols has spent her whole life trying to get the strength to move on from the abuse she faced as a child. Now she is a lawyer fighting in the courtroom to give a voice to victims like her. After decades of counseling, she has gained the voice she needs to go against her uncle, the man who molested her when she was just a small child. He is up for promotion to become a one star general and with his power he is determined not to let Jaime ruin him.  While Jaime fights her own case, she is also helping a young girl who was abused and needs help healing. Chandler Bolton brings his therapy dog to help the young girl and is instantly drawn to Jaime. He sees her strength but also her pain and wants to help her heal. As Chandler and Jaime work together to help those hurt and without a voice, they are drawn to each other and find strength they didn’t know they had at just the right moments.

This is a book that can tackle a tough topic, but does it in a way readers will really be able to connect with and feel for the characters. Cara Putman has a way with legal thrillers, she brings out the drama in all scenes, inside the courtroom and out.  I love the fact that the court scenes aren’t boring and slow paced; there is still tension and heart pounding moments. It was obvious there was going to be chemistry between Jaime and Chandler, their connection was apparent from the first moment they saw each other. Both Jaime and Chandler have demons they are fighting but together they are able to work through these difficult times and find a strength they didn’t know existed. Faith is a big element throughout and I loved the way Putman incorporated The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, such a timeless novel that played well with the struggles being faced here.  None of the moments of faith were too forward or in your face to push readers away that might not want to read that. It is enough to make readers think and maybe instill a few seeds to keep the reader thinking and possibly nudge them towards faith of their own.  It’s simple enough to show readers there is more out there if they will trust and look to God without trying to shove religion down anyone’s throat.  I recommend this book to fans of Putnam and also anyone that enjoys a good romantic suspense.  While this is a third in a series it can be read as a standalone without losing anything.

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