Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Professor: A Legal Thriller by Robert Bailey

The Professor: A Legal Thriller.  Robert Bailey. Osprey Publishing Limited. January 2014. 416 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9781909223585.

Thomas McMurtrie’s been a Law Professor for many, many years.  He was first attracted by a power politician and gradually built a reputation as a superb scholar, teacher, and writer.  Now right when he’s having a tough time revising his latest edition on the classic legal text of legal evidence and having a tough time with a major physical problem, his world starts spinning totally out of control.  The case is that against himself as a new, younger Dean of Students is trying to force Tom out of his teaching job at the University of Alabama.  The Dean wants fresh young blood, not realizing that competence and legal brilliance don’t necessarily follow younger lawyers.  It’s skill, experience and learning the ropes that makes the legal pro!  Tom McMurtrie has all of those qualities – and more!

Tom is about to refer a very important lawsuit case to his former friend and then opponent, Rick Drake.  It involves a fatal crash between a gasoline container truck and a small private automobile.  The result is devastating – families are bereft of their loved ones and all are afraid to pursue answers to their persistent questions.  Was speeding involved?  Has this been a pattern and who knew about it and is now covering it all up?  Rick Drake is in way over his head and eventually may be forced to consult with someone with more experience!

The story is simple in this phenomenally well-written first legal thriller, but the steps by which the topics of legal defense and legal community problems are handled is exemplary and bodes well for more exciting fiction from this new writer!  Plot is everything in these pages – with enough insults, adventurous scenes, fights, misunderstandings, threats and more to sink a ship.  But Tom McMurtrie is one hell of an investigator and lawyer, and that makes all the difference in the unexpected outcome of this mystery/crime thriller novel.

Finely crafted, Robert Bailey – keep writing!  This reviewer wants to read more of your style!

North of Boston: A Novel by Elisabeth Elo

North of Boston: A Novel.  Elisabeth Elo. Pamela Dormer Books. January 2014. 400 pp. pbk and e-book. ISBN #: 9780670015658.

A terrible boating accident leaves one dead man and one woman who barely survived beyond human comprehension!  Working in a lobster boat with a friend, Ned Rizzo, Pirio Kasparov spends four hours in frigid waters, a feat that not even the renowned Navy Seals can accomplish without special equipment.  At first Pirio and Ned’s friends show the expected comfort; but when Pirio realizes she’s not getting any answers about how a very, large ship came careening out of the dark and fog to totally wipe out Ned’s lobster boat.  So she decides she will investigate what is clearly emerging as more of a possibility toward murder rather than just an unfortunate accident!

At first she is distrustful of everyone until she realizes that journalist Russell Parnell is onto something important and they begin to work together to solve this complex mystery!  Plenty of risk, violence and literal death threats fill these pages and keep the reader riveted to the story.

There’s another story within the story that’s just as fascinating, a mysterious world where Pirio’s mother once lived in the Canadian village of Baffin Bay.  Pirio’s parents are not your usual Mom and Dad.  Intensely interested in the perfume business, she wasn’t always there for Pirio and her father treated her more like a troubled child than a loved one!

Several topics are also discussed within this novel that involve environmentalism, the perfume business, the business and legal aspects of fishing, conservation of whales and more.  Elisabeth Elo has penned a fine novel that is both quaint and vividly adventurous.  The plot is past-faced and characters rather unique – it’s definitely a new generation looking to save almost extinct levels of certain marine animals and fish – and they are just as passionate to make justice happen for both man and beast!  Very nicely done, Ms. Elo!