Saturday, December 31, 2016

Law and Disorder: A Legal Thriller by Mike Papantonio

Law and Disorder: A Legal Thriller.  Mike Papantonio. Select Books. September 2016. 352 pp. ISBN #: 9781590793671.

Like the author, Nicholas “Deke” Deketomis is a skilled trial lawyer and talk radio show host.  The novel opens with a dramatic scene in which a young woman, suing a large pharmaceutical company for allowing the sale of a drug, dies right in front of the court after the Judge’s decision to not allow her story as evidence in a class action lawsuit against the drug company.  Deke’s law firm had six good witnesses to take to trial on this matter but now he’s got five and he’s looking for evidence that will unequivocally burn through the defendant’s “lawyered-up” and powerful strategies to defeat Deke’s lawsuit.

The plot then moves to a seeming sub-plot in which a coach of a woman’s team at a Southern Pentecostal Church receives a letter threatening exposure for sleeping with a minor fifteen-year-old teen.  The alleged perpetrator fakes a suicide hoping to con his wife into forgiveness and prayer, but the Pastor in charge of this church has different plans.  For one thing, this is one of those popular mega-churches making enough money from televised sermons and their in-person weekly services to make them a wealthy business.  The Pastor is also supporting a former Senator who is planning a comeback and who is stupid enough to ignore the fact that he is a tool in the Pastor’s grand strategy for even more success in the political world.

The remainder of the novel is about the machinations of the court, lawyers, Judges with a partisan preference, pharmaceutical companies whose only vision is making money minus caring about patients who die because of their poisoning drugs, and what it takes to achieve success in modifying the choices made by these drug companies.  Illegal methods are deemed perfectly appropriate to obtain pivotal evidence to use against the defendant drug company.  Religious leaders are not above destroying anyone who opposes their glorified status.

Most of what is in this novel reflects the way the law and businesses operate, but some of it goes over the edge with authorial license.  Still we are left with a ripping tale that has enough twists and turns to keep the reader flipping the pages and left with somewhat an education that is both informative and shocking!

Nicely plotted, with spunky, intelligent characters, Law and Disorder… is a terrific read sure to please those who love the legal thriller genre!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Max's Diamonds: A Novel by Jay Greenfield

Max’s Diamonds: A Novel.  Jay Greenfield. Chickadee Prince Books. May 2016. 344 pp. ISBN #: 9780991327423.

Paul Hartman, his parents and many in their family are refugees from the hell created by Adolf Hitler.  In short, they are Holocaust survivors!  Think you’ve heard it all before!  Stop in your tracks – you haven’t!  Jay Greenfield’s first novel is reality.  The appearance of Paul’s Uncle Max is a life-changing event for Paul.  Two aspects of Uncle Max’s life remain with Paul forever, the numbers etched into Uncle Max’s arm and the diamonds Uncle Max owns and spreads throughout the family.  These items are evidence of the worst kind of evil one can imagine!  They permeate the family with guilt as survivors and victims who deserve more of life’s wealth because of what they have endured.  In between these searing scenes are moments of intense beauty which Paul and his girlfriend, and later wife, find in playing music.  Should one play Wagner, the enemy of the Jews, to show all that Jews survived and are now their own masters? Yes, Wagner, the music that was played when selections were daily made of who was to go to the gas chambers.  The novel is replete with decisions of a like-minded nature!

For Paul, it seems for every few steps he moves ahead in his career and family life he must take multiple steps backwards laced with shared guilt and moral obligations.  As the story progresses, we learn how Max acquired those diamonds in the concentration camp and what he did with them.  Harrowing story, indeed!

Paul becomes a lawyer whose State Supreme Court clerkship becomes compromised because of his family background.  On and on the same stop-and-go scenes follow, eventually causing the failure of two marriages, barriers with relatives because of a deed Paul committed after meeting Max and before Max’s death.  All his relationships become tainted and the reader can empathize with his frustration and desire to get it all healed and behind, if that is possible at all!

Max’s Diamonds… is a startling, riveting work of historical fiction that each reader may never forget.  It’s a thriller spawned by an evil reality of one man but passing on to all the victims tied into that evil man’s existence!
Amazing read that this reviewer highly recommends!