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by Rick Acker
Satisfying. Blood Brothers by Rick Acker is satisfying. That may not sound like much of a compliment, but it really is–the same way that an excellent meal is satisfying. When I finished the book, I found the ending had come at the right time and in the right way without being predictable. Through Acker’s writing I had experienced just the right amount of excitement and intrigue within a framework of our legal and investigative systems and a background of scientific research. There was even a touch of history and the romance of a foreign country.
When I reviewed Acker’s book Dead Man’s Rule, I mentioned that the main character’s wife, Noelle, had only a minor role and was not well-developed. That deficit was rectified in this novel as Noelle is presented as a three-dimensional character adding realism to the novel.
Blood Brothers deals to a great degree with relationships–mainly focusing on two rich brothers, Karl and Gunner, at odds over control of their pharmaceutical company and also on lawyer Ben Corbin and his spouse Noelle. Private investigator Sergei Spassky, who is a new Christian, has to confront his feelings for FBI agent Elena Kamenev, a nonbeliever who shares his Russian heritage. Together they have to face the ramifications of very different religious beliefs.
The intricacies of the lawsuit and countersuit were handled well including the reactions of a fairly new judge and the chosen jury. Insights into the science trials were also interesting and included one loose end (a mistake made by a summer intern) that surprisingly was not included in the book’s resolution. I appreciated the brief afterword containing nonfiction information related to some of the technical aspects of the book. I definitely advise reading it after you finish the book, however, as reading it in advance would spoil the story for you.
Rick Acker has written three legal thrillers for adults and two detective mysteries intended for a younger audience, but as is often the case with a well-written book for youth, several reviewers also recommend them for a fun read for adults. I definitely was not disappointed by Blood Brothers, the second of Acker’s engaging tales for me and certainly not the last.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Waterfall Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
What Comes Around
by Adair Sanders
In the interest of full disclosure, I need to say that I went to school with the author and I really wanted to like this book as much as I did her two previous books: As Sick as Our Secrets, the first in the Allison Parker Mystery Series and Biologically Bankrupt…Sins of the Father, a sad, autobiographical work. What Comes Around is the second in her mystery series. I think Sanders is a good writer: in terms of plot, characters, etc, I can easily award this book four stars (out of five). The first chapter is particularly well written and drew me into the rest of the tale.
My reticence in wholeheartedly recommending What Comes Around centers on its graphic descriptions of sexual violence. Everyone has a personal tolerance level for various aspects of fiction–horror, violence, even romance. I personally find this level of detail disturbing, but another reader may see its role in What Comes Around as essential to character and plot development.
Kudos to Adair Sanders who completed a successful law career and has jumped into a second successful career as a writer. I look forward to reading more of the Allison Parker Mystery Series.
Dead Man’s Rule
by Rick Acker
Some of the first comments I read about Rick Acker’s legal thrillers compared his work to that of John Grisham. I, along with many other more qualified critics, consider Grisham to be in the top in his genre. I snickered a little at this appraisal of Acker and said to myself, “Well, that’s a little overblown.” I am currently chewing away at my naysaying words. Grisham and Acker both write legal thrillers with interesting characters, exciting action, strong plot lines, and details arising from effective background research. The legal situations are integral to the plot, not inserted as an afterthought because the author is also a lawyer. Acker is not an imitator of Grisham; in fact, Acker is an excellent writer in his own right. There is always room for another good suspense writer!
Dead Man’s Rule had my attention right from the prologue, “A Relic of War,” which is not a typical background piece. It pushes the reader into the story, ready or not. The setting changes in the first chapter to Ben Corbin’s legal offices but the interest level doesn’t change, and immediately the reader begins mentally searching for the connection.
I like it when the main character is human (flawed but trying) and likable, and Ben Corbin fits into that category. If there is a weak character as far as the writing goes, it is found in the depiction of Ben’s wife, Noelle. She is two-dimensional in a world of three-dimensional characters, but her role in the novel is fairly small.
The archvillain, General Elbek Shishani, is fleshed out by Acker so that he is not just some “bad guy” to be dealt with by the hero and his CIA and FBI associates. The reader will probably not approve of Shishani’s actions, but the author does share how he became who he is.
Reader, be prepared to learn about legal procedures and an arcane law that becomes critical to one of Corbin’s cases. Acker avoids getting too technical so the read remains exciting, but the reader can understand all of the legal complications and how they affect both the innocent and the guilty. He also takes us into the world of bioterrorism and Russian and Chechen politics as well as the sometimes competing interests of the various law enforcement and investigative agencies in the U.S.
Dead Man’s Rule is my first experience with Rick Acker’s writing, but he has published four more suspenseful books. I can’t wait to try another. If it is like Dead Man’s Rule, I’ll have trouble putting it down.
I extend thanks to netgalley.com and to Waterfall Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.