Ian Wells is a young criminal defense attorney struggling to build a Minneapolis law practice he inherited from his father while caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. Nearly at the breaking point, everything changes for Ian when a new client offers a simple case: determine whether three men qualify for over nine million dollars of trust funds. To qualify, none can have been involved in criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian’s fee for a week’s work: the unbelievable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.
Ian warily accepts the job–but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust with a decades-old criminal enterprise and the greatest unsolved art theft in Minnesota history. As stolen money from the art theft surfaces, Ian finds himself the target of a criminal investigation by Brook Daniels, a prosecutor who is also his closest law school friend. He realizes too late that this simple investigation has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.
I first came across this book in a monthly Bethany House email. I was distraught and torn because I literally want every single book in that monthly email. Seriously, it’s almost impossible to chose. But I found my loophole. I prayerfully pick one and then request the remainders from NetGalley and cross my toes that I get approved for the whole kit and caboodle. Which, as you can tell because you are reading a review right now, that I was approved! The fact that this was a legal mystery/thriller was right up my alley. The fact that it was from a Christian publishing house was like free coffee. Just a disclaimer, while this book is from a Christian publishing house it is not necessarily a Christian book. Outside of a couple of verses from ‘Amazing Grace’ there were no other faith elements. However, it is a clean book with no language, sexual scenarios and lacked overt violence.
I was excited to dig into the story of Ian, and the backstory he uncovered with this mysterious trust. Let me get the not so positive things out of the way before I tell you why I actually really liked this book. There were entirely too many characters! OK, there probably really weren’t but for someone who struggles with names (seriously, I’d probably never remember my name but for the fact I’ve had it way too many decades!) I was frequently confused. I came so close to grabbing a notebook to write all these people down so I could remember who was who and what they did both past and present. I almost felt like the intensity wasn’t as intense as I had hoped but I’m starting to think that it’s just me. Almost like I’m looking for something that was there but I didn’t connect with it. That I will not hold aganist this amazing story.
This book, on the positive side, had all the good stuff I look for in a mystery and/or thriller. Characters that that drew me into their conflict, a mystery that I couldn’t figure out (this one really did well) OK yes I did figure out a few things but not in a way that in any way detracted from the story but actually helped it. My gravy there was one (there were several all told) bombshell that actually took me by surprise. The rest were figured out with story flow the way they should have been. I LOVE a mystery that I haven’t already picked only partway into the book. Johnson gave me that so… This book really does flow well, has engage-able characters, and takes the reader on a pretty good roller coaster ride.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
About Todd M. Johnson
Todd M. Johnson has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years. Todd’s passion for writing blends well with his legal career, and his novels are drawn closely from his personal experiences as a trial lawyer.
A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, Todd taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law and has served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.
Todd lives outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy. They have two children, Ian and Elizabeth.
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