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Indie Saturday – Author Keira Michelle Telford on “The SILVER Series”

July 28, 2012 1 comment

Today, we have author Keira Michelle Telford featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her SciFi series of books – The SILVER Series. This is a planned 10-book series of post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction novels, all centering on the lead character of Ella ‘Silver’ Cross.


Keira Michelle Telford writes :

Anatomy of a Dystopian Society

The SILVER Series takes place in a harsh, post-apocalyptic version of earth where humans are a species on the brink of extinction. The first seven books in the series, The Amaranthe Chronicles, are set in a reclaimed portion of derelict New York City, in a walled community called Amaranthe. Soon after Amaranthe’s inception it was divided into two distinct regions: the Sentinel District (formerly Brooklyn and Queens) and the Fringe District (formerly Staten Island).

And that’s where the real world-building begins.

The Sentinel District is a residential area, populated by financially stable, law-abiding citizens. Food and healthcare are readily available, and accessible to all. They have many of the same creature comforts that you enjoy, but every aspect of their lives is strictly monitored and controlled by their government, the Omega administration. On the flipside, the Fringe District is effectively a prison. If you commit an offense in the Sentinel District, the Fringe District is where you end up—banished for life. There are no laws here, and civil disobedience abounds: violence, murder, thievery. It’s the epitome of everything disgusting and vile that exists in the world today.

On the face of it, the two districts appear to represent two extremes: perfection and imperfection. Utopia and dystopia. Control and chaos. Heaven and hell, if you like. But the closer you look, the more you come to realize that one is simply just a magnified reflection of the other. In the Fringe District, the ugliness is plain to see. The people of this district wear their grudges like armor and battle their demons (and each other) head-on, with no holds barred. In the Sentinel District, battles are won or lost by the stroke of a pen or a well-cast vote. Their methods might be different, but the war is the same.

The Sentinel District encapsulates everything I hate about privilege, nepotism, political control and corruption, and human greed. I loathe it even more than I loathe the Fringe. At least the Fringe is upfront about what it is. The Sentinel District is supposed to be a paradise-on-earth, offering comfort and safety and all the luxuries anyone could ever ask for. It was built upon utopian ideals, but the hope it should’ve brought to the struggling human population trapped within it was soon poisoned by the strict reign of the Omega administration.

On both sides, people are fighting against subjugation and the suppression of freewill. On both sides, people who oppose the status quo are permanently quieted. In the Fringe District, an angry mob might tear you limb from limb for a crime committed against one of their own. Omega would call that murder. In the Sentinel District, you could be sentenced to death without trial if the Banishment & Enforcement Council should so will it. They’d call that justice.

In this world, one man’s crime is truly another man’s law.

JOIN THE FIGHT!


 

Go Inside…. The SILVER Series

Ella ‘Silver’ Cross is a banished Hunter with a grudge. Condemned and left for dead, she’s still mourning the loss of her former life when we meet her in SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain) — the first installment in a 10-book series.

Before her banishment, she was a Commander in the elite Hunter Division: an army sworn to protect the only remaining human city, Amaranthe, against the Chimera…

Chimera are the unfortunate by-product of a global war that destroyed the Old World more than three hundred years ago. These grotesque, flesh-eating monsters outnumber the human population in Amaranthe 25:1 and must be destroyed at all costs…

Unfortunately, Silver’s banishment means that she’s out of a job—and out of luck. Torn away from her lover, Alex…

…She’s lonely and confused, and welcomes the distraction that mysterious, young Alice provides…

Silver found her naked and terrified, huddling amidst a pack of Chimera. She looks human enough, but her eyes… they’re bright, violet Chimeran eyes. Silver can’t make head nor tails of it, and Alice claims to remember nothing of her life before the night that Silver found her.

Nevertheless…

Desperate for food and money—and now with Alice to care for—Silver accepts an opportunity to work for the Police Division as an informant. A job which brings her back into the life of her childhood sweetheart, Luka…

And with their reconnection, things promise to get a whole lot more complicated for Silver…

Will she give in to her feelings for Luka? And betray her love for Alex? She’s banished, after all. Alex can’t step foot in the Fringe District, her new prison-like home, filled with murderers, thieves and rapists.

She could never have predicted that her father, Gabriel Maydevine, the Chief of Police, would eventually be able to offer her the chance to be repatriated…

A chance to go back home. A chance to be redeemed. A chance to rekindle an old flame…

The world might end, but love endures.

** All Character artwork by: Kitt Lapeña (http://scarypet.deviantart.com) **

Keira Michelle was born and raised in the UK. She moved to Canada in 2006, and there she still resides in her west coast townhouse with a husband and 10 guinea pigs.


Keira Michelle Telford’s The SILVER Series is currently available on Amazon in Kindle format. In series order, these are the ones currently published:

You can also check out Keira Michelle Telford’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about Keira Michelle Telford, follow Keira Michelle on her author website: www.keiramichelle.com, book website: www.ellacross.com, Facebook pages: thesilverseries and silver.acheron, and Twitter: @mylostanddamned.

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain)” after the jump!

Read more…

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Indie Saturday – Author Catherine Stine on “Fireseed One”

July 7, 2012 5 comments

Today, we have author Catherine Stine featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her SciFi futuristic thriller novel Fireseed One.

Amy Kathleen Ryan, author of Glow (the first novel in The Sky Chasers series), describes it as “so full of startling ideas that I couldn’t stop reading! Recommended for fans of science fiction, thrillers, or for anyone looking for a story full of big surprises.

Here’s some great reviews by Book Bloggers:

5 stars from The Magick Pen: “I found myself caught up in Fireseed’s futuristic world with characters that made me laugh and cheer them on… Stine’s illustrations really helped put a picture to all the beautiful descriptions… the romance between Varik and Marisa was sweet… a fast-paced read, filled with action and adventure.

5 stars from 909 Reviews Never Lies: “Fireseed One will have you on the edge of your seat… Stine is an author to look out for, and shines brightly with this stunning thriller.

5-stars from Electrifying Reviews: “Fireseed One is an action-packed, emotional thrill ride that focuses on the characters and their journey.


Catherine Stine writes :

I’m thrilled to share my new sci-fi thriller, Fireseed One.

I’ve always liked weird science, particularly unusual hybrids, which abound in Fireseed One. I’m an avid gardener and follow Pharming and GM crop news, so when I did research into transgenic hybrids these last couple of years and found out that there were already lots of actual transgenic experiments going on I got very inspired.

Transgenic hybrids are hybrid plants that don’t exist in nature and must be bred in a lab, for instance, blue roses. But it gets much deeper. Biologists have combined tomato and fish DNA to produce blight-free tomato crops! They’ve also combined mothers’ milk and wheat DNA to create baby cereal and formula that will protect babies in third world countries from fatal diarrhea. Pretty cool, huh?

So, in the creation of Fireseed One, I kept asking “What if?

What if the year was 2089 and all of the Arctic ice had melted, and what was now the USA was a lethal Hotzone? What if there were a digital border wall that separated the two zones and hungry terrorists hacked the border, and stole all of the agar — an algae type plant that the whole world lived on? What if, in the meantime, Professor Teitur, a marine biologist had invented a transgenic hybrid — Fireseed — an edible giant red flower with almost magical breeding properties that could thrive down in the Hotzone with no water in the killer heat?

But what if that marine biologist turned his back on the refugees after one of them stole his wife’s flycar and left her in the desert? And what if a beautiful and shrewd terrorist from the Zone Warrior Collective named Marisa, broke into that marine scientist’s seed vault, trying to find Fireseed, but destroyed all of the agar instead? And what if this Professor Teitur had drowned five weeks prior under mysterious circumstances and his eighteen year-old son, Varik Teitur was left to deal with Marisa, the sea farm, in fact the fate of the entire known world?

Varik, with Marisa his sworn enemy, must hunt down Fireseed One — a supposed plant with an undetermined mash-up of DNA. The catch? The world is now starving and Fireseed, the last hope may have never even existed off of the drawing board!

Is there any comic relief?

Ah, but of course. Gallows humor is a specialty of mine.

Illustrations?

Yes, I’m also a published illustrator and have nine drawings in Fireseed One.

Romance?

Yes, a fire and ice romance that rivals the Arctic’s polar winter and Hotzone summer!

Catherine Stine has held some colorful jobs, including a stint as a sail-maker, a solar-heated swimming pool cover designer, and as a designer of children’s fabrics and watch-faces. As an illustrator, she has done work for Penguin-Perigee, Learning Strategies and Lantern Books. Writing, illustrating and teaching creative writing are her favorite gigs ever.


Fireseed One by Catherine Stine is available at Amazon in Kindle (on sale for $0.99!) and illustrated Paperback formats. The ebook is also available on Barnes & Noble.

You can also check out Catherine’s Amazon Author’s page for a listing of her other books!

To learn more about Catherine Stine, follow  Catherine on her website: www.catherinestine.com, Facebook page: Fireseed One, Goodreads page and Twitter: @crossoverwriter. She also blogs on www.catherinestine.blogspot.com. Drop by and say hi to her!

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “Fireseed One” after the jump!

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Book Review – Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

July 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Book Description:

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs… Now it’s our turn.

Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason’s mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police–who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

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* Note, the book cover I embedded here is from the UK edition – I just like it better than the US cover

I ended up finishing Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts in one sitting –  I hadn’t planned on losing an entire day just reading (I did have other things lined up to do!), but I just got so engrossed in Jeyn Roberts’ debut YA horror novel about teenagers trying to survive in a world gone mad that I kept on hitting the page turn keys to find out what happened next.

In Dark Inside, the world is rocked by massive earthquakes (right out of something like the 2012 disaster film).  But even more troubling for survivors, the quakes seemed to trigger an infectious ‘rage’ that turn majority of the population into homicidal psychotic violent murderers (yeah, right out of something like the 28 Days Later horror film).

Okay, the plot isn’t exactly original, but Jeyn Roberts managed to make it read ‘fresh’ to me. Ms Roberts added a twist in the story by introducing a spectrum to the ‘rage’ – some infected people (called ‘Baggers’) turn rabid while others seem to retain their intelligence (while remaining ‘evil’). This makes the enemy even more sinister than in a normal ‘zombie’ book since it’s almost impossible to distinguish some of the infected ‘Baggers’ from a normal when they’re not being actively homicidal. There’s definitely elements of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend with the suggestion in the latter part of the book of a new world order rising up from the more sane ‘rage’ infected.

Another big plus for me liking Dark Inside was the author’s teen main characters – the book is told from the points of view of *four different teenage survivors (Mason, Aries, Clementine, Michael) who go on the run, even as they try to make sense of and survive their brutal new world. Ms Roberts did a great job giving each kid well-developed and distinct voices and personalities, and more importantly, making them likable (while still remaining realistically flawed). I ended up really emotionally invested in the kids and cared about what might happen to them – especially Mason! (Spoiler alert)

* There’s actually a fifth POV from a character named ‘Nothing’ who seemed to be among the ‘infected’ and whose identity is kinda revealed in the end. Personally, I actually could’ve done without this POV since I mostly found it to be confusing.

And of course, no surprise, the book ends on a ‘non-ending’, setting things up nicely for the sequel Rage Within (due out in August). Pre-ordered? Yup! 😉

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) is available on Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover and Paperback editions. *also available at Amazon UK.

The eBook is also available at B&N, Apple iBooks, Kobo books

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Book Review – Variant by Robison Wells

January 26, 2012 1 comment

Book Description:

After years in foster homes, seventeen-year-old Benson Fisher applies to New Mexico’s Maxfield Academy in hopes of securing a brighter future, but instead he finds that the school is a prison and no one is what he or she seems.

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“Welcome to Maxfield, here’s your tracking device. We watch everything that you do. You can never leave.”

My friend recommended Variant by Robison Wells as a book similar to Michael Grant’s YA dystopian novel Gone mashed with James Dashner’s  The Maze Runner.  I did enjoy Gone (minus all the supernatural extra stuff) so I checked this one out, and I have to say that Variant  is one of the better-written YA books I’ve read lately, especially one where the narrator is a teenage boy. I can see someone like my nephew really enjoying this book. Not only was there the mystery of the sinister school/prison’s existence to solve, but the book is really action-packed too (plus Robison Wells knows how to keep the suspense going and going until the cliff-hanger non-ending!)

Personally, boarding schools have had a bad rep for me ever since I read Thomas Hughes’s classic Tom Brown’s School Days, but Variant takes it a LOT further. Benson Fisher’s new school Maxfield Academy – far from being a posh boarding school – is literally a prison. A high wall plus a razor-wire fence surrounds the grounds, and while there are no teachers around (or any adults for that matter), video cameras/microphones check the students’ every move. The punishment for breaking the school’s major rules (Rule One is “Don’t try to escape”) is “detention” (understood to mean death). For self-preservation, Maxfield students have banded together into three different groups (the Society, Havoc and Variant gangs) which police each other. Intrigued yet?

Debut author Robison Wells manages to put a fresh twist to the familiar Lord of the Flies theme in his début novel. In particular, I was really impressed with how real the kids in Variant are – from the way they talked or interacted with each other as  the invisible school administrators subjected them to different physical/psychological stresses (kind of like rats in a maze). I could understand where everyone was coming from and their motivations, and like I’ve mentioned, the young male protagonist POV really worked well for once. Benson Fisher comes across as a fairly likable, resourceful and decent kid who tries to tough it out while adjusting to his bizarre situation. Another thing I liked was how the author was able to paint a picture of what Maxfield Academy looked like – from the marble halls, the closets cum secret elevators, the special doors that are only opened by tracking devices that the kids had to wear, even the outside grounds where paintball wars are regularly conducted. Despite the creepiness of the school, I couldn’t help but think that it would be a cool place to visit 😉

The only thing that rang awkward to me was the twist that appears midway to the book – when Benson stumbles onto the school’s real secret. That signals a change from a purely Lord of the Flies dystopian approach to something that’s more Sci Fi. That development required suspension of disbelief (I don’t want to spoil anything, but the discovery requires a certain technological advancement that doesn’t exist yet). I also felt frustrated, since Benson’s discovery just posits more questions about the school that aren’t fully answered, even when we reach the cliff-hanger ending. Onward to the sequel then!

Overall, this is an admirable début effort – an intriguing well-paced plot, lots of thrills and suspense, a surprising twist, there’s even some age-appropriate non-mushy light romance for those who like that in their YA reads.

Variant by Robison Wells (HarperTeen) is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Hardcover edition and Audible audio edition. *also available at Amazon UK.

The eBook is also available at B&N, Apple iBooks, Kobo books

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Book Review – Micro: A Novel by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

January 11, 2012 1 comment

Book Description:

In Jurassic Park, he created a terrifying new world. Now, in Micro, Michael Crichton reveals a universe too small to see and too dangerous to ignore.

In a locked Honolulu office building, three men are found dead with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye.

In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier.

But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

An instant classic, Micro pits nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. Completed by visionary science writer Richard Preston, this boundary-pushing thriller melds scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction to create yet another masterpiece of sophisticated, cutting-edge entertainment.

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Wow, looks like the Robert Jordan estate really lucked out with the excellent Brandon Sanderson when they chose him to finish the Wheel of Time series (at least, fans have been happy so far). In contrast, Micro: A Novel, a posthumously published novel from Michael Crichton (two-thirds of which was actually completed by co-author Richard Preston based on Crichton’s outline and notes) reads like a half-finished first draft. This is NOT a good addition to the Crichton library and I’m guessing I’m not the only Crichton fan super-disappointed with this new book. And I was so ready to like this one too – I really love the concept of shrinking people down to insect size or even smaller (one of my fave movies is Fantastic Voyage) and having to fight for their lives while lost in a rain forest.  But seriously, the awful execution of the plot (particularly the unrealistic beginning [minus the pretty intriguing prologue], and the predictable ending!) plus the weak characterization just spoiled it for me.

Characterization has never really been Crichton’s strong suit, and looks like Mr Preston has done nothing to improve on that with Micro. In fact, it’s even worse! The villains here are idiotically ruthless cartoon caricatures, and the heroes (i.e. the seven graduate students) are one-dimensional personality-challenged blank slates who need labels so you can tell them apart (i.e. the leader, the fighter, the whiny one, the cynic, the nerd, and so forth). Plus, they love to engage in lengthy discourses when their lives are hanging in the balance?! But I’ve always been able to overlook Crichton’s weaknesses since his strong suit for me was how he was able to present cutting-edge science/medicine/technology in his books as something plausible within the framework of an adventure story (like recreating extinct dinosaurs by extracting their DNA from amber for a theme park!). In Micro, the shrinking technology is very Honey, I Shrunk the Kids lite – flimsy science with the explanations glossed over (It’s done with super magnet technology! Don’t ask how! Since we don’t know either!).

The best parts of Micro are when our half-inch sized heroes are interacting with the terrible wonderland that is the micro world around them (around Part II of the book) – it can be as peaceful as playing with a snowfall of pollen or drinking nectar straight from a flower, or as violent as being dismembered by a soldier ant or as awful as having parasitic baby wasps hatching in one’s arm. Those parts are where the book shines – it’s realistic, scary, even educational, and most of all, just sheer entertainment (for the reader, at least!)

Micro: A Novel by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston (Harper) is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Hardcover, Paperback Large Print and Audiobook. *also available at Amazon UK.

The ebook is also available at B&N, Kobo books, iTunes, and Sony.

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Book Review – Jumper by Steven Gould

January 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Book Description:

An American Library Association “Best Book for Young Adults”, An International Reading Association “Young Adults’ Choice” and source of the 2008 feature film ‘Jumper‘ starring Samuel Jackson, Hayden Christensen, and Rachel Bilson.

Written in the 1990s by American author Steven Gould, Jumper tells the story of Davy Rice as he escapes his tortured childhood to explore the world via teleportation and find his long lost mother.

At seventeen the world is at your feet! especially if you can teleport.

David Rice barely remembers his mother. She left his alcoholic father when Davy was very young. She left Davy too, and since then all of William Rice’s abusive anger has been focused on his young teenage son. One evening, as he is about to receive another brutal beating, Davy shuts his eyes and wishes to be safe. When he opens them again, he finds himself in his small town’s library. Slowly, he realises he is very special, he can teleport. Armed with his new power, Davy sets out with new purpose: he will leave his abusive home and find his long lost mother. Davy’s confidence grows as his skills do, but they also draw unwanted attention and soon Davy finds that he too is hunted.

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Jumper by Steven Gould is an exciting adventure story with a pretty interesting take on teleportation that *young adult readers with a taste for the SciFi might enjoy. It was published way back in 1992 (so that makes the book 20-years-old this year!), but I have to say that the book held up pretty well for me right now in 2012. Plus, bonus points from me for being a pretty cool time-capsule for the pre-internet 1990s!  (*Note for parents who supervise their kids’ reading – the main character here is sexually active, although those scenes are never graphic)

I was pretty much hooked with Jumper right from the opening paragraphs wherein 17-year-old Davy Rice recounts how he first discovered his gift – when he inexplicably escapes a brutal beating at his father’s hands by ‘jumping’ instantaneously to a safe place. (I particularly liked that touch about Davy’s character being a bit of a bookworm whose ‘safe place’ was his town’s public library!) Davy takes that chance to run away from his abusive alcoholic dad, and well, he pretty much jumps from the frying pan to the fire (so to speak) and ends up being almost gang-raped next. And that’s just the opening chapter!

Life as a runaway is no walk in the park. So, I wasn’t really surprised that Davy isn’t in the I’ll-only-use-my-powers-for-the-good frame of mind when he winds up penniless and desperate after being beaten up and mugged in 1990s New York City. Turns out that being able to teleport can come in pretty handy when you need to get in & out of a locked bank vault undetected 😉 It isn’t Davy’s finest moment, but his character does a great deal of growing up later on. Davy starts off as this terrified lonely abused victim whose only defense in life was to ‘escape’ (his own mom had set that example by abandoning him when he was 12-years-old). Davy later becomes a much different, empowered and more admirable character, and I liked that as a reader, I was able to join him in his personal journey.

My favorite scenes in the book were the ones where Davy spends time honing his new ability and learning to work within his limitations. There’s a lot of traveling to different exotic locales that had me wishing I was ‘jumping’ right along with him. I liked that even though the author didn’t really go into the nitty-gritty of teleportation, he did provide some believable & logical framework/rules for Davy to work with.

For me, the weakest part of the book was Davy’s romance with 21-year-old college student Millie. I would have much preferred it if Mr Gould had given Davy a sidekick/best friend instead of a girlfriend as a support system.  I mean I got why a 17-year-old runaway would be enamored with the first girl who shows him any interest, but Millie just struck me as ambivalent about her relationship with Davy from the start, so I could never totally believe her declarations of ‘love’ later on. The clunky dialogue that Mr Gould saddled Millie with also didn’t help matters.

Jumper by Steven Gould (Tor Books) is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Mass Market Paperback and Audible audio edition. *also available at Amazon UK.

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Book Review – The Litigators by John Grisham

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Book Description:

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom! It almost seems too good to be true. And it is.

The Litigators is a tremendously entertaining romp, filled with the kind of courtroom strategies, theatrics, and suspense that have made John Grisham America’s favorite storyteller.

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A tremendously entertaining romp” indeed! That describes John Grisham’s latest  The Litigators to a T. I can’t recall the last time I had so much fun reading a John Grisham book, but with his latest, Grisham definitely pushed all the right buttons for me. I practically inhaled this in one sitting (and laughing like a maniac every now and then to boot!) Don’t expect a hard-boiled courtroom thriller (even though tort case(s) do figure strongly in the story) – The Litigators doesn’t take itself seriously at all – it’s funny, satirical, almost fairy-tale like, really, just with lawyers.

32-year-old David Zinc is a bit too young to be having a midlife crisis, but in one memorable day, he quits his highly paid (if life-energy draining) job as an international finance law associate at the high-flying lawfirm Rogan Rothberg to stumble onto a new life as a rookie street lawyer at the “boutique firm’ of Finley & Figg (starring the already quietly defeated Oscar Finley and his still defiantly scrappy / dreamy partner Wally Figg). Idealistic David’s new digs at work may be a bit of dump, but he does get a new lease in his life (and at least his wife is amazingly supportive). Before you can say boo, however, Finley, Figg and Zinc find themselves in line for a  potentially huge windfall, riding the coat-tails of a torts lawsuit against the big Pharma company Varrick whose billion $$$ cholesterol drug may (or may not) be killing people. The objective : reach a settlement without ever stepping foot in the courtroom. The problem :  nothing goes as planned and Finley, Figg and Zinc are suddenly in way over their heads. And that’s when the fun starts 🙂

I loved the front row seats we got as Grisham shows us how a big class-action suit unfolds, but the heart and soul of the book for me were his wonderfully flawed characters. No one is really the big bad here, and everyone has a kernel of likability. Stealing the show was the hopeless gold-pot-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow-chasing Wally who crashes and burns (repeatedly) in spectacular fashion, but of course, given that this is a Grisham book, it’s the idealistic genuinely good-hearted David who carries the day in the end (in a very satisfying way too!).

With The Litigators, I feel good about being a Grisham fan again, and I really recommend this as a fun, light and humorous read with a lot of heart. Grisham obviously didn’t take himself too seriously while writing this, so let’s just enjoy this in the spirit it’s offered! If you ever enjoyed any of Grisham’s work in the past, don’t miss this one. If you’ve never read Grisham, this is a good place to start 🙂

(P.S. Please let this be a movie in the near future! I have in mind John Cusack as David, Nathan Lane as Wally, Alec Baldwin as Oscar – what about you?)

The Litigators by John Grisham (Doubleday) is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Hardcover edition, Paperback edition and Audible audio edition.

The eBook is also available at B&N, Apple iBooks, Kobo books

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