A New Legal Thriller

No Truth Left To Tell by Michael McAuliffe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I first accepted this title from NetGalley and the publisher because the author and my mother went to the same college. The author for law school, my mother for her undergraduate studies. The college is not very big, and it is always fun to see what other alums are up to.

This book was captivating from the beginning. It was ugly sometimes, but isn’t that the way of the world? Through a courtroom drama, we are shown racism, bigotry, small-mindedness and hate. But we are also shown kindness and loving and grace. I think Mr. McAuliffe did a very nice job on his debut novel of balancing character development with story telling and, of course, revealing some truths many of us would rather ignore.

Set in a small town in Louisiana, the Federal Government has been brought in on a KKK cross burning crime. We get to see some of the thoughts and actions of people on both sides of the law and spend quite a bit of time hearing from the victims and how their lives change.

There were some interesting legal challenges brought up to help keep the suspense taut and the story fresh.

At about the 75% mark, I found this quote: “Prosecutors are empowered to seek justice, and nearly every prosecutor starts off believing in that purity of purpose. But it all flounders when justice isn’t obvious, when it’s not sitting on open ground waiting to be claimed.” There were more great quotes throughout the book, but this one hit me as most appropriate for the biggest conflict in the story: good guy versus himself.

I look forward to reading more by this author and will be recommending this book to others.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for my digital ARC of this book.



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A Legal Thriller

Law and AddictionLaw and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the publisher: “One week before Jake Rutledge is scheduled to graduate from law school, he receives the devastating news of the death of his fraternal twin, Blake. What makes this death even more terrible for Jake is that his brother died of a drug overdose. Until hearing of his death, Jake had no idea his brother was even using drugs.

When Jake returns home to Oakley, West Virginia, he takes a hard look at the circumstances of his brother’s death. In the five years Jake has been away for his schooling, his hometown has drastically changed. Because of the opioid epidemic, and the blight it has brought, many now call Oakley Zombieland. Jake can see how his town’s demise parallels his brother’s.

Undeterred, the newly minted lawyer takes on the entrenched powers by filing two lawsuits. Jake quickly learns what happens when you upset a hornet’s nest. The young attorney might be wet behind the ears, but is sure there is no lawyer that could help him more than Nick Deke Deketomis and his law firm of Bergman/Deketomis. Deke is a legendary lawyer. When he was Jake’s age he was making his name fighting Big Tobacco. Against all odds, Jake gets Nick and his firm to sign on to his case before it’s too late.”

This is a timely legal thriller. Our country is facing a crisis in the our communities as we deal every day with new opiod overdoses. The cost is more than we should be willing to accept.

I had some complaints about this book, but after closing it, I realized my complaints were perhaps petty, but also a good strategy to sharing the more important message of this story.

We are given a perfect hero. He has had some challenges in his life, but he is a crusader and he’s smart and kind and able to get things done. He interacts with other perfect people who cherish their wives, work upstream, but still have plenty of money to fly around on private jets. Some of this was hard to swallow in the moment. However, what this group of really good people set out to accomplish and the battle they have on their hands may require really good people.

What Papantonio does very well in this novel is to shine a light and humanize the opiod crisis. We go into West Virginia and see all of the different mechanisms at work. As readers, we get to see the desolation and heartache the influx of drugs have caused. We get a taste of addicts, people in recovery, drug mules, and people who take advantage of the situation financially.

There was a lot of sitting around and discussing next steps as our dream team of lawyers plotted their next moves, but this never felt unneccessary or repetitive. During the course of the story there was also love, friendship, humor, grittiness, twists and turns.

The author is clearly well-versed in this type of law and in this growing crisis. This is a book people should read to help understand why the opiod crisis is not going away and why each of us should care.

I want to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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