The Weight

The Weight ISBN: 9781548323967, Serpentine Publishing, a novel in e-book by .Hubert Crouch.

The book opens with a Prologue in which Christine Connors enters a former chateau overlooking the Mediterranean that now is a 5 star hotel whose rooms start at one thousand dollars a night. She avoids identification by the surveillance cameras and proceeds to the rooms of Jamie Stein where, with a ruse of engaging him sexually, manages to have him inhale an overdose of heroin. She leaves just as unobtrusively. From this introduction, a tale of legal maneuvering, intrigue, cheating, intimidation, deceit and murder develops centering more or less in Fort Worth Texas. A sizeable number of interacting characters are involved. Most prominent are highly regarded defense attorney Jace Forman and ‘good ol’ boy’ personal injury specialist Cal Connors, who has made millions often by not quite legal but so far un-proven means, his daughter/law partner Christine, Jace’s long-time paralegal Darrin McKenzie who is in love with him, Leah Rosen, a young reporter who, with an O.K. from her editor and publisher, does an article exposing Cal’s shortcomings, Michael Randazzo hired by Cal as an ‘intimidator’, Charlene Knox, Cal’s defense lawyer, Jackie McLaughlin a former Austin cop, now a prominent PI, Reginald Cowan, a Brooklyn boy who was offered a far better scholarship to Texas for his law training and stayed on to now serve as the District Attorney when the case comes to trial. He has a history with both Cal and Jace. Another prominent character is Dr. Howell Crimm, an ‘expert witness’ used often by Cal whose testimony is in question as well as several other characters of lesser prominence in the story line.

Discussion: Attempting to offer further material with respect to the characters’ complicated interrelationships, the plots and sub-plots no doubt would be a disservice to the prospective reader. Suffice it to say this is another in the series presented by the author with a ‘carry-over’ of characters and their relationships and does not provide any ‘closure per se’ to the on-going action. Rather, it is a continuance of the series offering somewhat limited legalese and address of the legal portions of the story that leave even the reader who may have only limited knowledge of legal proceedings with questions. However, the pace is excellent providing a thriller/suspense vehicle that will appeal to many readers.

4* For legal thriller/suspense devotees; 3* for more ‘dedicated’ legal fans.

The Heisenberg Legacy

The Heisenberg Legacy, another mystery/suspense/thriller in e-book published, copyright and authored by Christopher Cartwright.

This 11th book in the Sam Reilley series begins with a prologue in which Oberstleutnant Wilbert Gutwein takes off from the Luftwaffe Airfield in Stuttgart with the first ever nuclear bomb. The date is 22 January 1945 and his target is Washington, D. C. Numerous problems are encountered causing him eventually to attempt to crash land in a snowstorm in an unknown valley. The landing is successful but further problems result in his being the only survivor. He has little to no chance of completing the mission at the moment, so with proper identification, a large amount of American money provided by his Nazi superiors and a good knowledge of the English language, he becomes Willian Goodson and proceeds to find civilization and integrate into the American scene. The story itself then opens at Green-Wood Cemetery in present day New York where young Alex Goodson is attending his father’s funeral – a man with whom he had established little to no familial attachment. He is ready to leave the distasteful scene anyway when he is informed that he is to return to meet with a prominent New York Bank representative. Here. he learns that his grandfather, Wilbert Gutwein, with whom he always had been close, had left him an enormous amount of money, completely bypassing his father with whom he had not even spoken for years. Alex, to say the least, was a highly unusual young man who spent most of his time with computers, much of it playing the games offered. He equated poorly with people and avoided them when at all possible. Thus he used a large amount of his inheritance to establish a game center where he could endlessly indulge his whims. Sam Reilly enters the story in Chapter Four arriving in Washington, D. C. He knew the city well because after joining his father’s business he was the one designated to do all business there – his father, “although obsessed with money and power was practically paranoid about going anywhere near the place”. Sam had been summoned to the Secretary of Defense’s Office where she asks “What do you know about the German nuclear weapon project during World War II?” He replies little other than that early in the 1930’s a scientist named Werner Heisenberg was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for creation of quantum mechanics and paved the way for the atomic bomb. From this point the momentum moves into high gear as Washington is placed under threat of being turned into another Nagasaki by that bomb that had arrived in Maryland in 1945. Sam is forced by an unknown person providing clues through instructions by telephone, to play a game of discovering the proposed perpetrator by chasing down clues offered by him. The prize – no detonation of the bomb if he is successful. Further details of the part played by Sam, Alex, members of Sam’s ‘team’, powerful political and military figures and members of both Alex and Sam’s family emerge in a tantalizingly mixed pattern.

Discussion: To provide further details of this tale would be a disservice to the dedicated followers of this author’s series, as well as to first time readers. Suffice it to say, the story is a fast-moving romp through local as well as international covert activity including distrust, deceit and brutally administered ‘cover-up’ of poor decisions, and based upon mistaken beliefs that it is best for certain state facts to be kept from public knowledge. A particular message most interestingly prominently on display and subject to open discussion today, most especially within the United States.

5* Intriguing tale; political elements engrossingly appropriate today.