In Warren’s (Altering Destiny, 2017, etc.) legal thriller, threats and danger stalk an employment attorney who becomes embroiled in a whistleblower case.
Scott Phillip Winslow is a partner in a small Greater Los Angeles law firm that handles employment litigation, and he enjoys a “pretty darn good” life with his wife, Lisa; 5-year-old daughter, Katy; and 7-year-old son, Joey. But a new case threatens to upend Scott’s smooth existence. Kevin Walters was the senior vice president at Consolidated Energy, a mining company. He’s been fired, ostensibly for performance reasons but actually for complaining about a mine’s unsafe conditions. After one worker was killed and three were injured in a mine collapse, the resulting violation records disappeared. Scott and his team investigate, discover crucial evidence, and bring the case to mediation, then to trial. Meanwhile, Jerry Anders, the brother-in-law of Consolidated Energy CEO Michael Constantine, gets released from jail. A two-time loser, Jerry initially vows to stay out of trouble, but he fails at this when he tries to redeem himself in Michael’s eyes by threatening Scott and Kevin, which, in turn, leads to Joey receiving a serious injury. As the trial draws to a close, Scott waits to find out if his son will recover. Author Warren is an experienced employment litigator, and he handles the details of his complicated case well, giving readers a realistic look at the steps of a lengthy legal process; the courtroom scenes, in particular, give readers the satisfaction of tough, skewering questions. Warren also does some good work with characters’ points of view, especially Jerry’s, highlighting his self-serving rationalizations. Similarly, Michael is shown to be more complicated than more standard, black-hat villains. That said, a manhunt sequence goes on way too long, and a scene in which Lisa explains her job to schoolchildren seems unnecessary. Also, the Winslow family members come off as unbearably cutesy in the beginning, and they’re shamelessly employed to tug readers’ heartstrings later on.
A mostly solid thriller in which the legal aspects are far more compelling than the family drama.