Tag Archive | Texas Fiction

Do you Solemnly Swear?

by Lin Wilder

It’s always interesting to read sequels featuring characters you loved in previous novels.  Lin Wilder successfully follows up her first novel “The Fragrance Shed by a Violet” with this legal thriller “Do you Solemnly Swear.”  blog

Having recently completed book one, the returning cast was very familiar to me and I enjoyed the immediate jump in time detailing their growth and changes.  “Solemnly Swear” features: Dr. Lindsey McCall, newly VERY rich, who has graduated from prison inmate to medical director to the prison system; intrepid reporter Kate Townsend who has attained the highest praise of a writer and is now exploring developing her personal life and Lindsey’s new husband Rich Jansen who once again makes a career change from prison administrator back to attorney-at-law.

Wilder also smartly introduces new, intriguing characters in the form of private investigators, lawyers and, most compelling, a returning US soldier and current Texas State Trooper who becomes the catalyst for the plot.  Gabe McAllister battles the trauma of war and through a series of unfortunate events becomes involved with a dicey single mom.  His decision to leave this unstable woman prompts a charge of rape against McAllister; the victim being the 6-year old daughter of the ex-girlfriend.

The subject matter is uncomfortable, but Wilder is careful to not make the novel so graphic as to be unreadable.  As much as the author spent time in her “Fragrance” book educating the reader on the inner workings of drug development, this novel provides a great deal of information about the legal system and the incidences of false charges regarding sexual crimes.  Having no knowledge of these things, I found this background interesting. Wilder is proving herself quite deft at writing novels which serve both to entertain as well as educate.

Sometimes it is necessary to read all the books in a series in order to understand the long term developing plot, “Lord of the Rings” comes to mind.  Wilder’s books could stand alone, but if you’re like me and very orderly and systematic when it comes to character development, please do start with book one.  And, bonus! Book three is in the works so if you care to binge over a winter’s snowy evening……

I enjoyed the “Fragrance” novel (see my earlier review here: https://eyesandearsbooks.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/the-fragrance-shed-by-a-violet/ ) and I think this sequel is even better.  I imagine at this rate, the third book in the series is likely to be the best yet.

For the US State Challenge – Texas – fast becoming my biggest source of fiction.

 

 

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The Fragrance Shed by a Violet

by Lin Wilder

If you follow my personal blog, https://newoldgirl.wordpress.com/ you are aware that I am NOT A FAN of the medical profession and feel great disdain for Big Pharma.  This attitude change occurred in the last 4 years and one additional side effect of the trauma of my iatrogenic illness was losing an entire genre of books.  I used to read every single medical thriller I could find, and laugh at the memory of my one overnight hospital stay where the book I was reading was by Robin Cook.  As a sort of exposure therapy, I decided to delve back into medical fiction and see if I could separate my own trauma from a fiction book.  I am so glad I discovered new indie author, Lin Wilder.  She was the perfect author to pull me back into my old stomping grounds.  blog

“The Fragrance Shed by a Violet” is not your typical medical thriller.  I would probably not even add “thriller” to the descriptor except that most books set in the medical industry do involve mayhem – murder, espionage, the evils of the industry, etc.  Wilder has written a book which involves the medical profession, but truly I felt this book was character driven.  Yes, Dr. Lindsey McCall is a brilliant researcher employed by a large Texas medical center, but there are so many pieces to this story, it felt more like contemporary fiction involving relationships rather than subterfuge.  This, I think, was key for me truly enjoying the work.  Wilder presents us strong, driven, intelligent female characters like McCall and investigative reporter Kate Townsend.  As the foil to those strong women, we also spend time with Lindsey’s sister, Paula a nurse with a troubled past who proves prominent in the direction Lindsey’s life takes.

As the sister of two alcoholic brothers who passed very early because of their disease, I felt a real connection to the siblings in this book.  As a reader, finding connections to characters brings the story to life and Wilder wrote a good story.  Wilder pulled me in not only with her writing but with the use of prophetic quotes at the start of each chapter, and the presence of spirituality in the story.  This did not read like smack-you-in-the-face Christian fiction, but as in many real lives, faith plays a role for some of her characters.  Reading this book was comfortable and enjoyable.

I did read the author bio prior to starting the book and I appreciated throughout my reading the fact that Wilder spent decades employed in the medical field.  Somehow, to me, knowing she had real life experience behind her gave a sense of legitimacy to her writing, especially during the parts where research and drug development was explored.  It was also quite clear that Lin Wilder is one smart cookie.  The novel is very well written, the characters are fleshed out and the story felt complete.  This was a great first medical book for me to start with and I highly recommend “The Fragrance Shed by a Violet.”

 

 

For the US Map Reading Challenge, this one is set in Texas.  Yes, I’ve read another Texas book this year, but it’s a big state so I’m recording this one as well.

The Word

by Hubert Crouch

Every once in a while you stumble on an indie author who is absolutely first rate.  Hubert Crouch, with only two books under his belt, is bound for bestseller status.  A full-time lawyer from Texas, Crouch has created a fictional lawyer, Jace Foreman, who is likeable, flawed, talented and worthy of many sequels.  I started “The Word” not knowing it was second in a series where I had missed book one, “Cried for No One.”  Once I realized this was book 2, my normally ducks-in-a-row personality would have stopped me from continuing, but I am so glad I read on.  This book can stand-alone, and although there are references to the previous book, and I know enough I can guess the plot, I will be getting book 1.  blog

There are several sub-plots involving additional interesting characters, but the main story in “The Word” involves a military death, a Westboro Baptist type church who protests the funeral, the repercussions of that and the First Amendment.  Crouch clearly knows the law and has the writing talent to present the legal arguments in a way the average reader can understand.  The opposing lawyers in the case, Foreman and Cal Connors, are opposite sides of a coin.  Foreman represents the Atticus Finch lawyer we all wish we knew, interested in justice and right choices.  Connors, his nemesis, is a bad guy with questionable morals, yet very gifted in legal arguments.  With such clear cut, good-guy/bad-guy representatives, one would expect a very cliched trial with everything the bad guy says being wrong.  This isn’t the case.  Crouch is talented enough to present the nuances of how and why we have, and need, the First Amendment.  I would be a terrible jurist because I could not have chosen a side given the arguments presented.

Although “The Word” might sound like a too-heavy topic to be covered in an entertaining way, Crouch manages to write a compelling story and keep things moving at a pace which draws in the reader.  The supporting characters, with their own stories and personalities, fleshed out the book making it a very fast read.

I have only two minor criticisms, which take away nothing from my enjoyment of this book.  The first is the sub-plot for the character of Darrin, legal eagle sidekick and love interest of Foreman.  She has a sister in a troubled marriage and a couple of chapters are the two women talking about this situation.  I found the time away from the main story to make little sense and to be a distraction.  That said, I do wonder if this is included because in later novels it will become important.

The other criticism is pure selfishness on my part – it ended too soon.  I was disappointed to come to the end of the story.  Surely a sign Crouch knows how to reel in readers because according to his website, http://www.hubertcrouch.com/, book 3 is in progress!!!  I look forward to continuing this journey.