The Amendment Killer
Ronald S. Barak
Gander House Publishing (NOVEMBER) Softcover $16.99 (495pp) 978-0-9827590-9-7
It’s timely, tense, and a perfect read in these uncertain times.
The Amendment Killer is a contemporary political thriller benefiting from heavy research, a chilling villain, and a timely message.
As the US Supreme Court begins session to determine the validity of the Twenty-eighth Amendment, Justice Arnold Hirschfeld receives a text message that his granddaughter, Cassie— who has diabetes and a dwindling supply of her medicine—has been kidnapped and will be used to sway his vote.
Detective Frank Lotello and a retired judge, Cyrus Brooks, determine that something is amiss and quietly investigate, hoping to assist the family without alerting the kidnapper. A nosy reporter sniffs out a potential story and digs into matters too, adding another layer of tension. Time runs toward the two deadlines: the conclusion of the court case, and that of Cassie’s health.
The Amendment Killer is the second book in the Brooks/lotello series. The events of the first book are major plot points here also, and Brooks and Lotello are introduced without fanfare or basic descriptors. The motives for the kidnapping tie into the first book as well; many of the connections are glossed over.
The text message that starts the book off is a fantastic hook, and the narrative rapidly rotates between a large cast of characters, resulting in a page-flipping thriller. Courtroom scenes are lively despite heavy jargon and concepts. Brooks and Lotello’s investigation balances wonderfully with Cassie’s own plotline.
Cassie is an incredible heroine. At only eleven years old, she is intelligent and lively. She quickly adapts to the kidnapping and immediately sets about surviving, despite the growing concern over her blood sugar and dwindling insulin. She’s a wrench in the works, as the kidnapper obviously planned for a more subdued or panicky child. Cassie may not be the main character, but she is a highlight of the book and perhaps the most rounded of them all.
The Amendment Killer combines a legal thriller with a tense drama where the stability of the government hangs in the balance. It’s timely, tense, and a perfect read in these uncertain times.