The Amend­ment Killer

Ron­ald S. Barak

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction - JOHN M. MUR­RAY

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.

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