written by Mark Willen
published by Penn-L Publishing
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I enjoy this book: Not too much.
Mr. Willen had a great story idea. This book was bursting with possibilities, but I couldn’t enjoy it for two reasons.
First, writing style. The story read more like a newspaper article than a passionate work of fiction. The narrator spent most of his time telling us the story rather than allowing the reader to experience it. I didn’t feel like I was in the scene. I couldn’t hear the character’s voices in my head. I felt like an observer, and for me that was boring.
The second turnoff for me was a subjective one. Mary Louise was a prostitute – not like the ones on the street corners getting beaten up by pimps and raped by clients – more like a Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman type of prostitute. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“Jonas, being an attorney and all, generally believed in enforcing the law, but he was never bothered by Mary Louise. He knew prostitution often came with some bad side effects, but he felt the higher-end work that Mary Louise engaged in probably did more good than harm, if you could tote up different sides of a ledger that way . . . If anything, he felt sorry for the guys who didn’t have the money to spare for an hour’s pleasure.”
I would love for Mr. Willen to volunteer at a rescue center for prostitutes. Repeated beatings, sexual violence, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted children, and drug abuse are just a few of the “bad side effects” of prostitution. To suggest that Mary Louise is performing a valuable public service is abhorrent and offensive.
About the book – from Goodreads: Jonas Hawke may be past his prime, a recovering alcoholic with bouts of crankiness and sheer orneriness, but he’s still a damned good lawyer. That’s why everyone in Beacon Junction turns to him for advice as soon as something goes wrong. And plenty does—murder, adultery, corporate conspiracy—everything you’d expect from a small, sleepy Vermont town.
When a mysterious stranger shows up to question Jonas’s handling of a 20-year-old murder trial, Jonas is forced to confront an ethical lapse in his past. And when evidence surfaces that a heart stent made by a local company may be doing more harm than good, he is drawn into an ethical quagmire that will determine how he’ll be remembered.