It's been a while since I last read a John Grisham or Scott Turow legal thriller, more for lack of time than lack of interest. Reading The Partnership by Steven J. Harper reminded me why I so love those books; I guess I'll be rereading them again soon, or hunting out ones that I've missed.
Steven Harper's novel is set in a huge law firm in Chicago. The Executive Committee chairman is about to retire, and two powerful and successful candidates vie to inherit the throne. Albert Knight is the more appealing of the two, a man who has bought into the money-wins-all mentality of the modern world, while still retaining some vestige of concern for what's right and what's fair. His arch-enemy Ronald Ratkin plays the field of power and wealth like a pro, planning ahead for every turn of the plot, fully prepared to ride the wave of disaster and turn it into triumph. And retiring chairman Hopkins pulls the threads that may or may not be tied as tight as he imagines.
There are mysteries behind mysteries here, betrayals beyond betrayal, and clever plotting that keeps the reader turning pages and wondering, with loyalties that drift in the wind. A firm that was once a family, that prided itself on rightness, has slipped and grown. The first warning blows are remembered, where money began to take precedence and became the motivation for everything. The prices paid are seen in people and relationships and events. And the fall of a noble profession is richly lamented.
There was much I didn't know about the legal profession, and the business model. I learned a lot, not by being lectured, but by spending time in the heads and lives of Harper's characters. The story is a sad indictment on how we've let money change the world, and how temptation bests the best of us. It's also a fascinating mystery, with twists and turns aplenty, an obscure form of justice, and a satisfying conclusion.
Steven Harper knows his law, and he knows his writing. He's definitely a new author to watch, and I'm so grateful to book publicist Jennifer Prost for sending me a copy to read and review. This was certainly a fascinating and enjoyable book.
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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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