Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Review: Hell Bent

Summary: With his personal life at a bit of a cross-roads, Boston attorney Brady Coyne finds his own past coming back to haunt his professional life when his ex-girlfriend Alex Sinclair turns up looking for a lawyer to represent her brother. Augustine Sinclair was a notable photo-journalist, happily married to his high-school sweetheart with two small children – until he returned from a stint a freelancer photographer in Iraq missing a hand and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – now he’s lost his career, his peace of mind and his family. Brady is brought in to help him handle the divorce so that he does lose any more but before they get very far, the photographer is found dead in his rented apartment, an apparent suicide.

But something isn’t right about the suicide – the details are just a bit off – and Brady starts to think that his client has been murdered, the suicide staged. With very little to go on and with nearly everyone wanting to quickly close the books on a case that has all the classic indications of suicide, Brady soon finds himself in the midst of one of the most dangerous situations of his entire life, facing people who will stop at nothing to keep from being exposed. -- St. Martin's Minotaur

I received HELL BENT by William G. Tapply as part of the Library Thing Early Reviewers' Program. I probably wouldn't have picked up this book on my own since I'm not reading a lot of mystery/suspense books right now; however, I am happy to say that I really enjoyed this book. The book was a very quick read, mainly because the plot draws the reader in right from the start and the story keeps moving at a very fast pace.

I think one of the main reasons that I liked this book was the Brady Coyne character. Brady Coyne is a Boston lawyer who agrees to take on the divorce case of his ex-girlfriend's brother. I found Brady to be extremely likable and quite human considering he is a lawyer (just kidding -- some of my best friends are lawyers!) I especially liked that the author allowed the reader into Brady's personal life and shared Brady's feelings about his ex-girlfriends.

Mr. Tapply did a terrific job of setting up the story for the reader, both in regards to Brady's character as well as the mystery aspect. As I read this book, I knew there was going to be some sort of mystery, but it wasn't until about half way through the book, that a "crime" was actually committed -- Brady's client was found dead by an apparent suicide. Brady's ex-girlfriend is sure that her brother didn't kill himself (despite all the evidence that shows he did); and Brady promises to try to find out the truth. The second half of the book details Brady's investigation and his final resolution of the crime. I was so drawn into the novel by this point that I couldn't put it down.

While I did predict that Brady's client would "kill" himself, I wasn't able to figure out who the murderer was. I can't say that I was shocked by who committed the crime, but it's always easy to say that after the fact. In addition even after I knew whodunnit, I was still totally wrong about the motive for the murder. I love a book that keeps me guessing, and that's probably one of the main reasons that I enjoyed this book so much.

In addition to the murder mystery aspect of the novel, I also liked following Brady's personal life and his romantic interests. Since I found myself liking the character of Brady, I was rooting for him to find a good woman and some happiness. I also enjoyed the side story about an elderly couple who had retained Brady's services to help them recover damages from their moving company. Their story provided some humor into the novel as well as a happy, feel-good ending.

HELL BENT is the 24th novel by Mr. Tapply with the character of Brady Coyne. I don't know where I've been for the last 24 years, but I was not familiar with this author or this series. While there were references to some things that happened in Brady's past, this book definitely stands on its own. It's probably not realistic for me to say that I'm going to go back and read the first 23, but I have a feeling that I'd really enjoy them. Let's put it this way, I will certainly be on the lookout for any books in the Brady Coyne series!

A big thanks goes out to St. Martin's Minotaur and Library Thing Early Reviewers' Program for the opportunity to read and review HELL BENT.


Anonymous said...

I love a good mystery and I'm not familiar with that author or series, either.

Michele said...

Yet another indicator that we have very similar tastes in books! My review sounds very similar to yours. Glad you enjoyed it too!

Amy said...

Wow! I've never heard of this series, either!

On another note, the LT ER algorithm seems to love me for crime fiction. :)

Cheryl said...

I read this book and thought it was good as well. Though I have not read any of the other books in this series.

ALso check out my blog as I have given your an award. Thanks

Cheryl said...

I forgot to mention I gave you an award on my blog