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Success Stories

by Susan Schaab

This is a legal thriller la, presumably, John Grisham. I say presumably, because I haven’t read any Grisham or his ilk. My only real knowledge of the genre is from childhood watching of Perry Mason cases. This book has absolutely nothing in common with Perry Mason. The legal aspects all take place in offices, on computers and in meeting rooms. Courts are not involved at all.

I must say that I found it completely absorbing. I don’t know if Ms Schaab comes from a legal/office background or is just a good researcher, but I found the situations very convincing. Somewhat less so were the relationships, particularly the one Evie Sullivan, our heroine, develops with Joe Barton. All along, until very near the end, I found myself expecting Joe to turn out to be "in on it" and the twist in the tail. Maybe I should tell you more about the book.

Evie Sullivan works for a New York law firm who are dealing with various contracts. She is a hard-working and efficient lawyer, who is working towards a partnership. Alan is a partner in the same firm and a thoroughly slimy one. He has tried it on with Evie before and, as the novel progresses, we find out that he is using her identity in some way in an extremely dodgy, very lucrative and totally illegal matter. Joe Barton is someone Evie meets on a plane, who is taken with her and with whom she starts a relationship. He is an expert in computers, which is essential as much of the underhand action in this novel takes place electronically.

I no more understood the intricacies of the electronic folderol than I do the quantum mechanics in science fiction novels. It didn’t matter much though, as it was quite easy to follow the growing threatening atmosphere, even without being up with all the steps. That is the book’s strength, its atmosphere which develops rather well, if occasionally a little slowly. The pace could be considered at fault, as the book is clearly a thriller and it does take rather long to get from A to B and even longer to reach C. This was not a problem for me, however, as I think the somewhat frenetic pace of many modern novels (and films, television, etc.), echoing that of life, is not always to the advantage of the work in question. I found the pace of this work, a thriller which takes its time, rather refreshing.

I did have a problem with the ending. It just didn’t work. Without giving too much away, I don’t think Evie could just have walked out and having Alan dealt with off-page was unsatisfying. The last thirty-odd pages need a re-think.

That said, I found this an enjoyable plunge into a genre fairly unfamiliar to me. Susan Schaab definitely has something to offer.


ISBN 1 934391 05 6
Galavant Press, 2007
395pp, hardback
Retail price $26.95

Open Book

Review by Chris Williams

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