Attorney Beth Swahn finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place when she agrees to represent a former military academy. Facing demolition, there are those who are adamantly opposed ... not because of the building itself, but the tunnels that run underneath.
What's so important about those tunnels? That's where the school's deepest and darkest secrets are buried ... and only a few know what the are.
The prominent men of today were students years before the school was shut down. They will go to any lengths to protect themselves ... which puts Beth in the middle of a maelstrom. This case may kill her career .. or more.
This is a legal thriller that seems to have something for everyone .... murder, suicide, assaults, cover-ups by the elite, even a little romance. Characters are finely drawn .. some I loved, some I hated ... but all unique in their own ways. The story premise is complex, but the author's writing doesn't allow for any confusion on the reader's part. The author's history of being an attorney himself lends credibility to this fine book.
Many thanks to the author / Random House -Alibi / Netgalley for the advanced digital copy of this legal thriller. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
This is my first Michael Rudolph and I enjoyed reading it. It had a good story to it. Nice variety of characters in it. I will read more about this. Comment though...this is the 2nd of a series and I didn't realize it but had I known, I would have tried to read the first even though its "standalone".
I received a review copy courtesy of Net Galley and Random House Alibi. It’s a short book, but the time I took to read it felt like forever. The teaser says it is for fans of John Grisham, but this story is nowhere even close to the caliber of Grisham’s legal thrillers. It isn’t much of a thriller at all.
Our protagonist is Beth Swahn. An old school has come up for sale, and there is all sorts of subterfuge involving nepotism, drug smugglers, and international intrigue surrounding the deal to purchase it; Beth’s stepfather is part of it. The premise is a decent one, but by the time the author is done with it, it’s dead on arrival. The book will be available to the public February 5, 2019.
There are overlong passages of deadly dull dialogue, and then there are overlong passages of tedious narrative. The transitions are ragged, and all told it is surprising to me that Random House would go anywhere near this thing. It’s possible that the hand of a high profile editor might be helpful, but were anyone to weed out the extraneous crud, what would be left would be either a lengthy short story or a short novella. I would love to point to some positives, but beyond the premise, I simply cannot find any.
There are a lot of subplots and themes in this legal thriller featuring Beth Swahn. I had not read the first book so this was a standalone for me and I'm not sure whether that was an impediment. The basic idea- that a group of powerful men are trying to hide things that happened when they were in military school- is not new but there are some quirks in here that set this apart from the. pack, notably the sailing. Beth is a fine character but frankly some of this goes over the top and is implausible. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. As others have noted, this would have benefited from another edit.
This is the second book in the series. The story is a legal thriller involving the purchase of an historic military school , the cover up of the death of a cadet years ago., a money laundering scheme. Personally, the story didn't resonate with me.
Ok, so where to start… Alumni Association by Michael Rudolph is apparently the second book that features the main character of Beth Swahn but there was no mention of this being a series. It does note now in the description that each can be read as a standalone but I wonder if it would have helped any to have started with the first book as I’m one to try to avoid jumping into existing characters/stories.
Anyway, after seeing this one compared to the likes of John Grisham I became intrigued as I do love a good legal thriller and don’t pick them up often enough. However, this would be one of those cases that I wanted to kick myself for falling for the “for fans of…” tag line, maybe someday I’ll learn but I definitely didn’t find this one any comparison.
The case in here follows attorney Beth Swahn as she signs up to represent a former military academy. Beth’s stepfather works for the same firm and is also an alumni of the academy, there’s missing money, suspicious goings on etc etc. The thing is none of it was ever very compelling and even only days after it’s already becoming quite forgettable.
The story really just seemed to jump around from one thing to another and I found this hard to pay attention to and keep up with while reading. Seeing a lot of higher ratings and reviews I know there’s an audience for this it just wasn’t my cup of tea unfortunately.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
This was quite a ride! Not sure what kind of a ride though. It had everything in it (mystery, drama, romance, legal, family, historic preservation, offshore accounts, crime lords, suicide, cover-ups) you name it, it was in here. Interesting setting in that it was based on a real military school location. All in all, it was a good read and I would read another book by this author.
I received an ebook from Netgalley and chose to review it.
Alumni Association is an interesting and, at times, unbelievable mystery. The heroine, Beth, is involved in a legal battle to save the school from demolition. Unfortunately, she is too much Wonder Woman and not enough average woman. She's not a believable character, and this kind of messed up the entire story. The legal battle, drug lords, good old boys, etc. are interesting but average. Overall, this is an average legal thriller slightly overdone. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
It starts with a covered up murder in a military school that has seen better days and faces a battle of who can take over and why. There are backroom and boardroom battles, old secrets and hostilities. In some ways this wasn't all that original, but there are a few twists.
The wealthy attorney gets drawn in to the little network of lies; she is an interesting character as she uncovers the true motives and agenda of everyone.
I think the book started with a situation that I didn't really get how it fit in with the rest of the story.
There are some really awful people in this book.
But the best ending chase scene in a while.
Michael Rudolph combines his vocation – being a lawyer – with his avocation – a love of sailing – to pen an interesting mystery involving graduates of a military prep school.
Max Swahn, Bordentown Military Institute graduate, and his step daughter Beth are retained by the BMI Alumni Association to fight any rezoning of the land designated as Old Main and the tunnels beneath as part of the sale of the campus to developers. The tunnels have a rich history being constructed as escape routes for Joseph Bonaparte when he built the mansion on the property, then later as part of the underground slave railway. The Alumni Association wants to preserve the tunnels since they are designated as part of the town’s historical district.
The lawyer handling the sale is a BMI graduate while the purchaser is an expelled BMI student. South American graduates using the tunnels for illegal activities are investors in the project. The story gets quite complicated but moves steadily.
Alumni Association is an engaging read with just the right amount of suspense and a strong finish on the high seas.
I enjoyed reading this book. It had a good story to it. I liked the variety of characters in it. It is my first book read by this author. I hope to read more books by this author.
This book is both entertaining and educational. The private school at the center of the story has a long history, and the authors provides snippets of the history through actions in the present in the book. The boardroom battles share action with intense legal struggles as several factions press for control of the school property and the tunnel system said to lie beneath it. After all the legal wrangling, the finale involves a yacht chase during a major storm. The book has a little bit of everything I like to see in a book: suspense, romance, mysteries to unravel and violence.
I read about 40% of this title before giving up on it. The plot/flow was uneven and the characters were flat.
Alumni Association reminded me of early John Grisham although the heroine is a young corporate lawyer from a wealthy privileged family in New York. Beth Swahn is the stepdaughter of the managing partner of a prominent NY law firm. Her stepfather had retired and spent the last few years sailing in the Caribbean, chartering trips, etc. but returned to help during a crisis. The firm has strong ties to a prominent military academy and the wealthy alumni serve as a strong source of clients. Despite Beth's privileged position, we find that she is at a disadvantage when put up against a firm with ties to drug lords from Latin America. Beth and her stepfather Max and Beth's love interest/FBI agent work together, use the law to pin down dangerous enemies. The legal tactics play an important role in the book and show how Beth Swahn stands out. Alumni Association is a fun, escapist read!
I liked this book but I wouldn't say I loved it. This is a decent legal thriller and crime drama but is a little unbelievable at times. The main character, Beth Swahn, is a lawyer at a law firm that is representing an Alumni Association that is trying to preserve their abandoned school and protect it from demolition by a contractor building a subdivision. Lots of money, shady deals and intimidation are involved in trying to get this deal pushed through but Beth seems to be able to manipulate the situation in her client's favor. Beth's research and investigative abilities at times seem to surpass the FBI and when it's time to bring the bad guys to justice she wants to be in on the take down and her FBI boyfriend does nothing to stop her and neither do any other law enforcement officers. That's very unbelievable. This story was a well thought out investigative legal and crime story but there is something a little off. There is way too much detail about trivial incidents at times and it reads a little cold. It starts off with a covered up suicide that really has nothing to do with the story and could have been deleted without making any difference. There is a lot of legal procedural information that is superfluous to non-lawyers. There is a lot of boating information that is also unnecessary. The dialogue at times is stilted and doesn't flow. Overall, some good editing could make this a much better book. All that said, I liked it; it just needs some polish. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I read this book, a new author to me, with no expectations, good or bad.
I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The characters are well-drawn and realistic. There are some not so nice characters and some bad circumstances. None of this bothers me in a legal thriller....that's what they are about.
I enjoyed the background history of the Academy and the fact that most of the people involved in the current day situations were involved as students long ago. Nothing was easy to figure out. The settings were well described. The danger was real, the legal implications were real, and I liked that they were explained to the reader.
I read it in just two days that were busy days to begin with because I didn't want to put it down. I wanted to know what happened next.
If you like legal thrillers, this is your book and if not, read it anyhow. You may become a fan.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher, for which I thank them.
This story had a lot of promise, but it just fell flat for me. There are too many subplots, it is predictable, and unrealistic.
thank you netgalley for another interesting read. All of the characters are believable, and interesting. Beth is a strong and knowledgeable woman. The story involves the "good old boys" mindset, and how it eventually can be broken. .
A promising book, it starts out with a mystery surrounding a military academy death that was covered up. The readers all know who did it, but for some reason, the perpetrator was never brought to justice. Now, the academy is defunct and on the auction block. Strangely though, the Napoleonic history of it and an active alumni interest, have brought the attention of outside interests. Which aren't really outside because evidently "everyone" once attended the academy, including drug lords from South America and so on.
While Beth, the heroine of the novel, is lovable and capable, she is not better the than the FBI, CIA and Hercules all in one, yet the book would have you believe so. She is folded, spindled and mutilated yet comes up for more. I liked the storyline but it was just so unbelievable in action. Perhaps if the author pared down the heroics and made the story a little more in-depth, cut back on some of the one-person does all theatrics, and built up some of the other characters, this could have been a great book. As it is, it could easily be a pass on the bookshelf.
I received a free, advance copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased and voluntary review. Thank you Net Galley!!
This novel has potential to be good. The plot starts off well, but then kind of splinters off and turns into scenarios that are unbelievable and impracticable. The writing is actually very good, the story just does not fulfill its promise. I would try another book from this author.