I read this in one sitting in order to keep all the characters straight in my mind.
Beth Swahn's law firm has been retained by the BMI Alumni Association to prevent their old military school building from being torn down and its underground tunnels filled in. The opposing side headed by lawyer Herb Gartenberg is funded in part by a Venezuelan drug cartel.
Underhanded dealings, blackmail schemes, and an old boys network that is alive and well kept this plot moving, though not in a straight line at times as time segments between 1984 through to the present day bounced around.
Interesting plot but unfortunately the book read like an outline with lots of short chapters. Larkef passion and realty good character development. Very easy mystery to solve. If it’s was written deeper in depth with some surprise it would be better. Since I made commitment to review i slogged my way through to the end. I hope this early draft gets some serious work before release date.
The suicide of a young boy decades ago made to look like congenital heart failure is the quiet thread that ties all the characters together. The death took place at a military school attended by most of the players. They have grown-up to become lawyers, drug dealers, oil men, judges, and contractors. Honest lawyers blindsided by the dishonest side of the law are believable in their pursuit to clear their names and reputations. The story takes place mainly in New York and the Caribbean. A land deal funded by drug money, hit men, and a sailboat race keep the action moving. Both law and sailing are written to be understood by the layperson not familiar with either. I received this free from Net Galley.
This was a decent read that mostly kept my interest. The plot was good. There were a lot of characters and sometimes it was a little hard to follow, but overall I did enjoy this. Thank you for the copy and the opportunity to read early.
Michael Rudolph has taken every legal obstacle he’s familiar with, named every legal counsel he’s ever known, described every banking procedure he’s ever heard of, and topped them all with excessive daring adventures, then fashioned the conglomeration into a novel. As a result, his story, “Alumni Association,” comes out an aggregate of overcooked information that’s impossible for me to sort out or savor.
The storyline is simple. A old former military prep school faces demolition resulting in difficult real estate litigation. A young attorney gets involved and finds that most people she knows was a former cadet there. The school’s alumni association, composed mainly of graduates, is determined to see the withering campus preserved. It seems a network of old tunnels, established beneath the old structure during the nineteenth century, have an unusual amount of interest for all of them, albeit for a variety of reasons. Conflict is created, some of it virulent.
A well-known South American drug king uses the passageways for his smuggling activity. Not surprisingly, he went to school there. Several partners in the attorney’s law firm went there. Many influential community figures went there. In fact, I’m at a loss as to how many people went there because the author names them all and presents all the different reasons for getting rid of the property or keeping it. It gets confusing.
Beth Swahn, the aforementioned attorney, get involved up to her formidable eyebrows. She finds herself in the tunnels with a robot that tries to kill her. She gets threatened, beat up, shot, and nearly drowns in a tropical storm trying to rescue the man who has been having her threatened, beat up, and shot. In her spare time she is in court fighting legal issues with developers, real estate agents, city property management employees, ruthless attorneys, and judges, who invariably are wise but reluctant to do what’s right.
All I’m saying here is that the author has tried to put too much in his book. What little I could decipher was okay but overwrought. The back and forth dialogue is overwhelming. Too many circumstances make for confusion. He needs to take a step back and save some of his material for other books.
This book is boring!! The romance is not realistic nor believable! The idea of the book is good, but it did not live up to its promise! The book was an ARC, and I read it, but I was glad I did not pay for it!
There were a lot of characters in this book, but not a lot of character development. The good guys were really good and could do anything, and the bad guys were really bad. There seemed to be several plots, subplots and themes going on. Somewhat confusing book did not hold my interest.
The alumni association of Bordentown Military Institute seeks to sell the now-closed school and attorney Beth Swahn agrees to represent the group. Determined to have the campus preserved as a historical landmark, the alumni hope to keep the Old Main and the extensive tunnel system beneath the school grounds safe from would-be developers.
But the tunnels, purported to date back to the Civil War era and once used by the Underground Railroad, may be the place holding their darkest secrets from their days as students at the school.
As more and more of the academy’s alumni become involved in the pending sale, a large amount of money suddenly goes missing and Beth finds herself facing threats that endanger everyone important to her.
Although this is the second book to feature attorney Beth Swahn, it works well as a stand-alone with sufficient background provided so that readers who have not read the first book will still understand the characters’ relationships.
Several plot threads involving money laundering, drug dealing, fraud, and abuse come together in this tale of legal machinations and long-held secrets. Although readers may wish for more in-depth information, especially regarding the history of the tunnels, some interesting moments sprinkled throughout the narrative serve as highlights of the story. However, with no truly layered characters, astute readers will easily figure out who’s doing what [and why] as the unfolding events wrap up the story. Overall, it’s a fast, easy read, frustrating only in its predictableness.
I received an advance reader’s copy of this e-book from Ballantine Books/Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley.
Review by 2shay..........
This book is not quite as entertaining as a software manual. The technical aspects are okay. Unless I was too bored to notice, I didn’t see any grammar mistakes. There are some unexplained time jumps that might have been annoying if I cared when or where this or that equally boring character did what. I didn’t.
This book is advertised as a Mystery/Thriller. The biggest thrill up until around the 90% mark was having one of the lawyers get mad and storm out of the conference room. High drama indeed. For those readers who are dedicated sailors, the final 10% has a lot of technical and lengthy descriptions of sailing the seas in pursuit of another yacht in a storm and a fog. That nearly put this land lover to sleep. Yawn.
I read every single page. When I signed up to receive ARCs from NetGalley, I agreed to read and review, honestly, the books I was given. To date, the only books I have ever closed before finishing, were those with so many errors, either factual or technical, that I just couldn’t continue. Since I’m not a lawyer, I couldn’t fault the legalese. I’m not a sailor and couldn’t criticize that aspect of the story. The writing was technically perfect, so that was no reason to dnf (did not finish) the book. *sigh* Alas, woe is me, I read the whole thing. I don’t actually need brain bleach to erase this book from my memory...it’s forgettable.
Skip this one. ARC graciously provided by Random House and NetGalley for an honest and voluntary review.
This was a solid 4.5 raised to a 5 star read. Years earlier a group of highly successful men all attended the same prep school. The school is now closed and designated as a historical landmark including the tunnels beneath it that were a hangout for the older prep school students and are presently considered to be abandoned. In 1984, a student was found to have hanged himself in his dorm room and the suicide was covered up by the school. Today a group of developers are attempting to buy the property and convert it. A prominent law firm is hired by the Alumni Association to make sure that the school’s best interests continue to be guarded. Beth Spahn, our heroine, is now head of this firm and leading the investigation of what is actually going on. There is a superbly complex plot involving money laundering, drug importing and dealing, theft in a grand scale and, of course hypocrisy, sexual abuse, spousal abuse and all sorts of other evil and criminal deeds. Much of the action takes place in urban areas but the finale takes place on a sail boat. The author is obviously very familiar with sailing in the 21st Century which makes it even more captivating. This is an excellent read. Thanks to Net Galley and Ballantine for an e-Galley for an honest review.
An interesting idea that never fully developed for me. The characters didn't have the depth necessary to really get me hooked into the plot More urgency or empathy would have helped to drive the story.
I thought this was a good read. I enjoyed the secret society vibe it had going on. Beth was a cool character, and the information on the inner working of a legal firm were interesting. I would of liked to have seen more history on how the men who attended school together became bonded, that part was kind of weak. The book could use more descriptions of the tunnels and what went on in them and at the school in the 1980's that the alumni had to protect at any cost.
A fast passed mystery with lottos history. Love Beth the attorney and her investigative skills. There is nothing this super lady can't do. and the men in her life let her do it. Wish the CIA, FBI and citizens could work together as they do in this story- that is the most unrealistic part of the story but I loved all the surprises and twists
Kindle Copy from Galley
I received a free, advance copy of this book and this is my unbiased and voluntary review.
A thriller that quickly flows but somehow was not totally compelling. Characters were alright but not too compelling as the plot seems similar. Overall, it seems bland.
The cover-up surrounding a student's death decades past adversely affects the sale of a closed academy's property.
This was not the least bit “pulse pounding” as described. In fact, I had to force myself to finish this. The story line was weak and the characters were uninteresting. The whole story just seemed unbelievable and disjointed. The ending was ridiculous and almost laughable. This book needs a complete rewrite. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
I read only a few chapters and just couldn't get into it. I didn't feel any connection whatsoever and after a few chapters, I didn't really care if the land got sold or not. Just not appealing to me.