Finishing books, catching a typo, and being blessed with a new idea for a book are all good days. The best however is having a knowledgeable reviewer praise your work. Today is not a good day—it is a great day! As you may know I am on a virtual book tour through a group of professional bloggers who love books. Ruthie Jones’ Blog is Reading by Moonlight and she provided a review today that made it a great day. I hope you will look at her website
Review of Anahuac by Ruthie Jones
“When you make your living with words it is hard to find moments to be silent.”
Thriller is definitely an apt description for Anahuac. The entire story is a fast train ride through the Texas legal system in the 1970s. What could be more thrilling than that?
Jim Ward is not a new character. You will find him among the pages of Book One in the A Texas Story series: Morgan’s Point. In Anahuac (pronounced Anna-whack), Jim finds himself on the defense team for a charismatic spiritual leader from Arkansas charged with the murder of someone who apparently willed an entire estate to his radio ministry. All the characters are incredibly dynamic and memorable, with nary an underdeveloped one in the bunch. Even the minor characters jump off the page!
Word of caution: the story does take place almost 50 years ago, so be prepared for a hefty dose of misogyny and some racism. Strong, successful women are treated as oddities, and a professional woman in a pantsuit is considered a disgrace; however, Anahuac has three such strong women who set the story on fire with their audacity to succeed in a “man’s world.” Welcome to Texas in the 1970s. I will say that Anahuac is unfortunately timely and timeless in its portrayal of the treatment of women in the workforce.
The story is told through Jim Ward who struggles to find his voice and purpose apart from his wife’s family’s wealth and prestige. Becoming a trial lawyer on such a high-profile case could be just what Jim needs to put his name on the map, instead of simply being referred to as Taylor Faircloth’s son-in-law.
The actual crime takes a backseat to the the events leading up to the trial and the trial itself of the Reverend Randall Clay for alleged murder. Clay is a piece of work and a thoroughly interesting character; I found myself vacillating between liking him and finding him completely frustrating. I can’t seem to make up my mind about this guy, which is a testament to William Darling’s ability to write a character that makes you laugh one minute and grit your teeth the next. And then there is Maurice Marrow, Clay’s manager. I did say the characters are dynamic!
As an added bonus, Anahuac is filled with greed, inflated egos, religious fervor, entitled attitudes, legalese, and a fair amount of humorous yet thought-provoking prose. The ending chapters, with the trial and the aftermath, are explosive, entertaining, and open for another Texas Story, I hope. (Emphasis added)
Don’t worry readers, I won’t leave you hanging. The next book in the series is in the works!