Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review: THE GIRL FROM HOME, by Adam Mitzner

Adam Mitzner
Gallery Books, 2016
321 pages
Thriller / Crime / Legal

In Adam Mitzner's latest novel, THE GIRL FROM HOME, the author detours a bit from his past three straight-forward legal thrillers, and puts out a head-on suspense novel. There is a legal aspect, and some courtroom drama, though. For the most part, however, it is not a novel where attorneys are the central characters. Just putting this out there as a simple disclaimer. However, as a suspense novel, it works. And it works well.

Jonathan Caine is a big shot. He makes millions on Wall Street. His hectic lifestyle comes with many rewards. A hefty bank account, a beautiful wife (fifteen years younger than he), and the potential to purchase some prime waterfront real estate in the Hamptons. East Hamptons.

Everything is going well, that is, until it is not.

When an investor wants their money back, it starts an almost Jenga effect. Best way I can think to describe it, Jonathan now has to rob Peter to pay Paul. In the Wall Street world this is illegal. He pushes and pulls without backing with the hope everything will balance out in roughly two years --before most investors realize what game Jonathan has been playing.

Jonathan's father is sick. Dementia. He took a bad fall, and is in the hospital. It is likely he will never be discharged. Having family issues since he was young, Jonathan isn't sure how he feels about it. When his firm fires him, pending federal securities charges, and his marriage becomes quickly unstable, Jonathan heads home to New Jersey to spend time with his father.

During a twenty-five year class reunion, Jonathan reunites with Jackie, an old classmate. They were from different cliques. Jonathan the nerd. Jackie the Prom Queen who --in typical cliche fashion-- married Rick, the high school football star. Jackie's in an abusive relationship. No way out. Rick has made it abundantly clear that if she tries leaving him he will kill her. She has more to think about than herself. Their two kids are equally at risk should she try anything stupid, like divorce.

When Rick is murdered, both Jackie and Jonathan are the prime suspects. They both know the truth. But will they keep the secret from the prosecutors, or turn on each other to get a deal from the District Attorney?

THE GIRL FROM HOME is both filled with suspense, and humanity. It is a novel about people. Mitzner fills the book with emotions. He's done it before. Here, however, he pours it on. The result is powerful. Caring about the characters kept me turning pages, and re-reading paragraphs to better grasp everything ... felt. There isn't much room for reprieve, as so much is always happening, and the tension constantly building.

THE GIRL FROM HOME is tragic, heartfelt, and almost depressing. There is some hope, some light at the end of the tunnel, though --and for me, it was just enough so that when I finished the book I felt . . . closure.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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