Categorized | Features

Breach of Trust, by David Ellis 2011

The widely-held view that newspaper reporters make better novelists than lawyers takes a pretty good hit here. Ellis is a lawyer, and he can write. He’s obviously familiar with his subject and he knows how to tie the plot threads into a cohesive whole.
The plot concerns government corruption. Since Ellis served as the prosecutor in a case in which a U.S. governor was convicted in an impeachment trial, he knows whereof he speaks. He knows the back alleys where the hand-offs are made.
A word of warning . . . be ready for bad things to happen, and not just to bad guys. Lawyer Jason Kolarich is caught up in a career-making trial, looking for an informant who will make it possible to pull off an almost-impossible win, when his world is simply torn to pieces. When he recovers enough to think about what has happened, he goes back and reconsiders the case that his firm did, in fact, win while he was out of action.
He figures out that there is a murderer out there somewhere who hasn’t been caught, despite the fact that the police are satisfied the culprit is a young gangbanger who was subsequently murdered himself. Kolarich doesn’t buy it and begins a long and complex process of insinuating himself into various levels of the state government. The killer is in there somewhere, and Kolarich’s plan is to keep moving through various levels of government until he finds enough clues to put things all together.
This is where the reader gets a great deal of information about how corruption in government works. Kolarich is no dummy and manages to impress everybody he comes across. They hire him to help do the dirty work and he goes along, pretending to be one of the bad guys in order to get into the inner circle.
It’s a tricky business and he has to leave himself open to criminal prosecution if he’s going to be believable as one of the bad guys. It all comes down to a photo-finish kind of ending, with a certain amount of (almost) romance mixed in. Good ending. Good reading.

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