Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


William Manchee
Bitter Choices
The attorneys of Turner & Waters are back at it again, each facing seemingly impossible odds at successfully prosecuting their client’s cases. Stan’s son Reggie joins the firm and immediately pressures his father to let him take on a new personal injury case. Stan resists, but eventually gives in with dire consequences for the firm. In the meantime, Stan's new estate planning client, Ruben Acosta, talks Stan into agreeing to be the executor and trustee in the event of his death, not expecting the client to die just days later. When Stan assumes his duties, his world is shattered as he quickly learns he is in business with the notorious Mexican crime organization specializing in human trafficking.
Manchee’s Stan Turner legal thriller series continues, with the Texas-based law firm of Turner & Waters facing a difficult personal injury case and a complex trustee assignment that turns out to have an unfortunate connection with a Mexican cartel. The PI case proves especially twisty: the client, Amanda, may have caused a fatal car accident, but only after being forced to work an exhausting double shift. But even more troubling is the smuggling cartel that wants the money Turner now controls as trustee—forcing him to go undercover to save the lives of everyone he cares for.

Manchee, an attorney himself, has a wonderful gift for describing the minutiae of practice in a small law firm, and he makes it riveting when, for example, the lawyers carefully go over Amanda's civil and criminal cases, describing the practical and legal implications. Detailed scenes like this ground the book and make it very real, showing law is more than stirring courtroom speeches. Equally good are the specifics of Stan's undercover operations, with enough tradecraft descriptions to keep any spy thriller aficionado happy. Sometimes, with these two convoluted plotlines, readers will have to work to keep track of all the players and double-crosses, but the story does move along at a nice clip.

Although the focus is heavily on plot, Manchee does work in some personal relationships that lend welcome warmth to the dual legal proceedings. Especially strong is Stan's unusual partnership with Rosa, an unwilling ally of the cartel, purportedly being used to spy on Stan. What starts as a convenience for their mutual safety turns into something more, giving an emotional heft to the story. Manchee also does a good job with Amanda, neatly describing the plight of the working poor and lending her a lot of sympathy. Fortunately, Manchee brings the multiple plots and large cast to a satisfying conclusion.

Takeaway: Attorneys battle for a poor victim—and against a cartel—in this fast-moving legal thriller.

Great for fans of: Scott Turow, Scott Pratt.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A