Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson

Critical Reaction
by Todd M. Johnson
Bethany House Publishers (November 2013)
Source: From publisher in exchange for an honest review
Amazon | Goodreads

When a Warning Siren Screams in the Desert Night, the Worst Has Happened

After turning out plutonium for the Cold War, the shuttered Hanford Nuclear Facility's poisoned buildings may be a bigger risk than ever. The men who guard the facility from sabotage or monitor its buildings are told the dangers are under control. But then the worst happens--a thunderous explosion in the dead of night.

Kieran Mullaney survived the blast, but when threats and silence meet his attempts to discover what really happened, he reconnects with an old friend--inexperienced lawyer Emily Hart. Convinced Hanford is hiding something, they also realize their case is sunk without more help.

Emily's estranged father, Ryan, has the courtroom experience they need, but he's grown jaded and weary of the profession. Still, it's a chance to rebuild ties to Emily, and the deeper he digs, the stranger--and more dangerous--the case gets.
I'm not a big fan of legal thrillers, but the synopsis for Critical Reaction caught my attention so I decided to give it a try. Now that I've read it I have mixed feelings. The plot was definitely interesting and held my attention most of the time, but I did have a hard time getting into the story. The beginning was filled with details about the explosion and pretrial stuff. I felt lost at times with all the legal talk and kind of skimmed over those parts. It wasn't until the last 150 pages that things began to pick up and we got some much needed suspense and action. At that point, I was unable to set the book down and was flipping those pages as fast as I could.

As for the characters, I never connected with any of them. I felt like they weren't fully developed and I didn't get to know much about them. I did like Poppy Martin and I enjoyed reading from his point of view the best. The several points of view was something I thought worked really well with the story. I liked how each of them connected and came together so effortlessly in the end. Speaking of the end... I wasn't too crazy about it. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I won't say anything else other than it was abrupt and a little disappointing.

It may sound like I didn't enjoy the book, but I did! I told you I have mixed feelings about it. It was interesting to read about the nuclear industry and plutonium and how those things work. By the way I worded that you can tell I know nothing about nuclear stuff, LOL! There were a couple unexpected twists that I really liked and thought made the story better. It wasn't an edge of your seat kind of book, but it was still a good read with little violence and no bad language or inappropriate content. This just might be the book for you if you enjoy legal thrillers!
My Rating - 3.5
About Todd M. Johnson
Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd's
career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson's first novel, debuted in 2012. Todd's second novel, Critical Reaction, will be released in November 2013.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.

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