An Engineered Injustice by William L. Myers, Jr.

An Engineered InjusticeAbout the Book

What if the deadliest train wreck in the nation’s history was no accident?

When a passenger train derails in North Philadelphia with fatal results, idealistic criminal defence attorney Vaughn Coburn takes on the most personal case of his young career. The surviving engineer is his cousin Eddy, and when Eddy asks Vaughn to defend him, he can’t help but accept. Vaughn has a debt to repay, for he and his cousin share an old secret – one that changed both their lives forever.

As blame for the wreck zeros in on Eddy, Vaughn realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. Seeking the truth behind the crash, he finds himself the target of malicious attorneys, corrupt railroad men, and a mob boss whose son perished in the accident and wants nothing less than cold-blooded revenge. With the help of his ex-con private investigator and an old flame who works for the competition, Vaughn struggles to defeat powerful forces – and to escape his own past built on secrets and lies.

Format: ebook (317 pages)                    Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication date: 23rd January 2018 Genre: Crime, Thriller

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My Review

An Engineered Injustice is the second book in the author’s Philadelphia Legal series. The series commenced with A Criminal Defense which I’ve not yet read although I read – and very much enjoyed – the third book in the series, A Killer’s Alibi, back in January 2019. You can find my review here. By the way, although it may look like it, I’m not deliberately setting out to read the series in reverse order. It’s just happened that way!

An Engineered Injustice has references to events in the first book but works perfectly well as a standalone and, if anything, the consequences of past actions help to propel its plot.  There are also return appearances for some of the characters from A Criminal Defense, including some particularly unsavoury ones although sometimes even they can have their uses.  Having to live with the consequences of past actions is especially the case for lawyer, Vaughn Coburn. Despite his lack of experience with the type of litigation involved, he feels an obligation to his family to clear his cousin Eddy, the driver of the derailed train, against charges of culpability for the crash. Along with a keen sense of justice, Vaughn has personal reasons – a secret buried for sixteen years – why he must succeed: ‘What he owes his cousin is nothing less than victory. And with it, salvation.”

What seems an open and shut case of driver error initially, proves to be anything but as Vaughan, with the assistance of some unlikely allies,  gradually uncovers a web of corruption and breathtakingly evil intent. The case involves Vaughn going out on a limb like never before, risking his reputation and livelihood.

Given the author’s legal background, it’s no surprise the book is full of detail about legal and judicial procedure. The final courtroom scenes during the preliminary hearing of the case are not only convincingly realistic but as tense and thrilling as you could wish for. Will Vaughn’s unconventional ploy succeed?  Does justice prevail? You’ll have to read the book to find out and, if you do, be prepared for surprises.

An Engineered Injustice is another fast-moving, intricately plotted and compelling crime thriller from the pen of William L. Myers, Jr. In case you need further persuasion, you can read my earlier spoiler-free interview with the author about An Engineered Injustice here. The fourth book in the series, A Criminal Justice, was published on 17th March 2020.

In three words: Taut, fast-moving, suspenseful

Try something similarLying in Vengeance by Gary Corbin

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William L Myers, Jr.About the Author

William L. Myers, Jr. is the Amazon #1 best-selling author of the Philadelphia Legal Series. The series debuted with the legal thriller A Criminal Defense in 2017. Following that, Mr. Myers released An Engineered Injustice in 2018 and A Killer’s Alibi in 2019. His latest novel, A Criminal Justice, was released March 17, 2020 to strong reviews.

Born into a blue-collar family, Mr. Myers inherited a work-ethic that propelled him through college and into the Ivy League at The University of Pennsylvania School of Law. From there, Mr. Myers began his legal career in a Philadelphia-based mega defence firm. After ten years defending corporate America, he realized his heart wasn’t in it. So he started his own firm and began fighting for the common guy.

That was twenty-five years ago and since then, Mr. Myers has devoted his legal career to representing honest, hard-working people who have been injured by others. He has become a highly-regarded trial attorney up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and has had the rare honour of arguing before the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Myers and his wife Lisa live with their two pit bulls in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo/bio credit: Author website)

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The Flowers of Adonis by Rosemary Sutcliff #BookReview #ccspin

adonisAbout the Book

The 5th Century BC. The Greek city-states are engaged in perpetual war. But one man towers above the chaos. His name is Alkibiades. He is at once a pirate, statesman and seducer whose adventures rival those of Odysseus himself.

Citizen of Athens, friend of Socrates, sailor, warrior and inveterate lover, Alkibiades flees persecution in his native city to join the Spartan cause.

However, his brilliant naval and diplomatic victories on their behalf do not save him from the consequences of impregnating the Spartan queen, and once more he takes up the outcast’s mantle.

Format: ebook (384 pages)       Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication date: 2014 [1969] Genre: Historical Fiction, Classics

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My Review

The Classics ClubThe Flowers of Adonis is the book from my Classics Club list chosen for me in the latest Classics Club SpinHaving devoured Rosemary Sutcliff’s books, such as The Eagle of the Ninth, when I was younger I was delighted when the spin result was announced.  The book also fulfils one of the categories for the When Are You Reading? Challenge 2020hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Flower of Adonis is a fictionalized account of the life of Alkibiades, an Athenian General. In her Author’s note Rosemary Sutcliff describes her protagonist as “an enigma”, going on to remark, “Even allowing that no man is all black and white, few men can ever have been more wildly and magnificently piebald”. Well, that’s one way to put it!

I know some readers have struggled with the multiple narrators and the frequent switching between them, sometimes within the same chapter. Personally, I didn’t find that any barrier to my enjoyment of the book. In fact, I felt it helped to provide insights into the different facets of Alkibiades’ character whether from the point of view of those who were his close companions, those who served with him in a military capacity or those who knew him only as a public figure. What did slightly grate for me was that the narrators continued to be referred to in the section headings by their occupations or status – The Soldier, The Seaman, The Citizen, and so on – even after the reader learns the names of the main ones (Arkadius, Antiochus and Timotheus respectively). I appreciate this may have been an editorial decision for consistency or perhaps it was to emphasise their role as representatives of different strands of society.

I found myself most uncomfortable with the way the sections from the point of view of Timandra, the slave girl who becomes the long-time companion of Alkibiades, are headed ‘The Whore’. Perhaps it’s because I found those sections the most affecting that it rankled so much. If Timandra is ever a ‘whore’ it’s because she was captured and sold into slavery but she is always utterly faithful to Alkibiades. The same cannot be said of him. And as for his treatment of the Spartan Queen…!

The Alkibiades portrayed by Rosemary Sutcliff is indeed an enigmatic figure. He’s bold, resourceful, courageous in battle, a skilful negotiator and an accomplished tactician who inspires devotion in those who serve with him. He’s also mercurial, ruthless, impetuous, easily bored and possesses a supreme belief in his own ability. Of one bold plan, he observes, “It’s a gamble – a glorious gamble, but I can pull it off for you, and there’s not another man who can!”

With promises such as that, to begin with he is viewed as the saviour of an Athens desperate for a victory after a series of defeats. However, as we have seen in modern times, having the hopes of a population riding on you can be a heavy burden and the fall from grace if success is not delivered can be even swifter than the rise. As Timotheus observes sadly at the end of the book, ‘Something that was in Athens when I was a boy will not be there for my sons’. Or in the words of the song, “Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you’ve got, Till it’s gone’.

I’ll confess that much of the forming and breaking of alliances, the political intrigue and the conquest, loss and often re-conquest of cities and territory left me slightly confused. However, I enjoyed the exciting battle scenes and the wealth of fascinating historical detail about life at that time. Apart from Timandra, my favourite character was Antiochus, Alkibiades’ trusted and loyal right hand man. Alkibiades himself I found intriguing but difficult to like.

The Flowers of Adonis (the title refers to a religious celebration that features at the beginning of the book and is cleverly echoed at its moving ending) is an accomplished piece of historical fiction by a writer who knew how to bring the past alive. Reading the book reminded me I have Rosemary Sutcliff partly to thank for my enduring love of historical fiction.

In three words: Epic, action-packed, detailed

Try something similar: The New Achilles by Christian Cameron

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239432About the Author

Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992) wrote dozens of books for young readers, including her award-winning Roman Britain trilogy, The Eagle of the NinthThe Silver Branch, and The Lantern Bearers, which won the Carnegie Medal. The Eagle of the Ninth is now a major motion picture, The Eagle, directed by Kevin MacDonald and starring Channing Tatum. Born in Surrey, Sutcliff spent her childhood in Malta and on various other naval bases where her father was stationed. At a young age, she contracted Still’s Disease, which confined her to a wheelchair for most of her life. Shortly before her death, she was named Commander of the British Empire (CBE) one of Britain’s most prestigious honours. She died in West Sussex, England, in 1992.

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