In this story of unvarnished greed and corruption, a good man, Kevin Charles, is mystified as his professional and personal life begins to collapse soon after he is fired by his client Victoria Roberts. A very fetching woman with an innocent, yet sensuous charm, she also has a multimillion dollar case for the wrongful death of her husband. He knows why she terminates him as her attorney, but the destruction of his life that follows lacks any kind of rational explanation. First, the legal bar brings a grievance against him alleging forced sex with a client. Then the State charges him with the crime of rape, and his wife files for divorce. Finally, he is excluded as one of a few attorneys, slated to make a fortune in a lawsuit against big tobacco companies.
Victoria is obviously responsible for his slide down the slippery slope to professional oblivion and possibly prison. But is she acting alone? He wonders if she lied for some nefarious reason, or if she is simply delusional? If she is not crazy, someone else must be involved, but who? After investigating one dead end after another, Kevin doesn’t have a clue who is really destroying his life. With little left but hope, the mystery begins to unravel, from an unlikely source, when the trial prosecutor tells him he smells a rat. Eventually, Victoria, disillusioned of her complicity in destroying Kevin, seeks forgiveness and tells him of the insidious plan, by someone he believed to be a friend, to exclude him from the law suit against big tobacco. Despite being fully aware of her chicanery, he does not seek to have her arrested and prosecuted. Instead, he uses her to wreak revenge. But in doing so, he completely compromises his personal and professional principles.
Morally bankrupt and haunted by what he has done, he ends up in California, where this informative and entertaining thriller comes to a surprise ending.
As the novel opens, Florida attorney, Kevin Charles, is living alone on the California coast north of San Francisco. The main story, his fall from a prosperous legal practice and then his rise, from a desperate life with a dark future, to become wealthy and living well in California, is an exposition interspersed with chapters of his current life, particularly his relationship with a sweet woman, Jean.
In Studstill’s third novel, Treacherous Obsession, he has created a fascinating fictional story intertwined with an actual event. This is a real page turner and the author’s legal perception of the state’s suit against big tobacco, expressed through the fictional Kevin Charles, will leave the reader with a lot to think about.
About Kenneth A. Studstill
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Published August 31, 2011
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, Literature & Fiction.