No Legal Grounds by James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell’s skill as a writer, coupled with his experience as a trial lawyer, makes No Legal Grounds a provocative, fast-paced thriller that manages without the use of x-rated language or lewd scenes to create a suspenseful, knowledgeable, creative, and inspiring piece of fictionalized literature. With some unforeseen twists, this masterful storyteller gives the readers characters that ring true from the rebelling teenage daughter to the protagonist doubting that there is any hope of escape.   

The protagonist is attorney Sam Trask who, along with his wife, Linda, his rebellious seventeen-year-old daughter, Heather and his twelve-year-old son Max faces threats and terrorism from the antagonist, Nicky Oberlin, a demented sociopath who after Sam deletes what at first appears to be an innocuous email will stop at nothing as he maliciously stalks his prey. This riveting thriller challenges Trask’s view of right and wrong when he is forced survive in a world where all the rules have changed and where the law he has sworn to uphold conflicts with his need to protect his family from a madman who stays within the limits of the law giving him no legal grounds of protection.  

Sam’s who has finally gotten his life in order, after putting behind him his old drinking and success-at-any-cost ways, is suddenly thrown into a family nightmare when his old college buddy, Nicky Oberlin, arrives in town. Nicky knows some of Sam’s college secrets and looks for angles to attack while Sam struggles through a professional crisis and family turmoil until he is ultimately forced to decide whether or not to protect his family by acting outside the law he’s believed in all his life. The reader is pushed to the edge along with Sam as he tries to maintain his law practice while dealing with credit cards that are mysteriously maxed out, a poisoned animal, and the kidnapping and sexual victimization of his daughter.  All the while, Nicky knows not to break any laws and with each frustrating step, that Sam takes to protect his family Nicky manages to make himself look like the victim while Sam finds himself deeper and deeper in trouble with his firm, his family and with the law.  

Dealing with the dark things that can happen, the reader should be made aware, however, that this is not an inspirational feel-good piece but rather an honest look at one man’s struggle to protect his family and overcome society’s evils. The heart of the story is in Sam’s heart and soul, as someone who knows the law inside and out, he struggles against a surprising threat to his family and is forced to decide if he is willing to step over the legal line for the sake of his wife or children.
Bell’s previous novels focused on crimes after the fact but in this case, the lawyer is faced with a crime in process against his family making it a heart wrenching drama that will keep the reader reading until late into the night. Therefore, if you are seeking a suspenseful tale of intrigue without an R rating I would highly recommend this book as it meets all the requirements of an entertaining and chilling adventure into the life of an unsuspecting man of faith.

[tags]No Legal Grounds, James Scott Bell, faith, Christian mystery, suspense, legal drama, fiction[/tags]