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Book Review: A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner

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A Conflict of Interest opens with Alex Miller, a lawyer with a hot shot legal firm attending his father’s funeral and meeting Michael Ohlig, a good friend of his father. Michael needs help in a securities fraud case that he is involved in and asks Alex to defend him. He has been accused of selling Salminol, a worthless stock to unsuspecting elderly people who then lost all they had when it went bankrupt. There is so much more to Ohlig, and it is revealed little by little with each turn of the page.

The story keeps pulling you in deeper and deeper. I found it very hard to close the book for the night because I felt I was missing something. I had to read on and see if Alex would work on his marriage to Elizabeth that was falling apart or fall for the lure of Abby, the lawyer working with him on the Ohlig case.

As the book goes on we find out that our suspicions were correct; there is much more to Michael Ohlig than meets the eye. There are also things about Alex’s mother that come to light and cause Alex more than a little confusion and pain. And Abby: is she who she wants us to think she is, does Abby really have his best interests at heart or is she using him to work her way into partnership with the firm? All these questions are answered, but you have to read the book to find out. I won’t spoil any of it for you.

I found the book well written. The action slowed down in some places but never stopped. It goes from legal offices, to courtrooms, to restaurants, to bedrooms, to police stations, jails and so much more. The characters are well thought out and very well developed. You quickly come to see them as your neighbors or friends and really do care about what happens to them.

The scenes between Alex and his daughter Charlotte brought a nice interlude to the legal action and lets us see Alex as a loving father. His role as husband to Elizabeth was much more complex. I never doubted her love for him, but it was easy to see that she was a hard person go get close to. In many ways she seemed closed off, but always she was logical and tried to give Alex what he needed. I absolutely loved her thoughts on the telephone:

“No one ever has anything to say that can’t wait.” pg 256

“It would be rude for me to stop talking to you and start another conversation with someone else who was in the room, so why is it any more polite if that person doesn’t even have the decency to visit us?” pg 257

A Conflict of Interest is much more than a legal thriller about securities fraud. It has many stories intertwined. Stories about self, family and how people handle things when the pressure hits. Those ways may surprise you. Never did I guess what was coming next.

It’s hard to believe that this is Mr. Mitzner’s first novel. I highly recommend A Conflict of Interest to anyone who loves a legal suspense thriller.  You will not be disappointed.

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