Pan Macmillan. This edition published July 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
Tom Bradshaw is the perfect Vice-Presidential candidate. He had a
difficult time in college, but overcame drug addiction and now leads the
fight against illegal drugs. The nation is stunned when he is found dead
in a hotel room of an apparent self-administered drug overdose after being
clean for over twenty years. Just as the public is coming to terms with
the death of the much-respected politician, it is announced that it wasn’t
an accidental death, but murder.
Police very quickly charge Stuart Montgomery with Bradshaw’s murder.
Montgomery is Bradshaw’s doctor and is touted as one of the front-runners
for Surgeon General should there be a change of administration in the
upcoming election. The pair have had a falling out and the evidence points
to Montgomery. Attorney David Cavanaugh has never liked Montgomery. He is
arrogant and pompous and more than that, he is the reason David’s ex-wife
left him all those years ago. When Cavanaugh is asked to represent
Montgomery at his murder trial, he hesitates. He doesn’t want to have
emotions of the past dredged up again, and there is his current partner,
Sara to consider. Despite his misgivings Cavanaugh accepts and quickly
discovers that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. He begins
to uncovers a conspiracy that reaches far and wide in the halls of power,
putting his life and those around him in danger.
Sydney Bauer’s first book, UNDERTOW was a fast
paced thriller and GOSPEL is promoted in the same way. It doesn’t seem to
have quite the same pace and I think it suffers for that. The first couple
of chapters introduce so many characters that I found it confusing for
quite a while. Bauer’s use of adjectives seemed at times a little
unnecessary: ‘She took two of the upturned glasses standing on the crisp
white towel on the black marble counter and poured them both a drink
before gliding across the room, extending her long slender arm and handing
him his water.’ It was a very minor detail. She gave him a glass of water
would have sufficed. I found numerous examples of this. These unnecessary
descriptions detracted from the pace of the book considerably. When a book
is 487 pages long, details like this can become annoying.
Most of the plot was predictable. There were a few very clever little
twists, but they didn’t arrive until after 400 pages and seemed to come
too late. A large part of the ending involved a dramatic, overblown court
scene. “'Cavanaugh is a liar,’ he yelled, his voice rising over an
astonished crowd. ‘A simple-minded show pony who, in his desperation to
win exoneration for his murderous client, has rallied this group of
geriatrics, has-beens, teenagers and drug addicts in a pathetic attempt to
sully my good name.’” Speeches like this abounded and I felt that any
resemblance to a real courtroom situation was purely coincidental.
It’s a shame that GOSPEL was so overdone because there was a good idea in
the basic plot premise.
Sep 2008 review originally published on Murder & Mayhem
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