Randall Hicks






Wordslinger Press, Sept. 2005
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Aspiring writers are often advised to write what they know. In Randall Hicks’ first novel, THE BABY GAME, the author has done just that. Randall is an adoption lawyer and so is the main character of his novel, Toby Dillon.

Toby comes from a family of lawyers. His Uncle and his late Grandfather were lawyers and so are his father and brothers. Toby is an unusual lawyer, though. Money, power and success don’t interest him. This, combined with the fact that he earns part of his living at the local tennis club giving lessons and tending the courts, makes him the black sheep of the family in his father’s eyes.

Toby’s closest friends since kindergarten are Brogan and Rita, now married to each other. Toby values the fact that he is still their friend because Brogan and Rita are Hollywood’s hottest star couple and are adopting a baby. Toby is the obvious choice to handle the paperwork.

Things go awry with the kidnapping of the newborn and Toby discovers the birth-mother has lied about her identity. Feeling guilty that he allowed himself to be fooled, Toby sets about trying to find the birth mother, but she too has disappeared. Toby’s personal and professional lives collide while he tries desperately to find the whereabouts of the baby while at the same remaining a friend to the distraught couple.

THE BABY GAME is a very clever debut novel with unexpected twists and turns around every corner. Even the seemingly straightforward isn’t always what it appears to be. Backed up with a very strong sense of place (in this case, Fallbrook, California, the author’s home town), there is a great deal of potential for a very enjoyable ongoing series. In Toby Dillon, Hicks has created an affable and easygoing character with a strong moral compass to which readers will relate. This is backed up with a lively cast of characters. But it is the plot that is the real star of this book. The author has a talent for giving the reader ninety-five percent of the information and just when you think you’ve got a handle on things, he throws in that extra five percent that turns things upside-down.

The author is currently working on a second in the series, BABY CRIMES, which is due to be published in June, 2006. When it is, I will be at the head of the queue to read it.

March 2006


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