THE LAST GOODBYE
Harper Collins, January 2004
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
"Strip it down and let it go" is Jack Hammond's personal mantra guiding him through a phalanx of personal and professional losses. Fired from a prestigious Atlanta law firm for sleeping with a client's girlfriend, Jack struggles to deal with her death. After Jack got his client, Caliz, off on a drug conviction, Caliz killed his girlfriend for sleeping with Jack. Now Jack strives to make amends for what he calls, "The complete overthrow of my principles...Until I make this one thing right in my life, I will have no peace."
Two years later, Jack is scraping by representing court-appointed clients, when his friend, Doug Townsend, is found dead of an apparent suicide. The cops suspect another overdose by a drug addict, but Jack isn't buying it. He knows Doug wouldn't kill himself. His own investigation leads him to the opera star, Michele Sonnier. Sonnier, the wife of Charles Ralston, owner of Horizn Pharmaceuticals, is surrounded by secrets. As Jack follows a trail of information found in Townsend's computer, he finds himself seduced by a beautiful but troubled woman. Pulled into her world, he discovers a conspiracy of lies, plus several mysterious deaths of recovering drug addicts. On a search to find the answers to his friend's death, Jack risks his heart and life once again.
THE LAST GOODBYE features a morally bankrupt attorney on a mission to redeem himself. Confronted with his moral failures and a recurring weakness for vulnerable women, you see inside the life of a man caught in a spiraling downfall. Filled with pathos and raw introspection, Reed Arvin has created a memorable character in Jack Hammond. Actually, he's created a cast of several memorable characters, including court clerk Sammy Liston, secretary Blu McClendon, and computer hacker Michael "Nightmare" Harrod. Arvin brings the world of criminal law, opera stars, and pharmaceutical research to life with simmering suspense. His depiction of the underworld of computer hackers was incredibly interesting as well. Beautifully written, Arvin's style and Jack Hammond grew on me as the story progressed. However, the overall story is melancholy with a tragic ending.
Reed Arvin is also a successful musician and record producer from Nashville, Tennessee. Other titles by this author are THE WILL, another legal thriller, and WIND IN THE WHEAT, an inspirational fiction tale.
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