Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hell Bent-William G. Tapply

Hell Bent
William G. Tapply
St. Martin’s, Oct 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780312358303

Boston based attorney Brady Coyne is taken aback when Alexandria Shaw enters his office. They were once lovers, but they had not seen one another in seven years. Alexandra asks Brady to represent her brother photojournalist Gus Shaw in his divorce. Brady agrees to meet with Gus; who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder following a harrowing experience in Iraq in which he lost his hand. He also says at that time they will decide if he should be his lawyer.

They talk and in spite of knowing Gus will prove to be at best a difficult withdrawn client, Brady agrees to handle the divorce. However, soon afterward, Gus is dead in what looks like a suicide. Alexandria refuses to accept her sibling killed himself; she believes he may have been depressed but would not have taken his life. Reluctantly and questioning his motive for acquiescing, Brady agrees to investigate though he is believes he will only affirm the official ruling.

Although similar to ONE-WAY TICKET as HELL BENT is more an investigative tale than a legal thriller especially after Gus dies, fans of Coyne will enjoy this strong regional mystery. The investigation into whether Gus was murdered or committed suicide is well done although somewhat obvious. However, Coyne’s inquiry is incredibly illuminating on the impact of the Iraq war on family members of the military. The deep look into those struggling with grief and in some cases sudden poverty while not always coping with deaths that hiding the flag draped coffin from the media does not hide it from the loved ones. Others must deal with physical or mentally hurt soldiers who left healthy and upbeat and return in pain both physical and mental.. Well written and entertaining, William G. Tapply showcases the hidden cost of the Iraq War that those who claim to support the soldier prefer to ignore.

Harriet Klausner