The Life of O’Reilly
Rising Star (iUniverse), Aug 2009, $17.95
Because of the media brouhaha over bringing in millions and doing nothing for the community, Wall St law firm, Williams, Gardner & Schmidt decide to do some Pro Bono cases. They choose NYS Bar Associate Trial Lawyers Section Chairman and company junior partner Nicholas O’Reilly to handle their first case.
His client is twenty-six year old Dawn Nelson, a mother of not quite three year old Jordan. She wants a divorce and a restraining order to keep her abusive spouse Jimmy, a stockbroker, away from them. Nicholas meets mother and son at the offices of the NYC Legal Services. Though his expertise is corporate law and not family law, Nicholas pledges to do what is best for his client. At their first meeting, he gives Jordan a Thomas truck to play with, which Dawn appreciates. As they work close together, Dawn reminds Nick what matters in life as he finds no satisfaction helping odious fat cats get off from situations they earned. Instead he finds himself working so much harder with so much satisfaction for the indigent mother and child.
The Life of O’Reilly is a deep character driven legal thriller starring a man who learns what life is all about when he takes on his first pro bono case as he has a client with a human face as opposed to a corporate mask (recent Supreme Court decision aside). The story line focuses on the changing attitude of Nick who begins to question is that all there is once he realizes how beautiful a person Dawn is and how precious Jordan is. Readers will appreciate the gift the Nelsons give Nick when they replace his cynicism with hopeful idealism.
Minotaur, Mar 16 2010, $24.99
In Hazard, Kentucky, the Blue Gem Mine is flooded trapping several coal miners. Amos Blevins tries to rescue his peers in a frantic effort. However, in spite of his attempts, nine men die before the surface help can reach them.
Although his older brother Paul owns the Blue Gem Mine, Mine Safety and Health Administration inspector Will Murphy investigates the tragedy. Everyone assumes a whitewash, but Will detests his sibling so he digs much deeper than anyone expects. He finds problems that are beyond typical management neglect, which could close the mine; leaving his brother bankrupt and the town unemployed; but to do nothing condones unsafe conditions.
This thriller grips the audience from the opening sequence inside the mine and never slows down as the tragedy occurs, the media goes ballistic, and the inspector investigates. Readers will meet a vast cast but besides the brothers it is the surviving miners, their families and those who lost loved ones inside the Blue Gem who make the tale poignant. Will has a difficult choice to make as closing the mine destroys Hazard, but leaving it open destroys families when the next disaster occurs. Gardiner Harris hooks readers with a strong character driven relevant tale.