Book Review

December '17

The Trust (Hardcover)
Ronald Balson

This is the latest from Wilmette attorney Ronald Balson, who authored Once We Were Brothers, Saving Sophie, and Karolina's Twins. Again, lawyer/detective/investigator Liam Taggart is the hero.

Liam receives a phone call from his cousin Annie in Ireland: Uncle Fergus is dead, and Liam needs to be in Ireland for the funeral in three days time. This is strange, as Liam had been estranged from his Irish family for 16 years, (after they discovered that he was a CIA spy.) Stranger still is that when Uncle Fergus's will was read, Liam was named executor and trustee, chosen over Fergus's children and common law wife. Furthermore, the trust specifies that if there is any suspicion about Uncle Fergus's cause of death (and a fatal gunshot wound to the head sounds suspicious) none of Fergus's assets, and they are considerable, can be distributed to any heirs until the cause of death is resolved and the people responsible for it have been identified and brought to justice.  The Taggart family does have its enemies, though who would kill Uncle Fergus? And why would Fergus write these instructions into the will - did he know he was at risk for murder?

Understandably, the heirs are anxious to get their hands on their share of Fergus's money, and they resent that Liam is in charge.  Liam, a new father, is not too happy with the responsibility either, and would really rather be home in Chicago.  Liam's wife Catherine, also an attorney and usually his co-investigator, is off stage in this book, at home with a new baby and unavailable to race around Ireland with him. The author brings in Catherine's expertise via phone calls between husband and wife.

This is a good, fast-paced read in which suspense and plot twists abound.  Layers of bad guys are suspected, threatening phone calls received, and family members die one by one.