2 out of 4 stars
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The legal thriller Battlemind is a Max O'Donnell novel written by the defense lawyer,Michael Waddington.The story is mainly set in twenty-first century United States of America and follows the life of a military lawyer serving his last days before retiring from the army. Maximilian O'Donnell is faced by the biggest challenge of his career which also threatens to jeopardize a marriage that hangs by a thread. Max has to defend a former army prison officer,Sergeant Tyler Jefferson,who is accused of torturing and murdering Hamza Nassar,a suspected Afghanistan terrorist.Nassar was allegedly murdered in Sangar Prison around the same time Jefferson was stationed at Sangar and someone has to face the music. Facing a ruthless and tight-knit military system,Max has to make a decision between going by the book or accepting help from compromised individuals. His abilities are put to the test as he channels his father's 'battlemind' teachings whilst trying to keep the pieces of his family from falling apart.
The best part of the book is that it captures traditions both in the army and family wise whilst also showing societal dynamics and livelihoods of different people who might be living under seemingly identical conditions. Michael Waddington also made sure that his word selection also appeals and is easy to understand for people who are not exactly up to speed with fancier military or law school jargon. He also managed to capture Max's life from all dimensions by not only focusing on his military career but all the facets that mould his character, values and ethics. Its also very relatable to Americans and even those living in other parts of the world. His writing style makes sure that the reader gets lost in the story but not lost about the story as he switches impeccably from one scene to the other. The author also did an excellent job in putting it out there that we all have demons passed from generation to generation that we can choose to either shake off or entertain.
The Battlemind focuses on the ruthless nature of the military and its prisons which is laced by torture and sprinkles of toxic masculinity. It comes across as a mild horror story or quite unsettling reminder to people who are highly sensitive to violent crimes or scenes of a violent nature. Quite a number of scenes in the introduction of the story might come across as if the author views women as sex symbols or as mere sexual objects who use their orientation to get what they want. This might just be the author appreciating women in all shapes and sizes or applauding their femininity. It also dwells on how parents or upbringing says everything about who we later become or behave in society. This is evident in the stereotype that real men fight or should at least know how to call for respect via use of their physique. It touches on the defense complex young boys are still being taught to uphold even now which might cloud proper judgement. On the hand its a wake up call for us to relook the influence around us and how we use society designed templates to go through life.
Battlemind is a great legal thriller set in a relatable time and environment which is accommodating for readers from all parts of the world. Michael Waddington's experience in the attorney field makes the tone appealing and easy to understand despite having little or no knowledge about how the military or judiciary system is run. I would rate the book 2 stars out of 4 . This is based on the tone of the book and how scenes blend well.
This book is most suitable for people above sixteen or eighteen years of age due to the dashes of strong language which show up here and there. Basically its a great book for young adults up to adults but definitely not children. For people who love thrillers or books centered around law or the military,this would be a great addition to their libraries. Its a great book for bookworms who want something out of the ordinary.
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