3 out of 4 stars
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To what lengths would you go to protect your loved ones? Would you commit murder if you felt that was your only option? This is the dilemma that Mark faces in Fatal Flaws, written by Clyde Lawrence.
Mark’s father transformed from an adored father and husband into someone who took his frustration and anger out on his family with frequent beatings. Over time, Mark grew to despise and hate him and was happy when he died from an accident while he was still young.
Fast forward a few years, Mark encounters Hank at their Mormon Church, and they immediately become close friends, partly because Mark is a resident physician in OB/GYN and Hank is an anesthesiology resident. Hank is adept with finances and is accruing wealth, which intrigues Mark, and he wants to learn from him. As time goes by, they grow disillusioned with the church and gradually abandon their faith. As their children grow up together, they make a pact to help each other keep their families safe, no matter what that entails.
When Mark’s eldest daughter, Ryan, weds Brandon, Mark is unhappy as he dislikes him immensely. He is egocentric, disrespectful, and obviously mentally mistreating her. After Ryan sustains several injuries, including cracked ribs, an injured shoulder, and a bruised face and lips, Mark realizes Brandon’s behavior has escalated to physical abuse. Plus, Ryan is in denial and will do nothing about it. Her life is in danger if he doesn’t step up and protect her. Therefore, he seeks Hank’s help in handling the problem. What is unrealized is that asking Hank for help can endanger Mark in the future.
There was a lot to enjoy about this novel. Told from Mark’s point of view, the author’s prose was captivating, easy to understand, and descriptive. His sense of humor had me grinning occasionally and chuckling outright a couple of times. The clever plot was unique and plausible. Several diverse and interesting characters were encountered, with dialogues that were believable and sometimes witty, often laced with vulgar language. I began to detest Brandon when he viciously hurt his dog because he was outraged about something.
However, my favorite aspect of the story was the development of Mark and Hank’s characters. As the friends abandoned the Mormon Church, both became convinced “. . . morality was more of an idea that asked the following question, ‘Did your actions result in an overall positive or negative effect on the planet and its inhabitants?’ ” Both friends loved having fun and would do activities that were potentially dangerous. Mark was clever and witty with a sarcastic sense of humor. To him, his most important job was keeping his family safe. Hank was a former Marine. He possessed an inflated sense of self-importance and wanted to impress people with his accomplishments and possessions. As time progresses through the story, Hank seems to be spiraling out of control, and Mark becomes more and more cognizant of Hank’s flaws.
A theme running through the book is there is a potential for evil in all of us. It merely requires the right circumstances and a lack of willpower to enable it to take over.
Sadly, there were too many flaws in the book. These were predominantly punctuation errors but also included a few grammatical errors. It could use a professional editor. Other than wishing for fewer profanities, this was the only thing about the story I didn’t like.
Because I love the plot, characters, and suspense, Fatal Flaws achieves three out of four stars, with one star removed due to the errors. Readers who enjoy reading crime dramas and suspense novels would appreciate this story. Because of the vulgar language and violence, it is unsuitable for children. Members of the Mormon Church and Christians might be offended by the negative view of the church as well as the profanities.
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