4 out of 4 stars
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Peter Alpert has dedicated a lot of his life to the public; First as a certified public accountant and then by serving as an attorney in multiple states and jurisdictions. In The Vanishing Chemist, Alpert draws on his personal experience to tell a fictional story based on one of his most resonating clients. Madison Bellamy, (the client) has an obsessive desire to be rich & is willing to be on the wrong side of most people's standard ethics codes to achieve his wealth. Bellamy crosses multiple legal lines, as well as state & continent lines in this story & his rescuer, Mark Conover will do everything he can to make sure that Bellamy achieves his goals but stays within the confines of the law. This novel keeps the reader hooked throughout, wondering just what’s right and what’s wrong, and how far the protagonist of the novel will go to keep his client on the right side of the law.
The story begins with Mark Conover, an attorney who has just retired from being a judge in Colorado and moved to Arizona to spend time with his family & open his own law practice. Briefly after opening the doors to his new business in AZ, Conover takes on a case of a man, Maddison Bellamy, who proves to be one of the most intriguing and difficult clients of his life. Bellamy is constantly toeing the line when it comes to what’s right & what’s legal in his attempts to get rich. The story takes the reader from Colorado, to Arizona, all the way to Zurich and finally to the morgue. Conover consistently attempts to do the right thing by his client within the confines of the law but the reader will have to make it to the very end to see whether this story has a happy ending or if all of the efforts of Bellamy & Conover will vanish into thin air.
The tumultuous relationship between Conover and Bellamy had me constantly engaged and curious, even past the end of the novel. The author does a great job at foreshadowing certain events but just enough to keep me reading to find out if my expectations would meet the events of the story.
Not only did I get to enjoy reading this fictitious novel based on the author's real life experience, but, I feel I gained a bit of knowledge on the American legal system as well. Some of the novel seems to reflect real-life attitudes of legal personnel towards those being prosecuted i.e., judges who are all too ready to write off defendants instead of doing the hard-work of proving guilt vs. innocence. I think it was an interesting but bold choice of the author to reflect these attitudes, but ultimately I think it gave the story much more credibility & authenticity.
I found the characters relatable and well written. The author does an exemplary job of writing clearly and simply enough for any reader to enjoy this story. Alpert employs a huge wealth of knowledge on the legal system in America, but consistently makes it easy and enjoyable for the reader.
I give this novel 4 out of 4 stars. Ultimately this novel offers an important theme of right vs wrong and I think such an exciting presentation of that is a work well done.
The Vanishing Chemist
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