by Todd M. Johnson
A while back, I reviewed Johnson’s second book, Critical Reaction. I enjoyed it enough to check out his earlier book, The Deposit Slip. Interestingly, I actually enjoyed The Deposit Slip even more – it was an excellent mystery, with some likable characters who developed well. The court room/law scenes were written thoroughly, but not boringly, and the story was delightfully devoid of romance. I say delightfully, because this was a story that didn’t need romance, and so it wasn’t there. One of my (minor) gripes with Critical Reaction was that the little love story seemed so arbitrary. It had nothing to do with the story, really, and so it kind of felt awkward, as though Johnson was just inserting it because someone told him that all good mysteries have some romance, too. (Don’t listen to them, Johnson!)
So, this story is about Jared, a young lawyer, who is a bit on the rocks. He’s had his own law firm for a few years, but a big case didn’t break the way he needed it to, and now he’s almost broke, and exhausted – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. While working on that case, he neglected many of his other clients, and he knows it’s going to take months of faithful work to bring everything up to speed and back in line. He tells himself that he’ll never take a huge-risk case like that again.
And then there’s Erin. Her dad died several months ago. When going through his stuff, she found a deposit slip in a safety deposit box – a deposit slip for ten million dollars. Erin is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery – the bank denies any knowledge of the deposit, and the lawyer Erin hired has suddenly left her high and dry – short on time and money.
Jared is reluctant to take Erin’s case. It’s another huge-risk case, it’s going to cost loads of money, and it’s going to mean spending a bunch of time in his small home-town – and that means spending time with his dad. But something draws Jared to Erin’s case and, thankfully, that thing isn’t “mutual attraction” or any kind of romance, which is a big part of what makes this book work.
The mystery/drama of this book is great, but what sets this book apart is its themes of forgiveness, empathy, and learning to move on. Watching the relationship between Jared and his dad change and grow was my favorite part. Johnson writes that interaction extremely well.
I also love the way that this book is clean. It’s not really a religious book (the church is touched on, but is not really foundational to the story), but it is completely lacking in language, sex, or anything along those lines, and it’s great. So refreshing to read a book that is intense, focused, intriguing, and engaging, without feeling like it’s necessary to curse every other sentence, or to randomly send people into bed now and again.
Overall, this book is a solid and easy 4/5. It would be a 5/5, except that one of the villains meets a rather over-the-top end that left me feeling legitimately confused.
Also, I’m super sleep deprived, so I apologize if this isn’t my best book review. I liked the book!
And here’s a picture of one of my sister’s cats. I found it when I was looking for the picture of the book. This is Gypsy Jack. He’s one of my favorites, and he loves paper bags.