The Word by Hubert Crouch 391 pages
The Word is a second novel in the Jace Forman series. I haven’t read the first one; I didn’t find it necessary to have read it to enjoy this book.
The story opens with Ezekiel Shaw and his band of followers from the Brimstone Bible Church (BBC) are picketing the funeral of Second Lieutenant Lauren Hanson, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The BBC believes in literal interpretation of God’s word. They can be compared to the Westboro Baptist Church. Other than the need to tighten the sentences (too many prepositional phrases), the scenes are vivid and distributing. It’s not surprising that her parents, after hiring Forman’s firm, to sue the BBC, reacted the way they did.
In a secondary plot, cub reporter Leah Rosen is doing her best to dig up the dirty truth about Cal Connors, one of Texas’ most prominent men. It has the same problem the major plot line does. However, Crouch intersperses the chapters well enough so that the high tension of the major plot allows the readers to take a breath.
There is also a third plot line that pits Connors, his daughter, and his most reliable pharmaceutical witness against the system. Again, the same sentence structure problems. This part was rather buried and did little to enhance the major and secondary plot lines…and it’s the one that’s not resolved, which irritated me somewhat.
It was difficult to keep all the characters straight in the beginning once I was passed reading about the BBC and Jace.
Not surprisingly, as Crouch is an attorney, the courtroom drama is excellent. I even learned something about juries for federal cases: they don’t have to have twelve jurors, only eight.
All-in-all, The Word is a great read; I had trouble putting it down.
I give The Word four out of five stars.