PUBLICATION DATE: JULY 1, 2012
odd M. Johnson debuts as author in this legal thriller, A Deposit Slip, drawing on his own experience of thirty years as a trial attorney.
Erin Larson has a problem. She has a BIG problem. To be exact, Erin Larson has a $10,000,000 problem. Returning home to Ashley, Minnesota following the death of her father, Erin must now set about the task of settling the estate. As part of that task, she is led to a bank in a neighboring town to remove the contents of a safety deposit box leased by her father. It’s in that very safety deposit box that Erin discovers an astonishing piece of paper. An Ashley State Bank deposit slip, belonging to her father, in the amount of $10,000,000!
Still in disbelief that her father even had that kind of money, Erin attempts to ascertain whether this money still exists at the bank. She is met with total disregard and incredulous denials. Something is not right and she will get to the bottom of it even if it means taking legal action. Following several failed attempts to retain an attorney, all under mysterious circumstances, she finally finds one man willing to take on her case. Jared Neaton. Fresh from losing a contingency case that cost him plenty, this new referral case, involving such a high amount of money, is just what he thinks he needs. One drawback to this case … it takes Jared back to his hometown of Ashley, the very place where his estranged father still lives.
With time passing quickly, Jared and his diligent legal assistant, Jessie, must get the facts and get them fast. First is a hearing to determine whether this is a case that will even be considered in the courts. Council representing the bank is no other than the high-priced legal firm where Jared once worked. In particular are two former co-workers whose reputations are less than stellar and bone crushing with their opponents. This would not be an easy case yet one that Jared feels is compelling. Why a small town bank would need the assistance of a pricey law firm located hours away was enough to arouse suspicion. Meanwhile, opposing council begins its own underhanded legal maneuvering to cover up a web of deceit so vast that many trails will need to be concealed. There was no way that either Erin or Jared could know the danger that was lurking just around the corner.
I took on the task of reading this book for a couple of reasons. First, I like a good mystery. Second, I like to read what new authors are putting out there. It’s often a risk and one may wait until word of mouth can provide a promising ‘thumbs up’. I’m here to give you a ‘thumbs up’. No, make that ‘two thumbs up’! The Deposit Slip was more than I hoped for.
Mr. Johnson does an excellent job of drawing you into this story by engaging you in its captivating plot full of absolutely believable characters and enough suspense to keep you guessing. Danger builds as the story unfolds and the corrupt plans begin to fall apart meaning desperate measures will be needed.
I found The Deposit Slip a refreshing and exciting read from this new author. I was pleased that this was written with such a strong storyline that the author did not add profanity or sexual situations, which some feel adds appeal. I also appreciated Mr. Johnson’s ability to interweave the strained relationship between a father and son. With so many fast moving issues going on, the end is nicely settled leaving you with no loose ends unattended.
Little can be said in the negative about this book. I would have preferred one or two less characters, which I felt had me trying a bit harder to keep track of who they were. It wasn’t overwhelmingly annoying … just a tad. There were some minor issues with editing that did distract me as well.
All in all, this was a great book and I look forward to more from this author.
hortly after her father’s death, Erin Larson decides to go through his safety deposit box at the local bank. There she discovers a deposit slip for over 10 million dollars to an account that is very close to her father’s account number. Is it possible he was hiding a 10 million dollar secret from her? After several months of pursuing legal action against the Ashley State Bank, Erin’s quest comes to an abrupt halt. When threatened with sanctions, her lawyer drops the case, leaving her with only a few days to find new representation.
Jared Neaton hears about Erin’s plight from his former mentor at the mega law firm he once worked for—the firm which now represents the Ashley State Bank. Still trying to recover from a major defeat, Jared is hesitant to take Erin’s case. Not only is it a high-risk venture with little chance of success, it also forces him to return to his home town of Ashley—a place which holds bad memories and his estranged father. In an interesting, yet somewhat predictable story, The Deposit Slip is a good first offering by debut novelist Todd Johnson.
If I had to choose one word to sum up this novel, it would be safe. It’s interesting, easy to read, and follows a tried and true story telling method. Additionally the characters are likable, though not particularly deep and they lack any overtly egregious flaws that might turn-off readers. Overall, The Deposit Slip takes few risks and delivers a story that readers can enjoy, but probably won’t stand-out among the books they’ll read for the year.
The story starts fairly standard—Erin is cleaning out her father’s safe deposit box and just as she believes it’s empty, she finds a mysterious deposit slip. From there the reader meets Jared who is a struggling lawyer, trying to win for his client a decision that’s virtually impossible to win. It’s obvious from the start that Jared is going to be the nice lawyer who genuinely cares for his client. There is no question that Jared will eventually take Erin’s case, so any attempt to make the issue seem in doubt is somewhat wasting pages. There are some other common story elements such as Jared’s strained relationship with his father (forgiveness theme), returning to a small hometown he’d rather avoid, and a small firm going against a mega-firm.
However, despite a lack of originality, Johnson does include an interesting investigation and some legal elements that are different. For example, I like that in a couple of instances, Jared does not have the law on his side. It is a unique angle that works very well. Additionally, I enjoyed watching the case unfold. The story has a steady pace and Johnson does a nice job of keeping it moving. Not a lot of time is spent on descriptions though and as a result, the different locations do not feel that different. While it would have been nice to feel more a part of the environment, overall the story isn’t hurt too badly by the lack of descriptions.
The Deposit Slip does not have a huge amount of spiritual material, but what is presented is worked nicely into the story. The main themes revolve around Jared’s relationship with his father and forgiveness. There’s not a lot of depth, but there’s also no preaching or lectures, which is all too common in debut novels. Johnson shows a great deal of restraint by not dumping huge amounts of Christian teaching into this book and burying the story.
Overall I’m pleased with The Deposit Slip and for a debut novel, it’s quite good. Though it does suffer from a bit of predictable storytelling, it does excel in the legal aspects. Johnson has a very easy to read style and I think with some willingness to take a few risks, will develop into an excellent author.