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Old 07-15-2017, 07:55 PM   #1
GlenBarrington
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Springfield, Illinois
Device: Kindle PW2, Lenovo A10-70, Motorola Z2 Play, 1st Gen Kindle Fire
"Little Boy Lost" by JD Trafford

I read this through the Kindle First program The book seems to be marketed as a legal thriller, but in reality, is more of a fairly simple murder mystery that was pretty easy to solve, combined with a family drama. I have cross posted this review to its Amazon Book page.

Where the book really shines, is in the complex characters and how they interact with each other. Justin Glass is a biracial oldest son of a prominent black Congressman and a white mother. His mother is part of the leading political family in St. Louis.

His father wants to retire and promote him as his congressional replacement, but Justin's younger Brother is much more political than he, and unfortunately less capable. This causes problem between Justin and his younger brother, even though Justin doesn't really want a political life.

His white grandfather, a retired federal judge, wants him to join a prestigious law firm and make money. He is convinced he can pull some strings and find Justin a pretty good position in the St Louis legal community.

To complicate matters more, Justin's wife died before the story starts and Leaves him with an 11 year old daughter. This throws Justin into a deep depression that makes him unable to be very effective as an attorney, so money is scarce. As a result, Justin is forced to live with his daughter in the carriage house, on the family estate. Even though his family wants him to live in the 'big house', he is too stubborn and believes he should support him and his daughter by himself, even though he isn't doing a very good job.

There are two important family relationships that I don't think worked very well. First, Justin's mother is pretty one dimensional, always cooking dinner and 'sitting' for her granddaughter. In a family this dynamic, she would have quite a story of her own, and we see nothing of that. Secondly, the 'strained' relationship between Justin and his white grandfather, doesn't seem very believable, They sort of refer to the strain, but their interactions in the book always seem respectful and loving. I wonder if this was something that was an idea in an early draft that didn't work out very well and it never got fully edited out.

I know a bit about the real St Louis, and in a way St. Louis is a believable character in the book. It is down on it's luck, and less than a third of the size it used to be, and it seems no one is doing as well as they used to. The St Louis of the book 'feels' pretty real.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit, even though I knew whodunit almost from the start. It functions well as a standalone novel but I think it could serve as the first in a series of books. If so, I hope Mr Trafford considers expanding the roles of the Mom, and his very interesting Bosnian legal assistant. It's worth a reader investing some time in it.

Last edited by GlenBarrington; 07-15-2017 at 09:24 PM.
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