Mike Papantonio. Law and Vengeance. New York: Select Books, 2017. Print.
I almost did not read this book. After the Prologue, which did a terrific job of presenting the problem which would be the story, there were a few chapters of such exaggerated political correctness that I almost gave up. When lobbyist Strahan says that the “family values crowd” enjoys pole dancing, I was simply thinking that some people will do anything to get into the New York publishing world which seems to value p. c. above all.
However, shortly after that, one of the righteous lawyers in the story complains that the Obama Justice Department never took whistleblowers seriously. Law and Vengeance knocks politics of all stripes.
The most righteous lawyer and main character of Law and Justice is Gina Romano, a lawyer in the Bergman-Deketomis Law Firm of Spanish Trace, Florida. A whistleblower from Arbalest Arms has said that the company knew that its latest and greatest laser gunsight did not work right in high heat or humidity. As the firm begins to look into this because some innocent people died, Romano and firm partner Angus Moore take up the case. When Moore loses control of a car he is driving with Romano in the passenger seat, he is killed and Romano is badly injured. Angus’s dying words are that he suspects this is murder.
We meet Ivan Verloc, known in the Dark Web as Ivanhoe, who is a computer and electronics wizard. It is clear that he has parts of the law firm bugged and is able to pass on a lot of information to Mr. Strahan who is working for Arbalest. Neither Ivanhoe nor the Arbalest corporate types really respect Strahan even as he does their dirty work. Ivanhoe may be too clever for his own good.
Besides Ivanhoe, we meet another computer geek, Foul Henry, who seems to know as much as Ivanhoe and helps the firm track down its electronic surveillance. Foul Henry seems to be a paranoid type loosely based on John McAfee (though McAfee is more sociable).
We meet a few other interesting characters. Gina’s lazy, barely employed brother shows up looking for a handout. He has a terribly sad sob story about how his fiancée left him for his business partner. Because they grew up in a dysfunctional home, Gina tends to mother Peter.
Gina also has a loyal boyfriend Bryan who is a veterinarian. He is much more of a free spirit than Gina. This makes him attractive to her, but also causes her to suspect him of being unfaithful. (They have been going together for over a year. If she really likes him, why does she keep him dangling?)
Much of Law and Vengeance is about the investigation that Gina and her associates conduct. We meet some reluctant witnesses and a reluctant Justice Department attorney. The feds really do not want to take a case based on evidence coming from engineers until they do when it looks like corporate corruption. Government officials seek publicity?
Law and Vengeance is a wild ride. While the readers begin to understand that Angus Moore was indeed murdered, we also understand that it would be nearly impossible to put a case together to convict the murderer. We also never really know if the murderer did it on his own, or if he was instructed by someone in Arbalest to kill the attorneys.
That is where the vengeance in the title comes in. At times we all desire a righting of wrongs, a kind of vengeance. We also know that vengeance outside the law can make matters much worse. Even the Bible says to avoid vengeance, let God take care of it (See Romans 12:19). Let us just say that vengeance does happen, but it appears that it comes out of nowhere. Maybe God really was behind it.