Hunter Gamble for the Defense! – Atticus for the Undead, a novel by John Abramowitz (review)
Atticus for the Undead
by John Abramowitz
I grew up in a household that was supported by the legal system, in other words my dad was a lawyer. I happen to be one of the rare people who LOVE lawyers because I know just how intense it is to be one and stay true to your own beliefs without selling out for the all mighty buck. When I saw that not only was this named for one of my dad’s heroes, Atticus Finch, but it was written by an actual lawyer and a Texan (I have a thing for Texans) I was sold. When I watched a writer of zombie tales give it a fantastic review, I was sold even harder so I quickly bought a copy. It ended up at the top of my TBR pile when I really should have been reading all the books I had promised other authors to read (and not just because the author John Abramowitz harassed me daily) because I really love books about zombies (GO TEAM ZOMBIE!)
I started this Sunday evening figuring I at least could get a taste of what it was about. Wondering if I was going to be mildly interested and have to force myself to read through it. (Yes I know that sounds awful but when it comes reading because you promise to read it almost is like reading for school. I can read The Decameron over and over again when I want to but make me read it in class? I struggle through each of the 100 day tales). But I had promised John so I clicked on the Kindle and settled down with my ice tea and began to read… and read.. and squeal and tell Geoff “OHHH this is awesome”, and read and fall asleep reading only to wake up to finish reading! This book was SO much fun!
The Premise (from John’s Website On The Bird):
The next chapter in the struggle for equal rights begins!
Hunter Gamble is an idealistic young attorney in a very special area of the practice: arcane defense. Funded by enigmatic billionaire Charles McClain and aided by shy-but-energetic research attorney Kirsten Harper, he’s making the world a better place — one vampire, zombie, or werewolf client at a time. After all, they deserve their day in court too, right?
When a young zombie walks into Hunter’s office accused of murder (by brain-eating), Hunter’s idealism is tested as never before as he struggles to secure the man’s freedom. To do so, he must square off against a savvy and ambitious district attorney, contend with a judge who is deeply biased against arcanes, and stand up to a human-supremacist group which will stop at nothing — not even Hunter’s own death — to see his client convicted.
Atticus for the Undead is both a parody on the legal eagle hero of old, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird and a statement on how the legal system has treated racism and treats the uprising of new minorities and developing racism today. Except for our book the racism is against The Arcane races. The Arcane are straight out of the myths, the movies and the pages of books. We learn that in Hunter’s world “The Unveiling” happened about fifteen years ago when the vampires, witches and zombies came “out”. I found the author’s comedic take on what happens in today’s court systems with some of the over the top and ridiculous accusations made due to hysteria brought about and still holding steady because of 9/11, refreshing.
Like Atticus Finch, our protagonist Hunter Gamble leads the way in protecting the rights of these newly recognized races, The Arcane. Hunter takes on the legal struggle for The Arcane with that wonderful and passionate “brand new lawyer attitude”. Breaking away from his father’s old school law firm and striking out for the little man (or zombie in this case). Even with Hunter’s self-righteousness a little unnerving at times, made the the tale and character even more believable for me.
Within the world Hunter lives the
supernatural the Arcane (it is considered a racial slur to call them supernaturals and Hunter continually reminds us of this with inner and outer dialogue throughout the book) are persecuted and the struggle to set precident within the legal system is being fought locally; within the high schools (as one of his clients finds out), in the judicial system (as Sam the undead client finds out with a prejudiced but ethical judge) and all the way to the congressional level. Atticus for the Undead a is a reflection and statement of what many face today and not just a hell of a lot of fun to read.
I fell in love with the characters, they were well developed and rounded out. By the end of it I was frustrated, heartbroken and left wanting more from Hunter and the world of the Arcanes. It just ENDED with a horrific shock, drizzling out weakly and is the reason behind my 4 out of 5 stars. The book was strong and kept you going from page to turned page RIGHT till it ended with this fizzle. It was sad, which is ok, but disappointingly sad. Though the addition of the brainstormed titles for the book was hilarious. It still left me wanting to read more about Hunter and his trials and tribulations with the Arcane. I will be buying the next one. John is a great new emerging Indie Author. Over all this story is great and taking a original strike at a much played at plot.
I think my father is going to get a kick out of it and have made sure that when he turns on his Kindle tomorrow he finds a present from me! (Every lawyer knows how to laugh at themselves). I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys paranormal crime, humor and parody, to those that like Law and Order marathons and that CSI humor.
About the Author
“I am a long, tall Texan (very, very tall) born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Educated at Grinnell College in the great state of Iowa, I consider Iowa my second home state, and keep on good terms with both by eating barbecue AND corn. When I’m not watching way too much sci-fi/fantasy TV or reading similar books (or working, obviously), you can usually find me reading the news or playing video games. I currently live in Austin, Texas, where I work as a lawyer and author.
Everything I really need to know about storytelling, I learned from Joss Whedon (who influences my work), but I’m also a huge fan of suspense thrillers (which also influence my work), musicals (which, if I could write a musical novel, I’d be all over that), and parentheses (of which there are way too many in this bio).
Be sure to check out his new novel, The Void, as well as the first in the book & debut novel, Weaver, and my short story, The Antlerbury Tales.
Find John at Amazon where you can check out his other works mentioned above.
Image via Wikipedia