A racist attorney faces a crisis of conscience -- and danger -- when reluctantly defending a black man brutally beaten by police and charged with resisting arrest.
Hiram Garbuncle is a veteran criminal defense attorney—as well as a racist, miserly alcoholic. His life revolves around hoarding money, following sports, pursuing sex, drinking—and the prideful practice of law.
Alec Monceau is a black man working to support his daughter’s family in Trinidad. It is 2008, and his car carries an Obama bumper sticker. This political advertisement leads to a superfluous traffic stop and a brutal beating by police.
It goes against Garbuncle’s grain to defend a black man from a charge of violently resisting arrest, but he is so confident of winning that he is negligent in the jury selection, and a mistrial occurs. He then discovers incriminating evidence on the two cops, and his new challenge becomes how to keep himself and his client alive pending a new trial.
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Hiram Garbuncle is not just any ordinary witness. He’s a veteran defense attorney who stumbles into the beating of black man Alec Monceau during a routine traffic stop. It’s obvious that the police are racist. Unfortunately, so is Ham. This specter of a racist attorney confronting both himself and the authorities is only one of the juxtapositions of irony that Blood on Their Hands excels in presenting, along with a wry sense of humor …
It’s unusual to find a thriller that cultivates a ‘hero’ who has many issues, from prejudice to drinking … Bob Brink juggles his story with strong characters with realistic faults … (He) produces more than a legal drama as he moves from social issues of police corruption and racism to the efforts of a divorce lawyer forced to play a … criminal law role … Hiram’s psychological and moral perception follows the growth and evolution of a man unlikely to change much of anything in his set life and routines—and that’s the meat of what makes Blood on Their Hands a thoroughly engrossing standout from other crime, thriller, or courtroom dramas.
As Hiram Garbuncle finds himself in the unlikely position of battling police brutality and corruption, he changes … Astute, thought-provoking, involving, and growth-oriented, Blood on Their Hands excels in satisfying twists and turns designed to keep readers engaged on many levels, up to its satisfying conclusion.
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
A Wonderful Novel Featuring a Character for the Ages
Almost every quality of (the lawyer Garbuncle) – his racism, his slovenliness, his drunkenness, and his monumental cheapness – is negative, yet, ultimately, his shrewd and courageous actions are indeed admirable, and his racist attitude recedes as he gets to know his black client.
Garbuncle’s flaws make him a memorable and tremendously amusing character …The generous humor in the novel belies the fact that Brink explores serious issues … The assault by white cops on the Trinidadian immigrant Alec Monceau, followed by the subsequent violent cover-ups involving Klan members, tell a story that is at once sadly familiar, but enlivened by distinctive details.
Brink has a gift for characterization … Garbuncle’s wobbly instability keeps the reader guessing right up to the tremendously satisfying and exciting climax.
Blood on Their Hands (is) a novel that manages to examine serious issues in wildly entertaining ways.
Michael Hartnett, author, The Blue Rat
With a grim picture of racism embodied in the theme, Brink’s latest introduces a racist and miserly alcoholic yet lovable hero, a criminal defense attorney who finds himself in the middle of violent conspiracies involving Klan members.
The assault by white cops on the Trinidadian immigrant Alec Monceau gets Hiram Garbuncle, a hard-core racist and alcoholic and a veteran criminal defense attorney, drawn into the investigation and leads to the latter ending up representing Alec in court, albeit reluctantly. But soon the trial becomes an exercise in keeping himself and his client alive.
Powered by expert plotting and topnotch characterization, the story pulls readers in, keeping them turning pages until the exhilarating, tension-filled ending. Imaginative prose and sharp dialogue are bonus points.
Despite the issues of racism and corruption at its heart, the novel is a suspense-filled, fast-paced crime drama that lovers of finely constructed crime thrillers won’t want to miss.
The Prairies Book Review
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Author Bob Brink is giving away his book of short stories (no strings attached). Most of the stories in THE WAY IT WAS: Short Stories and Tall Tales are set in real life and several in fantasy, with a few whimsical poems thrown in for good measure. Ups and downs in the life of the single adult is a pervasive theme, and the compilation is redolent with nostalgia.
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