A decent, and prescient, courtroom thriller *UPDATED*

For my birthday, my husband gave me an Amazon Kindle.  It’s a sensible gift for me, since I read voraciously and often find myself waiting around in various places because of carpools.  Since the Kindle fits in my purse, I always have something to read.

The only problem with the Kindle is the expense.  Hardback books are 50% off, but I would never pay $10.00 for a book.  Paperback books are barely discounted at all, and I would never pay $8.00 for a book.  So, I do three things:  I still haunt my library; I buy “disposabooks” at Goodwill (novels for about $1.39 each); and I download the free books that publishers put up at the Kindle site in hopes of sparking interesting in a writer.  (You can see what I mean at the Kindle bestseller page.)  A couple of weeks ago, I lucked out when I found a series of JAG Corp legal thrillers by a guy named Don Brown.

I’d never heard of Don Brown before finding his books, and quickly discovered why:  The books are Christian themed and are from a Christian publisher.  In other words, this is not a genre that would normally cross my radar.  Not being a Christian myself, I don’t seek out Christian literature.  The lure of free thrillers, however, was too much for me.

I just finished Brown’s first book, Treason, and am now reading his second, Hostage. Treason was an interesting book.  Brown’s writing is a little wooden, but no more than you’d expect from a first time novelist.  Despite the writing, though, there’s a lot to like about the books.  First, as a lawyer, I found the courtroom scenes and the description of trial proceedings interesting.  The twist of a military setting just added a bit of spice.  Second, I liked his lead characters, who are moral people (in large part due to the Christian element), and who grapple with legal situations familiar to all lawyers.  Third, I really enjoyed his abiding love for the Navy, which comes through in every word.  Even the uniforms delight Brown.

Mostly, though, I liked the book because of Brown’s honesty about Islamic terrorism.  Brown has no interesting in politically correct tropes about peace.  He recognizes that we are at war with a fanatical element in Islam, which in turn is supported by passivity and political correctness. In Treason, published in 2005, Brown showed himself to be especially prescient.  The plot involves Islamic members of the military who use their special access to commit acts of terrorism directly against the military — shades of Nidal Hassan.  Brown also grapples with whether Islamic terrorists who are engaged in guerrilla activities against the United States should be tried in regular criminal courts or in military courts.  That, too, could have been ripped out of today’s headlines.  It’s no surprise, given that his protagonist is a JAG officer that Brown sides with a military tribunal, but he also makes cogent arguments for doing so — arguments that could be made, and have been made, with respect to Holder’s/Obama’s insane decision to try KSM in New York’s federal courts.

So, if you’re looking for an easy read, military thriller, with strong Christian themes, I can definitely recommend Don Brown’s books.  They are fun, and they have a crystal ball element of prescience that I always appreciate.

UPDATE:  Just finished Hostage.  As I suspected it would be, it’s better than Treason.  From one book to the next, Brown’s writing became more polished and smoother.  The first book was a good debut effort, but Brown is now getting his writing chops.

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  • suek

    If you enjoy mysteries, have you ever read the “Rabbi” series?  The titles ran days of the week and something the Rabbi did.  “Monday the Rabbi Stayed Home” was one of them, I think.  Obviously, this limited the author to 7 novels…but at the time I read them, the internet wasn’t readily available so I didn’t do a search.  I really should – just to see if the author broke away from the 7 day limitation!  Anyway… very good books…a bit on the theme of Chesterton’s Father Brown series – and instructional in Judaism in a very basic way for someone who had little or no contact with Judaism in a religious sense.

  • suek

    Heh.  Looks like another exploration project!

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I read, and very much enjoyed, the Rabbi series back when I was in high school.  No yen to read them again, though.

  • suek

    Well see…you were in high school then.  Now you’ve got your legal degree and it requires that courtroom drama to suck you in…!!!  Such progress we make when we get educated…!

  • http://lookingforlissa.wordpress.com lookingforlissa

    Hi Book,

    Free Kindle books can be found in a bunch of places:

    Also, don’t forget that highlighted passages from your Kindle can be accessed online for easy cut-and-pasting!

  • Gringo

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    Lissa, thanks for the extensive list of websites for free Kindle books. I doubt I will be buying a Kindle any time soon, as I have plenty of books  at home I haven’t  read yet, in addition to libraries and used bookstores. But it is useful to have that information if I ever change my mind.
    Reading a book is much more comfortable than reading from a screen. I wonder how a Kindle or a similar compares.

  • Gringo

    I forgot to preview to get out the dreck. This preview  indicates there will be no dreck. Let’s see.

  • suek

    No dreck, Gringo.
    Of course, nothing else either.
    I don’t understand your problem.  I’d probably have to know more to understand why you’re having the trouble you have.
    Ignorance is bliss.  At least sometimes.

  • Doug

    I was really surprised when I compared the cost of the most recent book purchased I’d made versus their Kindle versions to see that a) they didn’t offer many of the books, and b) in some cases they were MORE expensive on the Kindle versus a regular book, and c) when they were cheaper they weren’t much cheaper.  I think in the end buying all of the books they had on Kindle was 23 cents cheaper or something like that.  I’m sure they’re relying more on convenience to drive sales but I really don’t understand how an electronic version could cost MORE from the same retailer than mailing a physical book to me, especially since they’re paying the shipping.

  • suek

    That Amazon deal still bothers me.  If they can suck a book back out of your Kindle for perfectly legal reasons, they can also suck one back for _any_ reason.
    Also…what happens if you lose/damage/destroy your Kindle?  do the “books” belong to the particluar device, or do they belong to you the person?  Would they be re-issued to a new Kindle if you requested it?
    I think I like _real_ books.  My husband has been playing with the idea of getting one of the electronic books…they’d be smart to have a rental program of some kind for people like him who _think_ they’d like one, but aren’t certain.  He’d spend the money if he _knew_ he’d like one, but doesn’t want to fork out that kind of money when he’s not at all sure.

  • http://lookingforlissa.wordpress.com lookingforlissa

    Suek, I understand your concerns, but I don’t stress about them.  For the taking-back of books, I think they learned their lesson over the 1984 affair; not only did they give me roughly 6X the value of the book, the CEO issued one of the more sincere apologies I’ve seen of late.  It wasn’t “sorry if you were inconvenienced,” but more like “wow we totally screwed up and deservedly got smacked for it, we’re so sorry and we’ll learn from these well-earned scars.”

    As for the other, if you buy books from Amazon.com they enter your library and can be downloaded and re-downloaded to anyone who shares your book-buying credit card.  Mike and I share books all the time.

  • suek

    >>I think they learned their lesson over the 1984 affair; not only did they give me roughly 6X the value of the book, the CEO issued one of the more sincere apologies I’ve seen of late. >>
    Yeah…but that’s Amazon.  I’m not really worried about Amazon.
    You have a “book-buying credit card”?  Does that mean you have a standard type credit account that’s joint, or is it a special books-only card?
    Speaking about books – this article link is actually on-topic…there’s a link to a book in it!

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