Maximilian’s Treasure by James D. Bell

Maximilian’s Treasure by James D. Bell
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full length (350 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Just days after their dramatic courtroom victory in the “Case of the Century,” Mississippi lawyers, John Brooks and Jackson Bradley find themselves embroiled in an even bigger case. The respected patriarch of a Choctaw family is murdered in a drive-by shooting during a family gathering on their farm. His grandson pursues the murderers. Three “rednecks” suspected in the drive-by shooting are found on the farm, dead. The grandson is charged with their murder.

The sensational news that the victims were scalped grips the attention and imagination of the media. Expecting a resumption of the Wild West range wars, the world press descends upon Philadelphia, Mississippi. Will John Brooks live long enough to find the love of his life? Will Bradley live long enough to find his true treasure? The fate of nations, tribes and people will be decided in battles fought simultaneously in a Central American jungle, in a courtroom in Mississippi and in the hearts of the people in this epic adventure.
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In addition to defending the criminal charges, John and Jackson must protect the farm from efforts to take it from the family. Rumors that a vast treasure is hidden on the family farm place Brooks and Bradley in the center of a deadly power struggle that spans centuries and continents. Just when John needs them the most, Jackson leaves to chase rumors of treasure and Karen leaves to pursue a man who “appreciates” her. The only person left to help John is a mole planted in his office by his opponents.

A homicidal maniac obsessed with a desire to murder Brooks, Bradley and Karen stalks them. Mystery, romance, murders, and courtroom drama consume Brooks, while Bradley pursues a trail of clues from Mississippi to a sunken Caribbean wreck, to a hidden jungle valley in Chiapas. Bradley isn’t the only one on the trail of Maximilian’s Treasure. Three ruffians, a wealthy adventurer with a private army, an exotic beauty, and the homicidal maniac are only a few of those in pursuit.

I got this book as a paperback. Rarely ever do I read anything that isn’t on an e-reader. I don’t like to read paperbacks. They are hard for me to hold and I can’t change the print size. But this looked like a good book. Well, no matter how hard it was to hold, I couldn’t put the thing down. I read 300 pages in 3 sittings.

This story does at one point switch back and forth between occurring actions. This can be confusing sometimes but it didn’t bother me this time. Each part was quite clear, and it seemed as if they began to weave together. I think the only thing that bothered me was being upset with the author that I couldn’t find out soon enough or read fast enough to know what was going to happen in in each section. I don’t think most authors would be upset by such a complaint though.

There are many important characters in Bell’s book. The main lawyer, John, made me think of Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith goes to Washington. You know, that kind of character that seems somewhat naive and yet behind the scenes is a shrewd, smart man. One who can use his naivete as a distinct advantage. This is not to say there are a few times John isn’t a little slow on the uptake, but it is most certainly not in the courtroom. John’s partner Jackson is also an interesting character. One you could easily picture in a tv series as one of those slow-going, smart as can be, private detectives. Do you see what’s happening here? James Bell made characters that I have perfect pictures of in my mind. I can even tell you what Karen, John’s assistant, looked like or Peter the young kid they helped. To write well enough to have created a picture of pretty well every character in your reader’s mind is good writing. I suppose that is why I enjoyed the book so much.

In researching his work, I found only a couple of books published by James D. Bell. I sure hope he’s working on another one.

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