KAYE TROUT'S BOOK REVIEWS 1

I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Friday, August 04, 2006

THE OREGON PROJECT by Natasha Roit

Tapestry Press
2000 E. Lamar, Ste 600
Arlington, TX 76006
www.tapestrypressinc.com
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Rating: Excellent
ISBN: 193081948X, $14.95, 198 pp


I would like to start this review by telling you a little about Natasha Roit, the author, and what she has brought to this novel. Natasha was born in the Soviet Union and came to the US when she was 14. She graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. As a lawyer she represented the Browns against O.J. Simpson in the custody battle for Nicole Brown’s children and won on appeal. She earned the Clay Award in 2003, which named her the California Trial Lawyer of the Year and in 2004 was named one the top 50 Female Attorneys in California by the Daily Journal.

The Oregon Project is a well-written, intricately woven mystery of multiple facets bound together in a realistic fictional tale with a strong theme about the power and political pressures existent within our current justice system. In this tangled web we have DA Grant Bellinger and Assistant DA Mitchell Landau in an election battle, several real estate scam artists (George Stone and Charlie Parks)–The Oregon Project, the beautiful Tess Lowe, and organized Chinese crime. Allow me give you a sample of Natasha’s writing from page 1:

"On any given night, this alley was permeated with a brew of dumpster trash and drug-filled urine. Its filth was matched only by its darkness and the scent of gut wrenching fear emitted by anyone who happened to turn into it by accident or, as in this case, was brought here against his will.

"He stopped feeling his hands somewhere midtown. Luckily, the rope cut off circulation and relieved him of the pain. Now, he knew it was only a matter of time–his time. The stench of the alley hit as soon as he was dragged out of the back of the black sedan. There were three of them, but he could only feel two now, one on each arm, pushing him further and further into the abyss of this strange location, which would soon become his final resting place. Where was the third? Did he stay with the car? Was he the one holding the gun, and would put the bullet in his head? Did any of it really matter?"

And the essence of this book from page 197:

"In truth, it was not hard to explain at all. The first two years being the district attorney were, in short, unbelievably satisfying. Mitch was exactly where he wanted to be. He worked hard, made good changes, and made the right decisions. But then came the new campaign, the fundraising, the contributions and the expected promises in return. He was being challenged by one of his subordinates, a woman he respected and liked.

"This was nothing compared to his battle with Bellinger, but the scent was rising. He could feel himself softening his once hard-line stances in order to appease, even slightly, those who would help him get reelected. He was breaking no laws, and crossing no lines. But he felt himself slipping into the Bellinger abyss, tasting, and for the first time, understanding what must have turned Bellinger from a good prosecutor into a corrupt politician.

In a good system of laws, this was a bad system of politics. In order to stay in power to do good, one had to succumb to allowing some bad. Nor did he see a good solution to this quagmire, although he contemplated it often. If, instead, the district attorneys were appointed for life, the way U.S. Supreme Court justices were, there would be no accountability other than one’s own conscience, a rather weak monitoring system. . . ."

Natasha Roit has used her knowledge and legal experience to create this excellent, contemporary mystery. The Oregon Project is her debut novel, and I highly recommend this engaging, fast-paced read which will be available September 2006.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - August 4, 2006 - Copyright


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