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‘The Trial’ is a whirlwind of a story

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"The Trial" is a novel by Larry D. Thompson.

“The Trial” is a novel by Larry D. Thompson.

“THE TRIAL,” by Larry D. Thompson, Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99, 306 pages (f)

After collapsing in the courtroom due to a stomach ulcer, Luke Vaughan decides it is time for a change in lifestyle. Only in his 40s, he realized the late hours and hectic life of a trial attorney were literally beginning to kill him. So he decided it was time to hang up his coat, gather his things and take the daughter he barely even knew to his home town of San Marcos, Texas, to live a slower life.

While Luke deals with the struggles of getting to know his daughter and the challenges of being a single father, a pharmaceutical CEO attempts to save his flailing company. Having tested Exxacia, a new antibiotic, on two other continents, Dr. Alfred Kingsbury feels it is now time to bring it to the United States. Against the advice of his analysts who say there are too many complications related to Exxacia, Kingsbury pushes the Federal Drug Administration to approve it. No tactic seems to be below this CEO.

These two seemingly unrelated stories collide as Luke's now college-age daughter, Samantha, participates in the Exxacia drug trial. Samantha quickly develops complications. Not being able to afford Samantha's treatments, Luke quickly realizes he must sue the pharmaceutical company to save his daughter's life and get Exxacia pulled from the market.

A classic David-versus-Goliath story, "The Trial" chronicles the struggles of a single father and small-town lawyer as he attempts to take on a multinational pharmaceutical company.

Overall, the story was interesting, but the writing was not without faults.

With 120 chapters — each focusing on a different time or a different set of people — jam-packed into 306 pages, it felt like the author simply had problems focusing. While these pseudo-chapters were all interesting in their own right, the author tries to tell six stories simultaneously. This book would have been strengthened by rearranging some of those fragmented paragraphs into more consistent thoughts.

Compounding the problem are large gaps in time. This book comes out so choppy that it became a difficult one to read. It was difficult to keep groups of people and events organized because the author never stayed with one for more than five pages.

While this book had the potential to be a fun and engaging read, it lacked focus, consistency and flow. The story was interesting and the characters relatable, but the author micromanaged them all into something straining to read.

Kevin Whitmer is a chef living in West Valley City with his wife and two children. His email is k.r.whitmer@gmail.com.