Book Review: Girls, Crimes, and the Ruling Body
Reviewed by Timothy Thomas
A novel that wraps crime, politics, and deception in an alluring bundle and delivers it with skillful poise
Two women who have gone missing seven years apart have one thing that connects their cases: Ryan McNeil. The brilliant chief of staff behind congressman Nickolas Somatos’s meteoric rise, Ryan leads a picturesque life, complete with a sexless marriage and the role of loving stepfather to his stepdaughter Jessica. But it soon crumbles under the weight of murder allegations that hinge on circumstantial evidence and that connect him to an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Leslie Warren.
As he becomes public enemy number one, Ryan’s search for vindication reveals an undercurrent of lies and coverups that have massive political and personal implications. The discovery that his closest relationships have been shaped by dishonesty and corruption results in a crushing revelation: in politics, trust is coerced, and power is the only real truth.
The intro to this novel goes somewhat awry on its emphasis on the vigor of youth, but it soon gives way to a thrilling story that lures you into its world of politics, conspiracy, and betrayal. Author Barry Ziman’s compellingly flawed characters speak to his talent for highlighting their humanity even as they rationalize and engage in immoral acts.
Girls, Crimes, and the Ruling Body succeeds in presenting the world in the gray areas in which it actually exists, providing readers an ever-deepening mystery where murder and politics collide to create a maelstrom that consumes everything and everyone. These gray areas give way to potentially triggering portrayals of emotional manipulation, sexual assault, and violence that might be uncomfortable for some readers, but the dynamic pacing and gripping narrative of the story combine to reduce these elements in favor of its overall plot.
I would be glad to recommend this book to its audience. Girls, Crimes, and the Ruling Body is a successful mystery thriller set against the backdrop of the author’s background as a Director of Legislation in New York and, later, a lobbyist.
Ziman’s ability shines through his storytelling as he seamlessly transitions from the personal to the political, masterfully illustrating the inevitable intertwining of the two in government. Readers will enjoy his commanding peek behind the closed doors in the halls of power, and they will revel in all the corruption that comes with it.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Print Length: 280 pages
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