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Thursday, December 21, 2017

REVIEW: The Solicitor by Sean Keefer (Mystery)

Greetings Friends!

Today I have a review of the mystery The Solicitor by Sean Keefer, the second book in the Noah Parks mystery series.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.


Genre:  Mystery
Publication Date:  July 2017


When you make your living fighting for justice, the last place you expect to wake up is behind bars.
Attorney Noah Parks has spent his life keeping people out of jail. When he's charged with the murder of a candidate for Charleston County Solicitor he finds himself on the wrong side of the law for a crime he says he didn't commit.
No longer fighting for others and now relying on the help of the few people he does trust, Noah must fight to clear his name and find the real killer before it's too late.
His search will lead him through a maze of deceptions, lies, family turmoil and treachery that spans generations.
You can order your copy on Amazon HERE.


The sun’s arrival just as it cleared the horizon had always marked my favorite time of day. It wasn’t unusual to find me at dawn on the Carolina shore gazing to the east in anticipation, the ocean breeze softly brushing my face. The fleeting moments when the first rays of sunlight painted an explosion of color were more than enough to leave me knowing I was fortunate having witnessed it. Those, those were my favorite mornings and anything that followed was a bit less complicated, easier to handle.

I found myself in desperate need of such a morning.

But today there would be only cold concrete.

For the past five days, my sunrise had been a sliver of light crawling across the floor of my jail cell.
At first, I’d looked forward to it, but on the third day I realized I’d need a lot more to get me through the day, otherwise, that mere slice of sun would soon be pushing me into the icy grip of depression.

I’d quickly learned jail had a way of ushering in melancholy, even for the most optimistic. Most everyone inside, even the guards, were simply miserable.

My bail hearing had been a waste of everyone’s time. Accused murders don’t get bail with their first request, sometimes not on the second, if at all. The fact I’m a lawyer wasn’t helping. The last thing a judge wants to do is give the impression that a lawyer, particularly a criminal attorney like me, is entitled to special treatment.

Things change fast. Days earlier, my life, while not perfect, had been good.

I’d taken my girlfriend to the airport to catch a late-night flight to Chicago. She’d recently relocated to Charleston, but was wrapping up her ties to Chicago.
After returning from the airport, I turned on ESPN, eager to hear what the talking heads had to say about the South Carolina Gamecock’s next football game. As was the case for most Gamecock fans, their football season sanity ebbed or flowed with the team’s weekly performance.

It was a cool fall night and the windows were open as I watched TV from bed, my dog at my feet. Both he and I looked up as we heard a car outside–odd for that time of night in our quiet neighborhood.

The sound of the doorbell was even more unexpected, so much so I didn’t immediately get up. Rarely did anyone just drop by, especially near midnight. The second ring was immediately followed by a knock. I got out of bed, pulled on jeans and a T-shirt and went down the stairs. Austin, my Australian Shepherd, was barking and jumping beside me as I unlocked the door. He sat on my command.
I opened the door to the sight of a tall black man in plainclothes with a Charleston Police Department badge on his belt. Three uniformed Charleston County deputy sheriffs flanked him. Three police cars occupied my drive. An unmarked cruiser in the cul-de-sac completed the scene. Thankfully none had their lights on. I shifted my gaze back to the officers. Not a smile among them.

This couldn’t be good, I remember thinking.

“Noah, how about I come in?” Emmett Gabriel said. He looked me straight in the eyes. We were the same height, just under six feet tall, but the lack of a smile, his badge, and the deputies that flanked him made him feel bigger and much stronger than me.

I’d heard his voice many times before. At the police station, in his backyard, over a meal, on my back deck, other times through the years but never near midnight with other police officers standing on my front porch.

“Since when have you ever asked permission to come in the house?  What’s wrong?”

“Noah, let’s talk inside?”

I just stood in the doorway. Silent and motionless.

One of the officers behind him coughed, jarring me back to reality.

I stepped to the side. “Sorry, certainly, come in.”

“Wait outside,” Gabriel said to the deputies.
We walked down the short hallway into my living room in silence.

“Where’s Anna Beth?”

A feeling of panic ran through me as he asked about my girlfriend.

“Is she okay?”  
“As far as I know. She not here?” 
“No. Chicago trip.”

The feeling of panic faded to one of wonder, wondering why at midnight a detective I knew was standing, unannounced, in my living room while three other anxious officers were staged on my front porch. I asked why he was here. Wonder quickly faded with the next words I heard.

“The officers outside have a warrant for your arrest.”

Having never been one to miss the obvious, I remember uttering my insightful reply, “A warrant?”
“Yes, for the murder of Andrew Stephens.


While this is technically the second book in the Noah Parks mystery series, it can definitely be read as a standalone without the feeling that you are missing anything. It will be interesting to now go back and read the first book to perhaps gain just a little more insight into Noah's character and his motivations. 

One of the highlights for me about this story was getting the opportunity to revisit Charleston through the author's descriptive writing of the landscape. Each new location was beautifully written with just enough insider information to create a well crafted tour and historic adventure through the city. 

I think that we've all read or watched a case where a person gets tangled up in a crime that they vehemently deny perpetrating, but somehow the evidence suggests or is steered towards that person's guilt. This book does a fantastic job of depicting just that and how easy it can be for someone's entire life to so quickly and inconceivably change. We like to think that justice is always on our side, but it doesn't take much for innuendo and misunderstandings to quickly shape into versions of the truth. It was so fascinating to watch Noah, a lawyer himself, have such misgivings about the law, and ultimately, his own future, especially given that he wasn't exactly a political or legal cutthroat much less even involved in what many would consider the seedy underbelly of those organizations.

The story is extremely fast-paced, expressing the almost exact frenetic energy Noah demonstrates as he runs around trying to figure out what happened to his friend in order to prove his innocence. Many of his interactions with professionals lacked professionalism and credibility in my opinion; however, this didn't detract from an otherwise entertaining story. There are just enough characters to create enough tension and suspense without becoming convoluted as well as showcasing just how under the radar the antagonist was all along. 

Overall, this was a solid mystery with small nods to fans of legal and political thrillers. 


Sean Keefer was born and raised in the Carolinas. As far back as he can remember he has always enjoyed the written word. From roaming the stacks of any library he could find to burning the midnight oil crafting his own writing, Sean was never far away from the printed page.

Through the years he has worked in restaurants, tobacco fields and warehouses, renting boats, as a photographer, as a musician, as a salesman and as an attorney. From his collective experience he has honed his ability to observe and create. That is to say observe that which is around him to allow him to create his fiction.

While Sean has experimented in a number of styles and genres through the years, he has focused on mystery and suspense generally involving the legal profession given his experience in the field.

His first novel, The Trust, is a tale of mystery and suspense set in Charleston, South Carolina. Recently The Trust has been recognized with two national awards for excellence in fiction. 

Sean lives and works on the coast of South Carolina.

Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book and Sean Keefer for the opportunity to read and review this book. It was an absolute pleasure!

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and author extras!

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