Thursday, November 21, 2013


Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson is a refreshing new legal thriller that is tight, taut and terrific. If you believe in the art of storytelling, then this is for you.

It’s October 16, 2013 and Kieran Mullaney, a new hire at the shuttered Hanford Nuclear Facility, is working the night shift. Also inside the facility is Poppy Martin, an old hand, a lifer, marked by loyalty. His father had worked for the company before him. He feels that he is one among the owners. The plant is supposed to be non-active, just being guarded and maintained until it is cleaned up and closed for good. Nothing seems to be amiss until three loud explosions shook the facility.

Eight months later, Emily Hart is at work in the Public Defender’s Office, King County Courthouse, Seattle, Washington, when she received a voicemail from Kieran Mullaney, a friend from whom she have not heard in four years. He’s anxious and desperate, needing a lawyer. He tells her that he’s dosed out at Hanford with radiation. When he approached the company they are unwilling to help. His health is destroyed, his questions are unanswered, and the explosion officially didn’t happen. He filed a lawsuit against the company but his lawyer withdraws from the case just before the trial. He asks her to help him out in suing Hanford.

Ryan Hart is a successful lawyer, and he is the father of Emily. But he’s estranged from his daughter, and things have been going from bad to worse after the death of Emily’s mother. When his daughter asks him to help Kieran, he couldn’t say no and decides to step in as this could be a blessing in disguise. He hopes that as he works on the case he could mend fences with his daughter, and start a fresh chapter in their family life.

But as Kieran seek justice someone is willing to go to any length to bury the truth. With the people at Hanford in denial and cover-up mode, will Ryan and Emily be able to expose the truth? What really happened at the facility that October night? Is the facility harboring any secrets? Will there be any hope for Kieran if he is really exposed to radiation?

If you love action, suspense, intrigue, conspiracy and courtroom drama, you’ll enjoy this book. Recent I reviewed John Grisham’s Sycamore Row and James Patterson’s Cross My Heart, and I’m sure fans of the two authors will love Todd’s style of writing.

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd's career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson's first novel, debuted in 2012.  Todd's second novel, Critical Reaction, is published November 2013. Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.

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