Friday, February 04, 2011
When the Devil Whistles
by Rick Acker
Allie Whitman, a temp-for-hire accountant and professional whistleblower, excels at finding and exposing corporations that over-charge on government contracts. Her lawyer and friend, Connor Norman, keeps her identity a secret while helping her rake in the money that finances Allie's opulent lifestyle.
But when she goes to work at a new corporation, the tables are suddenly turned. The corporation figures out that she's the whistleblower behind Devil to Pay. They threaten to expose her to all those corporations that hate her unless she takes down their competition--and that may mean planting false evidence. Then Allie's live-in rock-star boyfriend sells drugs to a teen at a concert, the teen dies, and Allie's worried she'll go to jail, too, if she turns her boyfriend in.
Allie's afraid to ask Connor for help since he glories in making criminals pay for their crimes. Does that mean her, too? There seems to be only one option that will keep her safe, but there's more at risk than even Allie knows.
The more I read the better I liked it.
The prologue is tasty, and lures readers in to find out what happens.
I loved the characters. Although they face problems most of us will never realize, their faultiness and realistic reactions make them likeable. The reader can easily root for both of the main protagonists. Allie deals with hidden problems from her past and her present guilt, which leads to her drinking problem. As many people do, she lives for today, and never plans for the future. She appears to be a little callous in her approach to others, but behind those exterior emotions is a person who wants approval from her friend and co-worker, Norman, forgiveness from her mother, and a person who helps those in desperate need.
Norman, on the other hand, presents an entirely different personality. He’s confident, due to his wealth and status in life, good-looking, and rather judgmental. One mind-set toward those guilty or sinful. No thought that the platform he sits upon could be knocked over. But the love he feels for Allie and the way he tries to ignore it helps to make him more human. In spite of his subtle snobbishness, I also liked the way Rick portrayed Norman’s morals which were behind some heavy decisions he makes.
The plot is a winner. Besides the engaging, main part of a whistleblower, and learning as we read how it works, the suspense and romance are fascinating and kept me reading. The contrast between well-to-do lawyer and get-your-hands-dirty accountant is great. The way Rick brought in different viewpoints from the two protagonists and the secondary characters ties in nicely as the plot reveals itself.
Allie Whitman makes a very comfortable living as a professional whistleblower. She and her lawyer, Connor Norman partners with California's Deputy Attorney General on cases to recover millions of tax payer's dollars from corrupt companies. When Allie’s latest job turns into a nightmare, Allie has a choice. Face her own secrets being revealed or run.
Conner, on the other hand, has decisions of his own to make. Hold on to his morals or crumble under the pressure to rise in the legal field. Listen to his gut feeling about Allie, or satisfy a demanding boss.
Secondary characters (the crew of the Grasp II) believe they are looking for a sunken German submarine loaded with riches. But once they reach the excavation site, they realize how wrong they are. With their lives in danger and powerless to summon help or warn authorities of the impending disaster, they battle for the right in the only way they know. Allie and Conner make personal choices that change their lives forever that ultimately envelop them in the secondary characters’ lives.
When the Devil Whistles combines an entertaining story line, a bit of romance, and an international terrorist plot to create an interesting, page turning novel.
At the center of this story is the wonderful theme of choices. A great job was done of putting characters in tough situations and allowing them to make the right or wrong choice. This aspect of the book was executed with a grace and fluidity that kept the story moving while at the same time portrayed the difficulty of making the right choice, especially when it's hard.