Don’t Get Caught

Midwest Book Review

Legal thriller readers will find Don’t Get Caught a powerful story made all the more intriguing by its roots in a real crime that occurred in the Midwest. Jamie Stoudt loosely bases this story on these events, fictionalizing the narrative for added dramatic impact.

Victor Driscoll is a respected Minnesota statesman who runs a truck leasing company. Narrated by his son, Victor’s activities, business, and dubious actions are revealed with a wry tone of truth and insight:“His little business had more customers than he could count, but they all needed financing, and Dad claimed all bankers were bastards back in the seventies. He was well educated, a veteran, a great salesman, and everybody’s friend. Unfortunately, he didn’t know a damn thing about heavy trucks, so that first day of business at Minnesota On-Road Equipment Company (More-Co) was one step on the long and exciting journey toward its failure.”

Respected in the community, Victor Driscoll is also a war hero. But his sons Kelly and Ryan become involved when evidence of fraud emerges to threaten everything Victor has built from the leasing business. The truths they discover about their father’s activities and subterfuge will shake the community.

The sons, too, hold different goals in becoming involved in the investigation. Ryan only wants to exonerate his father, while Kelly wants the real truth to come to light. It seems unlikely that either can achieve their goal by hiring foul-mouthed, temperamental office manager/investigator Margaret Kratski and equally feisty, angry ex-Marine Donna Carlasccio to help them track down the truth and perps.

As the unlikely foursome embark on an adventure of exposé and discovery, readers will findDon’t Get Caught replete in moral and ethical conundrums, dubious business operations and concepts, and a sense of the times that brings the economic, social, and political milieu to life.

Vic Driscoll is playing a dangerous game, indeed. It’s one that will ultimately threaten his reputation and his wealth, and which draws his sons into the future of More-Co Leasing in ways neither could have anticipated.

To callDon’t Get Caught a legal thriller alone would be to do it an injustice. The political, social, and psychological twists and turns, spiced by irony and humor along the way, reach out to readers with more than just a foray into legal concerns.

Jamie Stoudt is especially skilled at portraying confrontations between characters which are action-packed, spicy, and wry:“The look Rhonda Jane gave me could weld steel, but once she figured out that a staredown might take the rest of the week, she gave it up. “I need to talk to my attorney.” Rhonda Jane got out of the booth and stormed toward the kitchen and the back offices. The sheriff turned toward his lead deputy and said, loud enough for her to hear, “Lane, please follow Ms. Teske, and if she picks up anything other than her purse, give me a shout. If she heads to the ladies’ room, follow her in. She can pee at home.”

Stoudt’s ability to capture moral, ethical, family, and interpersonal dilemmas against the backdrop of a bigger picture involving schemes and plots creates a thriller filled with satisfying twists and turns.

Don’t Get Caught is fast-paced, nicely populated by intriguing characters, and filled with questions about motivation, good and bad intentions, and business interests gone awry.

Thriller readers are in for a treat.