Meet Hiram Garbuncle, a seasoned criminal defense attorney with an unquenchable thirst for money and liquor, supplemented by sports and sex. His life is a delicate balance between law’s hallowed halls and the bottom of a whiskey bottle.
Across town, Alec Monceau is eking out a living as a computer salesman, striving to support his daughter’s family in Trinidad. In the pivotal year of 2008, his car sport an Obama bumper sticker—a seemingly innocuous political endorsement that draws him into a terrifying ordeal of an unjust traffic stop and a savage police assault.
Garbuncle, an avowed alcoholic and cynic, finds himself torn between his miserly instincts and a compelling pro bono case. His certainty of a triumphant defense makes him reckless, leading to a mistrial. But when he unearths damning evidence against the police officers, his mission mutates: It’s no longer just about winning a case; it’s about ensuring survival for himself and his client, while a new trial looms.
Blood on Their Hands finds its muse in the cinematic masterpieces of Gran Torino and My Cousin Vinny, forging a mesmerizing narrative from suspense and thrills, sharp twists and comic relief, and riveting courtroom drama. Amid the intense action sequences and scenes intimating lust, humor rises like a benevolent phoenix, lightening the deep pathos of a tragic love story.
This tale teems with vibrant characters, piquant dialogue, mesmerizing twists and turns, and a wrenching moral dilemma, delivering a message that resonates in our time.
But at its heart, “Blood on Their Hands” is a transformative journey—a poignant saga of redemption against all odds. Prepare to be enthralled, amused, and deeply moved by this remarkable novel.
Reviews for the Book
Hiram Garbuncle is a criminal defense attorney in Florida living a messy life. He drinks too much, obsesses over sex, and appears in court so disheveled a judge chastises him. And despite his routine protests to the contrary, he's something of a racist. He witnesses officers Peter Bullard and Larry Pickens pull over a Black driver and beat him; his only "offense" is having an Obama sticker on his car. Alec Monceau is the victim in question. He's from Trinidad and has been diligently working in the United States in order to send money home to his family. Garbuncle reluctantly ... defends Alec in court, and a verdict is stymied by a hung jury. Later, Garbuncle learns from Donna Malone, another client, that the two cops in question are members of the Ku Klux Klan and likely sabotaged her car in order to keep that incriminating information under wraps. Now, as Garbuncle digs deeper into his investigation, his own life becomes threatened. ... there's plenty of easy sentimentality. Garbuncle is an entertaining protagonist—his life is so insistently chaotic it almost seems like an expression of authenticity—but he's ... a hopelessly cynical man who finds an opportunity for some measure of moral redemption. Brink keeps the plot briskly paced and the novel as a whole brief ... An intriguing lead ... Kirkus Reviews (the gold standard of book reviews) With a grim picture of racism embodied in the theme, Brink's latest introduces a racist and miserly alcoholic yet lovable hero, a criminal defense attorney who finds himself in the middle of violent conspiracies involving Klan members. The assault by white cops on the Trinidadian immigrant Alec Monceau gets Hiram Garbuncle, a hard-core racist and alcoholic and a veteran criminal defense attorney, drawn into the investigation and leads to the latter ending up representing Alec in court, albeit reluctantly. But soon the trial becomes an exercise in keeping himself and his client alive. Powered by expert plotting and topnotch characterization, the story pulls readers in, keeping them turning pages until the exhilarating, tension-filled ending. Imaginative prose and sharp dialogue are bonus points. Despite the issues of racism and corruption at its heart, the novel is a suspense-filled, fast-paced crime drama that lovers of finely constructed crime thrillers won't want to miss. Deliciously readable! The Prairies Book Review Hiram Garbuncle is not just any ordinary witness. He's a veteran defense attorney who stumbles into the beating of black man Alec Monceau during a routine traffic stop. It's obvious that the police are racist. Unfortunately, so is Ham. This specter of a racist attorney confronting both himself and the authorities is only one of the juxtapositions of irony that Blood on Their Hands excels in presenting, along with a wry sense of humor that makes the social inspection both involving and unexpected on many levels. It's unusual to find a thriller that cultivates a 'hero' who has many issues, from prejudice to drinking. Hiram is forced to rise above his innate perceptions and tendency to be lazy by circumstances and friends that push him to be something better than he usually is. From courtroom confrontations to the feelings and attitudes of those who testify and interact with Ham and his client Alec, Bob Brink juggles his story with strong characters with realistic faults; social circumstances that test everyone's beliefs, values, and approaches to life; and the wellsprings of lies and truths that reflect deeper issues both in individual lives and society as a whole. Brink produces more than a legal drama as he moves from social issues of police corruption and racism to the efforts of a divorce lawyer forced to play a mostly relinquished criminal law role, which hits too close to his own prejudices, inherent laziness, and singular perceptions of right and wrong. Hiram's psychological and moral perception follows the growth and evolution of a man unlikely to change much of anything in his set life and routines—and that's the meat of what makes Blood on Their Hands a thoroughly engrossing standout from other crime, thriller, or courtroom dramas. As Hiram Garbuncle finds himself in the unlikely position of battling police brutality and corruption, he changes. This process of confrontation, realization, and growth drives a story that keeps readers guessing about just how far Ham will go to both realize new abilities and purposes and form a revised vision of life and his place in it. Astute, thought-provoking, involving, and growth-oriented, Blood on Their Hands excels in satisfying twists and turns designed to keep readers engaged on many levels, up to its satisfying conclusion. D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review