Blood on Their Hands

This political advertisement leads to a superfluous traffic stop and a brutal beating by police.
Share with your network:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Book Description:

A racist attorney faces a crisis of conscience — and danger — when reluctantly defending a black man brutally beaten by police and charged with resisting arrest.
In its compelling portrayal of police brutality and racial     injustice, Blood on Their Hands is unlike other legal thrillers in its uncannily perfect timing as the country was torn asunder in spring/summer 2020 by police mistreatment of blacks. Further, it is one of a kind in its introduction of a controversial legal conundrum.

But that enigma — whether an attorney who witnesses a police beating may defend the victim — takes a back seat to the novel’s depiction of racial animosity.

Police brutality toward blacks is the salient, and altogether timely, problem addressed in Blood on Their Hands by both the legal system and the book’s characters in the racial attitudes they harbor. The novel explores these bigoted feelings in depth.

Hiram Garbuncle is a veteran criminal defense attorney — as well as a racist, miserly alcoholic. His life revolves around hoarding money, following sports, pursuing sex, drinking  — and the prideful practice of law.

Alec Monceau is a black man working to support his daughter’s family in Trinidad. It is 2008, and his car carries an Obama bumper sticker. This political advertisement leads to a superfluous traffic stop and a brutal beating by police.

It goes against Garbuncle’s grain to defend a black man from a charge of violently resisting arrest, but he is so confident of winning that he is negligent in the jury selection, and a mistrial occurs. He then discovers incriminating evidence on the two cops, and his new challenge becomes how to keep himself and his client alive pending a new trial.

Blood on Their Hands borrows themes from the movies Gran Torino and My Cousin Vinnie. It is a tale replete with both pathos and humor. Steeped in suspense, action, intrigue,violent episodes and yes, a bit of titillating sex, the story is leavened by a tragic love affair. Humorous scenes are abundant, providing comic relief. Perhaps above all, Blood is a story of redemption.

About two-thirds through Bob Brink’s wonderful and timely novel Blood on Their Hands, Earl, the burly tenant of our “hero” Garbuncle, tells him, “You don’t just sleep tight; you live and breathe tight. And drink till you’re tight.” I put quotes around hero to describe the lawyer Garbuncle in that almost all his qualities – his racism, his slovenliness, his drunkenness, and his monumental cheapness – are negative, yet, ultimately, his shrewd and courageous actions are indeed admirable, and his racist attitude recedes as he gets to know his black client. Garbuncle’s flaws make him a memorable and tremendously amusing character. His cheapness leads to his knowing every low-rent and used business in South Florida, resulting in many a funny scene. Plus, his witty interactions with his newspaper buddy Hitchens and the aforementioned Earl are absolute hoots. The generous humor in the novel belies the fact that Brink explores serious issues in Blood on Their Hands. The assault by white cops on the Trinidadian immigrant Alec Monceau, followed by the subsequent violent cover-ups involving Klan members, tell a story that is at once sadly familiar, but enlivened by distinctive details. After witnessing the attack on Monceau, Garbuncle reluctantly comes around to representing him in court. Yet, Garbuncle is not exactly trustworthy. Indeed, through much of Blood on Their Hands, Garbuncle’s racism, his constant drunkenness, and his toxic self-absorption puts his reliability to both his fellow characters and to the reader in question. Yet, his inner integrity grows from the influence of Hitchens (who serves not only as the novel’s moral lodestone but as a source of delightful banter) and from the inherent goodness of Monceau. Brink has a gift for characterization, whether it be the oh-so-seedily smooth mob lawyer Feinberg or the stern but astute Judge Crabtree. In fact, the courtroom scenes really crackle with intensity, especially during Garbuncle’s cross-examinations. Yes, serious business transpires in this novel as deaths and shady dealings pile up, yet what gives this novel buoyancy is watching Garbuncle rise to the occasion. Garbuncle’s wobbly instability keeps the reader guessing right up to the tremendously satisfying and exciting climax. Brink has fleshed out such an unforgettable comic character in Garbuncle that I hope to meet him again in future works. For now, we have Blood on Their Hands, a novel that manages to examine serious issues in wildly entertaining ways.

-- Michael P. Hartnett

Robert G Brink (Author)

Bob (Robert) Brink was born on the shores of Lake Michigan in Muskegon, Mich., and was so precocious that he soon learned to walk on water (subject of his next novel, a fantasy — kidding, kidding). He relocated with his parents at age 6 to their home state of Iowa, growing up around Des Moines and moving to a small farm at age 14, where he learned to pick corn, considerably less exciting than an aquatic ambulatory adventure. After a torturous coming-of-age, he embarked on a newspaper career that took him to Joliet, Ill., Chicago, Milwaukee, Tampa and West Palm Beach, in which vicinity he has lived for a number of years. He garnered several writing awards, and the magazine where he was copy chief and feature writer won an award for Best Written Magazine in Florida. In early middle age, Brink learned to play clarinet and tenor saxophone, and performed many years in a symphonic winds band while also doing a few big band gigs. He learned ballroom dancing and is a health enthusiast, blogging on alternative health care along with grammar, socio-politics, and his and other’s authorial activities. While doing freelance writing and editing, he became an author, ghost-writing a book, turning out a book of short stories, and completing three novels. The latest, BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS, is a legal thriller about a racist, miserly attorney pressured into defending a black man from a false police charge of resisting arrest. After discovering incriminating information about the officers, his main challenge becomes keeping himself and his client alive. Published by TouchPoint Press, the book’s release date is May 4, 2020. His previous novel, MURDER IN PALM BEACH: THE HOMICIDE THAT NEVER DIED, is a roman à clef about a real, highly sensational murder that occurred in 1976. In early 2020, the six children of the victim reversed themselves and petitioned the governor of Florida for a full pardon for the karate expert who spent 15 years in prison, convinced he was innocent.

This political advertisement leads to a superfluous traffic stop and a brutal beating by police.

Dear Reader, author’s recently published book “Blood on Their Hands” is now available on leading bookstores, get your copy now and help the author by writing a review of the book.
Scroll to Top