cover image Fatal Trust

Fatal Trust

Todd M. Johnson. Bethany House, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7642-1235-2

At the start of this tangled legal thriller set in 2018 from Johnson (The Deposit Slip), Sean Callahan, an Irishman whose father was an IRA hunger striker, approaches St. Paul, Minn., attorney Ian Wells about a trusteeship set up by his late father in 1998, for the late James Doyle. The trust named three beneficiaries to Doyle’s estate: Callahan; Doyle’s son, Rory; and Doyle’s brother-in-law, Edward McMartin. It stipulated that the three men would receive the proceeds only if they avoided involvement in any criminal activity for 20 years. The 20-year period has just ended, and someone must determine whether the three men are eligible to receive their inheritance. An exorbitant fee convinces Wells to agree, but he’s soon involved in a messy and dangerous investigation that will turn his personal and professional lives upside down. At the heart of the case is a fatal robbery at an art gallery 35 years earlier, “the largest art theft in Minnesota history.” Johnson reveals one surprising secret after another, though the many ties among the characters that emerge strain credulity. (Aug.)