Saturday, April 19, 2014

Review 'Slow Death in the Fast Lane' by J.W.Kerwin

If you hate the IRS, you'll love this book!

Years of creative accounting have landed Harvey Berkowitz in court, charged with criminal tax fraud. The government has a mountain of incriminating evidence and what appears to be an airtight case. But Harvey has Brendan O'Brian, an unconventional defense attorney with a reputation for winning seemingly unwinnable cases.

O'Brian turns the tables on the government, putting the Tax Code and predatory IRS practices on trial with strategies that create a circus-like atmosphere in the normally staid federal court.

Chaos reigns outside the courtroom as well. O'Brian is mugged twice in less than a week, shadowed by a man who is officially dead, and harassed by local cops. But his biggest distraction is news that his wife has hired someone to kill him.

Surrounded by a cast of unforgettable characters, including an insightful, senile law partner and a colorful client nicknamed Eddie the Skunk, Brendan must determine which events outside the courtroom are connected to the Berkowitz trial, an unrelated case involving a ruthless politician, or his wife's contract on his life.

A couple of weeks ago J.W. Kerwin approached me with the question if I wanted to read his book and write him an honest review. Reading the description of the book I was intrigued. This book is about the IRS. Here in the Netherlands we have something very similar to the IRS (the Internal Revenue Service) but here it’s called the ‘Belastingsdienst’. Although this book isn’t something I would have normally chosen to read I liked the description enough to start reading it.

In ‘Slow Death in the Fast Lane’ we follow Brendan O’Brien, a thirty seven year old lawyer. Although Brendan is still the youngest in his firm, he has a reputation for winning ‘seemingly unwinnable cases’. Some people even say he is ‘the best damn lawyer in New Jersey’. Not only is Brendan good in what he does, his clients always seem to like him.
Brendan is married to Aimee, an art lover, who Brendan met at a New England college. But his marriage isn’t what it used to be. Brendan can’t even remember the last time Aimee and he had dinner together. And Aimee shows more interest in their gardener than in him.
Brendan’s newest client is Harvey Berkowitz. Harvey is the owner of an auto salvage yard, half a dozen small businesses and more real estate than he can keep track of. Now Harvey is accused of ‘Tax Fraud’ and Brendan is supposed to keep him out of jail. An if anyone can keep Harvey out of jail is it Brendan O’Brien. But meanwhile Brendan is having trouble with police man who keep bordering him, two strange men who keeps following him and a gardener who tries to get rid of his beloved cat.

I must say this book was a big surprise for me. In the first few chapters I had a hard time keeping track of all the different names and getting to learn how the IRS works in the US. It took me a while to really start liking this book. But after the first few chapters I kind of grew into the story and started to like it more and more. Although there are some things different, the IRS really sounded like our ‘Belastingsdienst’. So that made it easier for me to get into the story and to understand what the IRS is doing.

What I liked most about this book is the character ‘Brendan O’Brien’. This guy really made me laugh a couple of times. Although Brendan knows that his client Harvey did something that’s against the law, he made sure that most people felt like the IRS did something inappropriate. And I really found that funny. I really get what Brendan is talking about. I mean, don’t we all feel sometimes like our money is used for different things than it is supposed to??

All the stuff what happened in the courtroom with Brendan made me really like this story. Still it’s not the kind of book I would normally read but it was still a very enjoyable read for me. And this book is definitely a must read for anybody who likes to read a different point of view about the IRS. And J.W. Kerwin’s writing was very very enjoyable and addicting. 

About the Author:

J.W. Kerwin practiced law in New Jersey in the 1980s. He now lives in a secure, undisclosed location with his wife and cat where he spends his time preparing for the retaliatory audit that will surely come when someone at the IRS reads this book.

For more information about ‘Slow Death in the Fast Lane’ please visit Amazon or Goodreads.

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