Arbitrary and Capricious
Treaty Oak Publishers (2022)
Reviewed by Kathy Stickles for Reader Views (11/2022)
“Arbitrary and Capricious by Jim Lively is a fun mystery that is full of many twists and turns that make the reader wonder if the main character has a clue what he is up against or how to figure it out. The conspiracy that the book is centered on is quite despicable and, for our main character, downright dangerous. It all ties together nicely and makes for a really enjoyable read.
In the story, we trail along behind a retired lawyer by the name of Sanders Pierce. Mr. Pierce has retired from being a lawyer because he was sick of the day-to-day aspects of the job and ready for a change. Now he paints and owns an art gallery in Dallas, Texas, and he seems quite content with his new life. That is, of course, until a former associate pulls him into a huge conspiracy that is happening at her place of employment. Now we watch as Pierce is thrown into the middle of a very large health benefits scam, with the possibility that so many people on the inside of the company are involved that it could confuse anyone. It is a bit like watching a poor mouse try to run through a maze to find the guilty party and the mouse is constantly running into another wall and having to go backwards.
If that is not enough for the poor man there are also numerous puzzling messages going back and forth, a neighbor that he finds himself very attracted to (although she may actually be even more mysterious than he is in terms of career), an accepted way of dealing with the law that only he is following, an FBI agent that is driving him crazy, and someone who is trying to kill him (and many of these things happen on the same day).
“Arbitrary and Capricious” is a very creative mystery and one that holds the reader’s attention. The supporting characters in the book are wonderfully written, and it is such a varied group that each one is fun to get to know. It is enjoyable to see how each of these people are involved in the story and to figure out where their path might lead the reader as well as Sanders Pierce. As an added bonus, the ending of the story is a complete surprise, and that is something, as a reader, that always thrills me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery full of twists and turns. I will look forward to seeing what Mr. Pierce is up to in his next adventure.