Hard Numbers explores the motivation of greedy insurance executives and bankers who manipulate numbers to suit their own ends.
Attorney Leland E. Denton has his own problems, including the loss of his wife who ran off with his law partner.
Now, he's been court-appointed to defend a one-armed Samoan ex-wrestler who is accused of burning his neighbor's cats. Worse, Denton's ex-wife's ex-husband, who went to prison for shooting Denton four years ago, is out of prison and is stalking Denton.
Meanwhile, the stock market is crashing, and the California Insurance Commissioner wants Denton to assist in the examination of a Los Angeles insurance company, but the man Denton is supposed to help is brutally murdered; the cops say he was killed by a hooker, but Denton soon has reason to think the dead man was involved in a conspiracy to cook the insurance company books so that $300 million in policyholder funds could be siphoned off to a New York Bank.
On the other hand, the guy had a $700,000 life insurance policy and a young wife who is having a lesbian affair with her tennis instructor. Maybe one of them killed him.
Denton doggedly follows the money trail and he suspects both the bank and the insurance company of playing with their financial numbers. But the presidents of the bank and the insurance company aren't going down without a fight. Soon, Denton is struggling for his life.
Praise for Hard Numbers: "When financial times get tough, some take it as a sign to play dirtier. Hard Numbers is a thriller following attorney Leland Denton and his client James McKenzie as they dive deep into the sour side of economics. [where some turn] to the world of crime to make their fortune when the economy crashes around them. But when you play dirty, everyone around you plays dirty as well and you may find yourself turning up dead. Hard Numbers is an entertaining read that can't be beat." --The Midwest Book Review, Wisconsin Bookwatch, January 2010
In this second Leland E. Denton, Esq. mystery-thriller, clients are dying on both sides of the never-ending Norton litigation. And it looks like murder. But it’s creepier than that—Denton is being pursued by assorted stalkers, including Ojibwe Spirit Warriors. Then there’s Lilly Deerfoot who exerts strange powers over him. In the meantime, Wisconsin Attorney General Richard Elkin is running for governor, but he receives a note threatening to disclose he’s Al Capone’s grandson and might have been infected by Capone’s syphilis. Could the blackmailer be a Norton? That’s what Elkin thinks.
Denton and his assistants, ex-marine sergeant Charlotte Logan and Afa Tavita, a one-armed Samoan ex-wrestler, try desperately to solve the mysterious deaths before the next body falls, but the dots won’t connect. Are the Norton heirs killing one another? Or did they run afoul of Ojibwe taboos? Why did one Norton heir die while scuba diving in a sunken Native American village? And what about the one whose car plunged off a cliff? Then there’s the Norton aunt, stabbed forty-seven times. Who’s next?
Attorney General Elkin puts his chief investigator, Alan Sanger, on the blackmailer’s trail. But Sanger has his own agenda, one that feeds his bizarre sexual appetite.
Denton struggles on until past and present merge in a crescendo of red violence.
Praise for The Norton Case: "A bigger piece of the pie is something worth killing for. The Norton Case is a mystery-thriller following Leland E. Denton as he is faced with the law entrenched story of the Norton estate. In a story involving Native American spirits, the grandson of Al Capone, and a family out to eliminate one another, The Norton Case is a riveting mystery of many angles, and a book hard to put down." --The Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch, October 2010.