A Minor Fall: Prince Ainsworth
In music when you have a minor fall that is sung you have a minor chord played. Minor chords have a different sound and flavor and are more subdued that major ones. The chord progression provides a darker, sadder sound as you enter the world of Davy Jessie and hear him narrate the story that will take him from a high note and drag him down to the lowest key in the base clef, you wonder why he chose to rise and then finds himself just like the sound of a minor chord: Sadder and Darker. A lawyer and narrator of this novel he is focused on a personal injury case working as a personal injury lawyer. The firm is high up and well respected and his boss, Sullivan is his father-in-law whose philandering ways soon becomes part of Davy’s routine. Michelle, his wife is smart and is also in law but learning that his co-counsel or contract lawyer, Beth goes wherever he has to travel sends up red flags and the author sets the scene for what happens next. Davy is smart, yet admires Tim Sullivan his boss and when assigned to this difficult pollution suit, he hopes that he will be able to prove that the defendant in the case has left radioactive material behind enough that the corporation harvested oil in Kentucky or allegedly did so causing large amount of contamination in the local water supply. But, working on the case, reading through the discovery documents and more he comes to an impasse but not before learning more about Beth Sheehan, the contract lawyer, who could stop traffic just walking across the street and becomes a major distraction for Davy. Going over the case, dealing with someone that can explain it all to him he finds himself in the same hotel room with her and you can without my telling you know what happens next. Author Prince Ainsworth’s research into tort law helps readers understand the process needed to win this case and explaining the rationale behind the laws in Kentucky dealing with radiation poisoning leaves many questions in the reader’s mind as to whether the case will ever come to court.
Meeting Mr. Walton is expert on radiation and the effects that would cause disease, he makes Davy aware that in order to not have his motion denied they would have to read up on different cases, the law and in the end he was not sure how it would go. Getting distracted by Beth, cheating on his wife gave him so guilt feelings but not enough even when Michelle told him he was going to be a father. Thinking about Beth, why she left their room so abruptly and did not call still seemed paramount in his mind but why? Telling Tim, her father made her parents happy but the look in his eyes said something different to Davy. Tim loves to travel and does not hesitate to have some fun when his wife is not around. Davy emulates his father-in-law and thinks he can do no wrong but a downward spiral is in effect and while Jessie’s family and livelihood are at stake in which direction will he finally wind up?
His affair with Beth leaves him with herpes and trying to hide it from Michelle would be difficult but not telling her possibly worse. Beth disappears and he buries himself in the pollution case and a personal injury case as the author describes the insurance process, when someone is entitled to medical expenses and how that comes into play with your insurance company paying and yet possibly paid back for what you did not get as yet. So, when the plaintiff pays 6500 and gets 3500 they feel she is entitled to the remaining 3000 and not more. It gets complicated but in the long run she gets a settlement, he wins the case and gets alienated because of the jealousies of his co-workers, not very mature. But, added in there is more drama with Michelle after learning they are going to have a boy, dealing with being more distant towards her and what will happen when she learns the harsh truth as Riza her father’s girlfriend on a plane with Davy to deal with the pollution case, eludes to the fact that she might know about his indiscretion.
Sometimes you don’t learn your lesson the first time and when Davy decides to hang out with another woman why does he tell her the truth about his herpes and why does he continue on cheating on Michelle? A startling revelation to her doctor and now he has no choice but will he tell her or hope that the situation never lends itself to the truth? While her father is doing the same thing how will he feel about it being done to his daughter? Characters that are flawed, some self-absorbed, self-centered and concerned about their own fun, joys and disregarding moral values at times.
The story gets more complicated as Davy takes on several mal practice cases and the author goes into detail how these cases are litigated, what the possible damages might be and how it works for the plaintiff when getting money. But, Beth shows up at her husband’s door, hands him the divorce papers and the young girl that just left Davy’s room somehow winds up with Beth. Davy goes home finds out Sullivan is sending him out of town, disregards the fact the Michelle is about to give birth, delays telling her that he has herpes but instead reveals all the new cases and she would like him to quit the firm. But, he’s hooked and finds his work more important than her and his marriage and this could be the first of many downward spiral events.
More cases, dealing with the case of sexual abuse of a young girl in the hospital that got her tonsils out and a nurse that secretly gave her a disc with incriminating evidence against a doctor. But, the law in this case is not considered malpractice and the award is 250,000 and the doctor will most likely lose his privileges at the hospital but will be someone else’s problem. The novel shifts to the radiation case and we hear both sides, the expert witnesses on the stand, how Davy deals with revealing certain information about a report that he was able to get but not published yet and the tables might be turned and hopefully he will win this case but the Court Commissioner interrupts to ask his own questions and you wonder where this case will finally wind up and end and in whose favor. But, he has more to worry about when it comes to his marriage, lies, betrayals and deceits as he has yet to tell his wife the truth, wonders where Beth might be hiding out, confides on no one and even wonders if he will have enough money to live on if he loses his job and his wife?
Life does not always go in the direction you are traveling and when Michelle goes into labor and he finally tells us about the herpes, the ending will help readers understand, just who and what Sullivan really is, what his motives were for hiring Davy and the harsh reality of what he was about to face for lying to Michelle about his cheating. The story is told in three voices: Davy, Michelle’s and the doctor who delivers Paul, their son at the close of the book. Each one’s thoughts are vividly described, heartfelt sadness in each one and the final outcome will explain what happens when you live with lies, and betrayals and deceits and others suffer for your mistakes.
The final outcome of the radiation case goes against his firm and the author explains why and how the judge rules against him on the bench. The fraud behind the young girl who lied about the doctor sexually abusing her comes out but will they take the money or admit that the plaintiff lied. What about Michelle when she learns before giving birth that her child might die because Davy selfishly did not tell her about having herpes and his affair? An ending that will take you inside the mind of a man whose thoughts wander to a story about baseball and other incidents that he writes about in his poem and short stories but who like Beth, Riza, Sullivan and even Michelle have yet to find a place that they feel comfortable, needed and at home. What about the pathologist who read the x-rays wrong and a woman suffered because of it? What happens when she thanks Davy for caring will he continue on the case after learning the truth? Issues of lies, loyalties that are broken jealousies, inadequacies, defeat, self-esteem, selfishness, denial and deceptions all building up to whether each character can reflect, admit their mistakes and hope that they will receive the ultimate reprieve: Forgiveness!
A Minor Fall: just like the sound of a chord on the piano in a minor key that seems sadder and darker such is the fate of Davy whose life is falling faster than all of the minor chords that can be played in succession on a piano. If Davy Jessie, Michelle, the doctor or anyone else could choose what will happen next I doubt if anyone could have avoided what was inevitable their Minor Fall such as if you played the music in C minor which means sad, innocently sad, unhappy relationships, a soul in search of something different like Davy!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine