A Minor Fall: Price 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. 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. . Author Price 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. 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? 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.
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.
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, 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?
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! Davy Jessie starts out as a likeable character who is at the top of his game but through many mishaps, wrong decisions and from being on the top to me he becomes a tragic character that finds himself on many journeys that take him to different places within his life. Davy makes mistakes and at times he justifies his actions and until he takes a plunge in many different directions does he realize that sometimes you can’t fix the choices that you make when you don’t consider the consequences. Michelle’s voice is also heard besides our narrator, Davy as she has to come to terms with his traveling quite a bit and wonders what would happen if he decided to choose a different path and go out on his own or with a different firm. The choices we make are our own responsibilities and accepting the fall out or end result yours alone.
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