Review

Mortal Allies

by Brian Haig

Ah,
here we have the goods. Whatever weaknesses Brian Haig's debut
novel SECRET SANCTION possessed, they have been resolved with
MORTAL ALLIES. If SECRET SANCTION started slowly and was somewhat
tentative in its pacing, MORTAL ALLIES begins strongly and grows in
stature throughout. Sean Drummond, the intriguing Army attorney
introduced in SECRET SANCTION returns in MORTAL ALLIES. Never
lacking in self-assurance, he is, if anything, even more confident
and brash in MORTAL ALLIES. And that's a good thing.

MORTAL ALLIES begins with Drummond summoned to South Korea for
reasons unknown but which are soon manifestly made clear. His
assignment is to defend an Army officer accused of murdering his
lover, who happens to be the son of the South Korean defense
minister. That is the least of his difficulties, however. Drummond
finds himself partnered as defense counsel with Katherine Carlson,
a take-no-prisoners defense attorney who has made a career out of
defending and representing gay clients. Carlson and Drummond went
to law school together and were antagonists from the first day of
class until graduation day. Carlson, for reasons of her own, has
specifically asked for Drummond to be second chair on the defense
team, and the two don't get along any better now than they did in
law school. But that is not their only problem. They face a
recalcitrant client, a prosecution-friendly judge, and a prosecutor
who has never lost a case --- not to mention having the trial in a
host country that is screaming for the blood of an American. Any
American.

Drummond has an additional problem: the evidence points directly
and irrevocably toward the guilt of his client. South Korea,
meanwhile, is a powderkeg loaded with protest demonstrations and
violent uprisings orchestrated by its neighbors to the North.
Drummond's investigation soon uncovers an enemy within the very
heart of the Army --- an enemy with a deadly plan whose aim reaches
far beyond the conviction of an Army officer for the murder of a
Korean.

Haig's sophomore effort is a solid, confident one. Enjoyment of
MORTAL ALLIES is not predicated upon familiarity with SECRET
SANCTION, as Haig does an excellent job of interspersing the
relevant backstory for readers unfamiliar with that prior novel.
Haig does a masterful job of building suspense as Drummond, and the
reader, attempt to discern the guilt or innocence of his client. He
also is up to the task of credibly detailing the complex
relationship between Drummond and Carlson. It's not all based on
dislike.

MORTAL ALLIES matches and exceeds the promise of SECRET SANCTION.
Haig, considering his professional and personal background,
undoubtedly has many more stories upon which to base many, many
more novels. His readers, as their numbers exponentially grow, will
undoubtedly be the winners.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Mortal Allies
by Brian Haig

  • Publication Date: May 2, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books
  • ISBN-10: 0446530263
  • ISBN-13: 9780446530262