New book: The Deposit Slip, by Todd M. Johnson ’75 (Bethany House)
The author: A trial lawyer, Johnson has been an adjunct professor of international law and served as a U.S. diplomat in Hong Kong. His debut novel was inspired by a real case from the 1990s in which a deposit slip was discovered after a farmer in rural Minnesota died.
The book: As the main character, Erin Larson, cleans out her recently deceased father’s safe-deposit box, she finds photos and papers, including a deposit slip for $10.3 million dated about three years ago. The bank says it has no record of the funds. Eventually she hires lawyer Jared Neaton to help her get to the truth.
Opening lines: “Seated in the cool vault of the Mission Falls Bank, Erin switched on an overhead lamp and opened the lid to her father’s safe-deposit box. A faint smell of motor oil wafted up from inside. The scent of it launched an image across her memory — one so real it startled her. It was her father on a hot summer morning, coming into the kitchen from working on the tractor, leaning down to kiss her on the neck as she ate her breakfast.”
Review: “Debut novelist Johnson … has worked many years as a trial lawyer, a profession that seems to serve budding novelists well … because they have seen much of the underbelly of society. … With an irresistible set-up, suspense, a subtle love triangle, strong dialogue, characters, and a focused plot, Johnson makes a strong first literary case,” wrote Publishers Weekly.