Todd Johnson ’75 (Photo: Courtesy Bethany House)

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.
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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.