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Monday, June 29, 2020

Spotlight on: Author Robert Brink


In its compelling portrayal of racial injustice committed by police officers, Blood on Their Hands is unlike other legal thrillers in its uncannily perfect timing as the country is torn asunder by police brutality against blacks. Further, it is one of a kind in its introduction of a controversial legal conundrum.

But that enigma – whether an attorney who witnesses a police beating may defend the victim – takes a back seat to the novel’s portrayal of racial animosity. Though prevalent throughout our country’s history, events over a period of just a few weeks in winter-spring 2020, most notably the police strangulation of a Minneapolis man, saw it rise to a fever pitch not felt since the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s.

Police brutality toward blacks is the salient, and altogether timely, problem addressed in Blood on Their Hands by both the legal system and the book’s characters in the racial attitudes they harbor. The novel explores these bigoted feelings in depth, echoing via dramatization the poignant lyrics in the song You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1949 hit Broadway musical South Pacific.

As to the legal aspect, attorneys consulted by the author offered varying opinions as to the rare circumstance encountered by the protagonists within the book’s pages. 

Hiram Garbuncle is a veteran criminal defense attorney—as well as a racist, miserly alcoholic. His life revolves around hoarding money, following sports, pursuing sex, drinking—and the prideful practice of law.

Alec Monceau is a black man working in suburban West Palm Beach, Florida, to support his daughter’s family in Trinidad. It is 2008, and his car carries an Obama bumper sticker. This political endorsement leads to a superfluous traffic stop and a brutal beating by police.

It goes against Garbuncle’s grain to defend a black man from a charge of violently resisting arrest, but he is so confident of winning that he is negligent in the jury selection, and a mistrial occurs. He then discovers incriminating evidence on the two cops, and his new challenge becomes how to keep himself and his client alive pending a new trial.

Blood on Their Hands borrows themes from the movies Gran Torino and My Cousin Vinnie. It is a tale replete with both pathos and humor. Steeped in suspense, action, intrigue, violent episodes and yes, a bit of titillating sex, all these elements are leavened by a tragic love affair. Perhaps most important, it is a story of redemption.



Author's Bio



Bob Brink is a journalist who worked with the Palm Beach Post, The Associated Press in Chicago, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tampa Tribune, Joliet Herald-News, and Palm Beach Media Group (magazines). His byline has been on thousands of news stories, features, and entertainment reviews. He’s been an author and freelance writer for several years.

He has won numerous writing accolades and several awards, including three for Palm Beach Illustrated, which won the Best Written Magazine award from the Florida Magazine Association after he became copy chief and writer.
            
Blood on Their Hands is Brink’s second crime novel, following Murder in Palm Beach The Homicide That Never Died¸ an Amazon best-seller for 15 weeks. His previous books were the coming-of-age novel Breaking Out, The Way It Was: Short Stories and Tall Tales, and A Tale of Two Continents, a ghost-written memoir.

Besides dabbling in short-story writing over the years, he immersed himself in learning to play the clarinet and tenor saxophone. He performed many years with an estimable 65-piece community symphonic band, and played a few professional big band gigs.

A product of Michigan and Iowa, he has a bachelor’s degree in English and German from Drake University in Des Moines, and studied journalism in graduate school at the University of Iowa.



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