May 2013, ISBN 978-0965651394
Review copy from PR by the Book
"Inspired by the Sierra Club 1960’s battle with the Walt Disney company over a proposed ski resort in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, former attorney and best selling author, Darryl Nyznyk, brings captivating realism to this riveting new thriller. Sean Donovan lost everything: his wife, kids, job, and license to practice law. Abandoned by his wife, betrayed by a friend, and fired by his firm, it has taken thirteen years for Sean to come back, now barely eking out a living on minor cases while his former firm thrives. When Buck Anderson, renowned environmentalist from Sean’s hometown is murdered, Sean reunites with Buck’s niece at the old man’s funeral. She begs Sean to join the Sierra Club’s case to stop a major ski development by a Disney-type company, the very case on which Buck was working when he was killed. Sean agrees, but learns too late that his former firm represents the opposition with motives more sinister than their client’s ski development. THE CONDOR SONG is an environmental legal thriller set against California’s rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains in which a man lost to the world he thought he knew tries to find redemption in the face of impossible odds."
Before I start this review I have an exciting announcement: For every book of The Condor Song purchased on Amazon on July 1, the author Darryl Nyznyk will donate $1 to The Sierra Club. So buy your copy on Monday, July 1!
I had the great pleasure of receiving an advance reading copy of best selling author Darryl Nyznyk’s third novel, The Condor Song. The book is a novel of suspense, and it was inspired by Nyznyk’s background as an environmental attorney as well as the story of the Sierra Club preventing Walt Disney from building a ski resort in the Mineral King Valley in Southern California.
First, I have to say that I enjoy legal thrillers, and Nyznyk artfully threads applicable laws into the story without slowing down the pace. I’m also from Southern California and grew up a half hour away from Disneyland, so it felt good to know exactly where everything in this story took place.
Nyznyk paints a complex picture with his characters. The protagonist, Sean Donovan is a wonderfully flawed character, determined to get his life back on track and somehow make amends to the kids he let down. Meanwhile, he also has a rich history with Richard Wolf, the main antagonist and Sean’s former friend who struggles with his own insecurities.
The Condor Song is an environmental legal thriller, and a page-turner at that, but there are also some very personal, touching moments. One of my favorite characters was Mrs. Jackson, a sweet elderly woman who makes a savory peach pie. Sean Donovan’s relationship with Mrs. Jackson, while he helps her defend ownership of her property, reveals a lot about both characters. They are determined, kind, and they work hard to do the right thing.
A few times throughout the novel I felt that certain actions and information about characters were repeated. Usually it occurred at points that were particularly important to the story, and needed to be remembered for later, but I felt they were unnecessary. It seemed they didn’t give me, the reader, much credit to pick up on anything subtle.
The ending also wrapped up quickly. I liked that everything was eventually explained and there were no loose ends, but it also all happened at the same time and a little too easily.
The “Song” part of the book’s title threw me off a bit too. Condors played an important role in the book, but they never made singing noises, nor was there ever mention of songs attributed to them. But there’s a chance I missed something.
Overall, The Condor Song is a great summer read. Not only did I get engrossed in the story, but I also learned a decent amount about practicing law in California. I hope Darryl Nyznyk writes a series around Sean Donovan, especially since this book has opened a lot of new storylines to explore.
In the meantime, while we wait (hopefully), I recommend buying a copy of The Condor Song from Amazon. If possible, try and purchase the book on Monday, July 1, because Nyznyk has graciously offered to donate $1 for every copy sold to the Sierra Club. And if I had to choose just one thing to take away from this book, it’s that the Sierra Club rocks!