David Hosp

"The Betrayed"

(Reviewed by Eleanor Bukowsky AUG 26, 2006)

"Cassian had nothing to say.  There was nothing to say, and both of them knew it.  Some things were out of their control, and to pretend otherwise was folly.  There was always the slim hope that if they did their job well, they might provide some closure…. But even that was cold comfort."

The Betrayed focuses on the torture/murder of a thirty-six year old reporter for the Washington Post, Elizabeth Creay.  Creay was the divorced mother of a fourteen-year-old daughter named Amanda.  Assigned to the case are Detective Sergeant Darius Train and his partner, Jack Cassian.  On the surface, the two men appear to be a mismatch.  Train is a twenty-year veteran of the force as well as a former linebacker who grew up in a very rough area of D. C.  Cassian is the product of an upper-middle-class Maryland suburb who became a detective just three years earlier.  In spite of their differences, Train and Cassian have become an effective and smooth-running team.

After Elizabeth's death, her twenty-seven year old sister, Sydney Chapin, is in a state of shock.  Having finished two years at Stanford Law School, Sydney is working as a research assistant for a law professor at Georgetown.  Now, she must come to terms with losing Elizabeth, whom she has just gotten to know after years of estrangement.  Sydney's mother, Lydia Chapin, is a wealthy and formidable society matron who has never approved of Sydney, and her presence provides little comfort during this terrible time.

The theme of The Betrayed is a familiar one:  a powerful and connected politician goes to great lengths to keep an explosive and potentially scandalous secret hidden.  At first, the cops are stymied by the Creay case.  Could an ex-con named Jerome Washington, whose fingerprint was found at the crime scene, be involved in the reporter's death?  Was the murder simply a robbery gone bad?  The police commissioner would like a quick and neat resolution.  However, Train and Cassian, assisted by Sydney, refuse to settle for obvious answers that may turn out to be wrong.

Hosp's story is hard-hitting, fast-paced, and engrossing, and the characters are well developed.  Sydney is an intelligent and forceful heroine who, unsurprisingly, forms a romantic attachment to Jack, a man who has his own emotional scars.  The chemistry between Jack and Train works well, and the plot’s many twists and turns, although at times predictable and melodramatic, generate enough suspense and excitement to make The Betrayed a good choice for fans of political thrillers.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 25 reviews
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"Dark Harbor"

(Reviewed by Mary Whipple SEP 5, 2005)

"They hadn't been reaching out and putting the heat on their snitches because they weren't thinking of this as the type of crime where snitches could be helpful, but… Boston still ran on its unseen connections, and Southie was the home of one of the oldest and best-organized crime networks in the country. It might be worth putting some pressure on the right sort of people."

I have a feeling that lawyer David Hosp may soon be taking up a new career. In a debut novel that keeps readers on the edges of their chairs till the very end, he spins a tale that ranges from Boston's Beacon Hill to Southie, from a "white shoe" law firm to a ghoulish home "operating room," from security company offices to exploding trains, and from the Governor's office to the places where associates of Whitey Bulger, a real-life fugitive mob boss on the "Most Wanted" list, gather and plan. Plots and subplots keep the reader fully occupied while a wide array of characters do their jobs, interact, get beaten up, and sometimes meet grisly deaths.

Scott Finn, an orphan from Southie who worked his way out of juvenile detention and into a demanding job in a prestigious Boston law firm, is devastated when his colleague and former lover, Natalie Caldwell, turns up dead. At first police believe that she was killed by "Little Jack," a Ripper-style serial killer, but differences in technique suggest otherwise.

At the same time that this investigation is unfolding, Finn, working for the venerable law firm of Howery, Black & Longbothum, accepts the job of representing Huron Security in a major lawsuit. Though this had been Natalie's case when she died, Finn regards it as a tribute to her when he accepts at—and, not incidentally, as his chance to make partner. Huron was in charge of security when a terrorist planted and detonated bombs on twelve rail cars as they headed into Boston from the suburbs, and the young widow of one of the victims has sued.

While Finn uses his connections with Tigh McCluen, a friend from Southie, to gain information, Linda Flaherty, the lead investigator of Natalie's death, finds herself drawn to Finn. When the governor of Massachusetts and his chief aide take an unnatural interest in Natalie's death, and Finn himself gets a physical "warning," he knows he must investigate all of Natalie's case notes for clues. Soon he himself is under suspicion of her murder. An edge-of-your-seat conclusion worthy of the big screen ties up all the plot lines and sets the scene for a future series involving Scott Finn.

Although Hosp employs some sentimental details at the beginning of the novel to try to create emotional involvement (the hand of a dead body reaching out "for help," and a man facing imminent death grabbing for the family photo in his pocket), he soon settles down and lets his story develop more naturally. His depiction of Southie, the characters who populate it, the "presence" of the real-life fugitive Whitey Bulger, and the references to the actual trial of John Connolly, an FBI officer who handled Whitey and then went to jail for warning him about crackdowns, set the scene and add realistic detail and local color to the novel. Finn's own connections to Southie provide a bridge between the uptown characters, the Boston agencies and governmental offices with which Finn deals, and the movers and shakers of Southie.

Occasionally, Hosp's clumsiness with foreshadowing—and the attempt to throw red herrings in the reader's path—are too obvious and telegraph the reader that s/he is being manipulated. Too-helpful friends and Finn's own loose lips regarding key data are the mark of an inexperienced author trying to control outcomes. Hosp does not have the literary flair or style of Dennis Lehane, but this Boston mystery, overall, is exciting, well-paced, and clever, providing a great deal of entertainment and a bang-up conclusion. An ideal novel for the beach, Dark Harbor is sure to keep the reader on tenderhooks and, perhaps, reading long into the night.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 36 reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from Dark Harbor at author's website

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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)

Scott Finn series




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Book Marks:


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About the Author:

David HospDavid Hosp was raised in Charlestown, Massachusetts and was a street kid who got in trouble with the law. Then he decided to practice law. He received his BA from Dartmouth College and his JD from George Washington University and a partner in the Boston law firm, Goodwin Proctor, where he specialises in copyright and trademark law.

He lives with his wife, son, and daughter in Cohasset, Massachusetts.

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