Fatal Trust Book

Suspense novel by author Todd M. Johnson


Ian Wells is a young criminal defense attorney struggling to build a Minneapolis law practice he inherited from his father while caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. Nearly at the breaking point, everything changes for Ian when a new client offers a simple case: determine whether three men qualify for over nine million dollars of trust funds. To qualify, none can have been involved in criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian’s fee for a week’s work: the unbelievable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

Ian warily accepts the job–but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust with a decades-old criminal enterprise and the greatest unsolved art theft in Minnesota history. As stolen money from the art theft surfaces, Ian finds himself the target of a criminal investigation by Brook Daniels, a prosecutor who is also his closest law school friend. He realizes too late that this simple investigation has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

  Library Journal Review

For young Minnesota attorney Ian Wells, keeping his deceased father’s law firm afloat while contending with his mother’s deteriorating health pushes him to the brink. When a new client promises him $200,000 for a week’s worth of work, he jumps at the chance. Big mistake. Thanks to its engaging characters and dizzyingly twisty plot, this legal thriller makes the perfect vacation getaway for John Grisham and Robert Whitlow aficionados.

Publisher’s Weekly Review

At the start of this tangled legal thriller set in 2018 from Johnson (The Deposit Slip), Sean Callahan, an Irishman whose father was an IRA hunger striker, approaches St. Paul, Minn., attorney Ian Wells about a trusteeship set up by his late father in 1998, for the late James Doyle. The trust named three beneficiaries to Doyle’s estate: Callahan; Doyle’s son, Rory; and Doyle’s brother-in-law, Edward McMartin. It stipulated that the three men would receive the proceeds only if they avoided involvement in any criminal activity for 20 years. The 20-year period has just ended, and someone must determine whether the three men are eligible to receive their inheritance. An exorbitant fee convinces Wells to agree, but he’s soon involved in a messy and dangerous investigation that will turn his personal and professional lives upside down. At the heart of the case is a fatal robbery at an art gallery 35 years earlier, “the largest art theft in Minnesota history.” Johnson reveals one surprising secret after another….

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