Monday, November 20, 2017

Boston Attorney Brady Coyne Gets Tangled Up in the Debate Over Gun Control

This is something of an odd entry in the Brady Coyne series, which the author, William G. Tapply, uses to explore the issue of gun control. Brady is having a solitary drink in his condo one evening when he gets a call from an old buddy named Wally Kinnick. Wally has come to Boston to testify at a hearing about a proposed state ban on assault weapons, but the guy who was supposed to meet him hasn't shown. Wally wants to know if Brady can pick him up and give him a couch to sleep on for the night. Naturally, Coyne agrees.

Kinnick is the host of a very popular TV show on the outdoors--hunting, fishing, environmental issues, and so forth. As a man well known for supporting the Second Amendment, he's been invited to speak to the committee considering the bill by a group called Second Amendment Forever, or SAFE. Apparently having nothing better to do, like going into his office and doing some work of his own, Brady accompanies Kinnick to the hearing. But there, Kinnick shocks everyone, particularly the member of SAFE who have jammed the hearing room, by testifying in favor of the bill, rather than against it.

Kinnick argues that a semi-automatic assault rifle is not an appropriate gun for a hunter, and following the hearing, Coyne and Kinnick have an unpleasant confrontation in a coffee shop with some of the aggrieved SAFE members. The group publishes a regular newsletter with an "Enemies" list in it and Wally Kinnick soon finds himself at #1 on the list. Apparently for the sin of hanging out with a traitor to the cause. Brady Coyne winds up at number 7 on the list.

Shortly thereafter, somebody shoots Kinnick out in the woods, and the game is on. Of course it could have been a simple hunting accident, but then again, maybe it wasn't, and perhaps everyone on the list is now a target. Brady pursues the matter out of loyalty to his friend and out of an instinct for self-preservation. But if the shooter begins taking the "enemies" out of order, Brady may not have much time in which to figure out what's going on here.

This is an okay read, but it's certainly not one of the better books in the series. Tapply spends a lot of time weighing the merits of the debate over gun control, or at least as that debate existed in 1995, when the book was published. Obviously the debate over guns has moved well beyond that point and as a result, some of the arguments presented in the book seem almost quaint. Completists will want to read this book, but more casual readers who simply want to dip into this series might look for another title.

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