Lije Evans has taken on a case that involves a Middle Eastern American citizen being charged with murdering a family in their own home. He is also suspected to have connections to the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center on September 11th. Lije and another lawyer are the only ones who believe the man is innocent. There are those who want him put in prison, however. On top of this, the intrigue around the mysterious estate of Swope's Ridge escalates when the possibility of a deadly secret being hidden on the property arises. There are many people after this secret, and they are all willing to kill to get to it. But when someone Lije loves in put in the hospital for this cause, his priorities shift and the stakes become much higher.
Why throw a ridiculous court case into the potentially interesting story of Swope's Ridge? The court case is a non-factor as it is and only serves to clutter up the read. The entire mentality of this book is wrong. The mentality is what the public calls "suspense." This book is supposed to be exciting and interesting, but to me, it was really quite a boring read.
The characters suffer from under-development. One cannot feel that Lije Evans is even a real person. He has no thoughts, dialogue, or actions that serve to create a personality. He is basically perfect, but he relates more to T Davis Bunn's non-character entities. His robotic feelings do not make the reader feel like he is even real. The rest of the characters are bad as well, but Lije is definitely the worst. It only goes downhill from here.
Ace Collins does not seem content to stick with one foundational idea for his books. Instead, he crams multiple predictable plots into one book, causing multiple crucial areas to suffer. In Swope's Ridge, he crams an impossible court case, an ongoing murder mystery, and a save-the-world situation all into one mediocre plot. This is why to plot is a mess. Ace also proceeds to fix every possible thing he can think of, including finding Kaitlyn's killer from Farraday Road. There are also amateurish and unnecessary scenes including driving through a tornado that serve to clutter up things. Convenient connections cause the garbage can to overflow. Ace may have been good at non-fiction, but the evidence shows that he has no business being a fiction author. He can't handle it.
Good characters would have been a huge bound for him to complete. Eliminating unnecessary subplots would be enormous. The best thing about this book is the lack of a replacement romance for Lije. Ace probably didn't have time because he had too much else going on.
I would not recommend that Ace write any more books. The market can't take it.