by Manning Wolfe
Published in 2016 by Starpath Books.
Manning Wolfe
Reviewed by Tony Burnett.
From the first paragraph of Manning Wolfe‘s new novel ignites with white-hot intensity seasoned with social humor. The narrative rushes headlong to the end, only occasionally allowing the reader to catch his breath. It’s a clear-cut tale of good versus evil where evil holds all the cards.
In Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer VS Boots King, we encounter Merit Bridges, a widowed attorney with an autistic son, who’s small but successful law firm represents the downtrodden and marginalized members of Austin Texas’ business community. Merit surrounds herself with a quirky but competent staff that magnifies the eccentricities prevalent in the culture of the “live music capital of the world”. While holding her own against the machinations of large developers our precariously balanced protagonist has casual sex with younger men, drinks too much wine, and probably cares too much about those around her. Her opponents in this incendiary caper meanwhile hire a dastardly demonic ne’er-do-well who enjoys his job more than he should.
The inherently deranged Boots King is a man without a moral anchor. His egocentric quest for the almighty dollar seems secondary to his enjoyment in causing other people grief and pain. Born into the oil business and raised in real estate, he is now employed by one of the nation’s premier outdoor advertising firms who use the small print on the back of a standard fill in the blank contract to land grab parcels of prime real estate. When Merit uncovers his scam he has no qualms about going after her, her firm and her family. Meanwhile the legal ramifications of these transactions end up in the leather upholstered boardrooms of the state’s top law firms.
Though some of the secondary characters in this novel leave room for development, the stakes, the plot and the emotional intensity of Merit’s trying life make this an entertaining read. Since this is the first installment in the Texas Lady Lawyer series it leaves room to expound on these individual’s quirks and eccentricities in later episodes. Fortunately, Wolfe has the literary integrity to construct this so it can be read as a standalone novel. You will not be left holding a lot of baggage, only a burning desire to read the next book in the series.
If you’re a fan of legal thrillers or if you like to see the underdog prevail, I recommend this story. If you live in or love Central Texas this is a must-read just for the setting and the related commentary.
Tony Burnett has been a member of the Writers’ League of Texas since 2010 and currently serves on the Board of Directors. His recent story collection, Southern Gentlemen, has been receiving positive reviews. He resides with his trophy bride, Robin, deep in the heart of Texas.

Search Scribe By Category
Email Subscription