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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins


ISBN: 9781250011541
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 3/3/2015
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars
In Royce Scott Buckingham's Impasse, a man is left to die in Alaska while on an “adventure vacation” and must somehow survive to get his revenge on those who betrayed him.
Forty and facing a mid-life crisis, Stu Stark has lost his mojo. He simply gave up after being fired from his prestigious job as a prosecuting attorney for losing the biggest case of his career. So when Stu’s best friend gifts him a one-week trip into the Alaskan wilderness to rediscover his manhood, Stu thinks it just might do him some good. But after a horrible week, Stu is crushed when he realizes that no one is coming back for him. Dying, Stu is found by a grizzled old hunter who informs that winter has set in, and they’re not going anywhere for a while.
So begins Stu’s training to become the man he never was…and to get revenge on those who betrayed him. This adult debut by the internationally bestselling YA author is a modern day take on The Count of Monte Cristo.

My Review

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dunne Books, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
IMPASSE, by Royce Scott Buckingham is heart-pounding modern legal thriller of survival – action packed suspense with humor, adventure, betrayal, and delicious sweet revenge. Stuart Stark became the most famous lawyer in Massachusetts ever to lose a case and his job in the same week. The elected DA of Bristol County Malloy, could not handle being blamed for having a confessed murderer walk free on his watch, especially not in an election year. Now he practices civil law with Clayton Buchanan, a two man (Buchanan, Stark & Associates) firm in a low rent second floor space in a five story building. Not as close to the courthouse as he wants, nor particularly attractive office; however, with money for online research service and a full time secretary, this was about all they could afford. Clay was as gregarious as Stuart was cautious. Clay brought in work and Stu did it. Stu had become the quiet workhorse, wooing clients was a game for the bold, the risk-takers. Not him. Not anymore. "Clay on the other hand could backslap a local politician, and swap profane limericks with a dockworker, and pick up a virgin in a church pew. While Clay found the clients, Stu buried himself in cases and codes". Stu was a rule follower. He did not push the envelope. Never had. Never would. However, Clay, quite the opposite, decides to fire Stu, even though they are partners over an impasse, (Molson case), and he is approaching forty. Now he has to pretend to enjoy a surprise birthday party, plus he has to tell his wife Katherine (as she is awaiting a big score), so he needs to put off the discussion. So for Stu’s fortieth birthday, Clay gives him an adventure. One week in the wilderness in Alaska, and he is to leave in three days, so he does not have long to make his lists, but immediately starts preparing, as everyone calls him a pussy and always questions his manhood. Stu tells Clay he will go and he needs to get this deal done. Stu thinks a week in a cabin, how hard could it be, after all it could not be as hard as law school or the bar exam. Now he is getting psyched. A plane was supposed to pick him up in a week – no turning back. It was nothing like Clay promised. How will he survive? So much for the Edwin’s survival guide. WTF? What comes next is a terrifying and a wild adventure plus winter is coming. One thing for sure, he has lots of time to think about living. The idea of surviving to return to work so he could fight about other people’s problems was profoundly uninspiring. No kids, but maybe he would survive for Katherine—however, Katherine is not the faithful wife, and his sadistic partner Clay is playing a risky dangerous game, and no one comes for him in seven days, as promised. Tables are about to turn when Stu is found by a mountain man named Blake, left for dead. With his help and his time in the wilderness, and nowhere to go until spring –he becomes a different man, the man to take them all down! Wow, what a ride! I am a huge legal thriller fan--enjoyed the mix of humor, crime, wilderness, survival, and most of all the revenge. Reminds me a little of Dwayne Alexander Smith’s FORTY ACRES (lawyers, left in the wilderness, trapped, revenge, danger, good/evil). However, IMPASSE has more humor --an adventure, and true to the summary, a modern The Count of Monte Cristo, the classic tale-a young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous "friends," for eighteen years, escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge against his nemesis. I enjoyed Buckingham's witty sarcastic contemporary banter between Stu and Blake, as well as Audry; loved “Come on, Stu, man up.” . . . well, you have to read it, to see how he manages to win big time with this complex web of deceit. Guys will devour this one. Gals will think “hilarious”. Characters you will love and hate.
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