Monday, May 20, 2013

Minus 1: The Drew Smith Series Book Review

I read Minus 1by Norwood Holland, in exchange for review from Write Now Virtual Book Tours.

About the Book:

Minus One the Drew Smith Series prequel takes us back when the attorney launches his legal career. Before the ink is dry on his license to practice law Drew Smith finds himself at the center of a murder mystery. The recent law school graduate works as a hotel concierge and befriends two bellmen an Arab and a Latino, Medhat and Julio. Like the three musketeers they bond in a fraternal friendship put to the test when Medhat is kidnapped after running up a drug tab he can't pay. Rescued by Drew and Julio, Medhat then becomes the prime suspect in a string of murders. Driven by their romantic entanglements the attorney is captivated with a pretty Latina whose father objects to her dating a Black man. Julio and his Filipina love find themselves expecting, and Medhat’s passion for blondes gets him snared in a femme fatale's net. Minus One captures Drew Smith's evolution from youthful indiscretion to a professional burdened with seriousness of purpose.

My Review: 
The book starts off with suspense. Two officers are called by an elderly female to check on her neighbor, Carol. She heard a disturbance but did not want to enter Carol's apartment (she had a key) without a police escort. While the officers was investigating the scene, a mysterious man (Medhat) enters the apartment. Anyway,  The elderly neighbor knew Medhat, but the police did not. The book is set in the 1980's. The prologue was nice. loved the description, the scenery, and the characters. Great start to a book. 

Medhat is a Christian, Part Egyptian, Part Martinican, but born in America.  Medhat has charisma, charm, persuasion, and he loves women--which is what got him into the bulk of his trouble in the book. Medhat is living a hedonistic lifestyle. Medhat also does coke. Medhat is close with Drew and a Latino named Julio. 

Julio is a Nicaraguan, former gang member, and had 5 brothers and sisters. His father died in an construction accident. Julio did not graduate from high school. Julio is dating an Asian, named Chevy. 

Drew Smith enters the book, starting with chapter one. He is called to help Medhat get out of jail for potential involvement in the prologue. Drew is more serious than Julio and Medhat.  It also seems everyone's lives revolves around Medhat, then toss in a juicy sex scene, which I was not expecting. Have not read a sex scene in a book in a long time. 

Drew has only known Julio and Medhat for a few months. The three friends met when Drew worked as a concierge at a hotel, while Julio and Medhat were bellhops. Drew had just completed law school, but not obtained his results from the bar exam yet. Drew is dating a Latina named Nina. He does obtain his results around Chapter 10 or 11 of the book. 

Carol enters the book in chapter 3. Not much is given about her at first, except she is a blonde and she is a friend of Julio's at first. She has a jealous boyfriend, Fast Eddie. She meets Medhat at the club. They danced. He followed her into the bathroom, won her over with his charm, and got her number. Then, a fight ensues. Great fight.

You also have Lauren, a drug-dealer, crack-user, and loves to have sex. She works for Fast Eddie and Medhat owes Eddie money. Next, Johnny Black is Eddie's right hand man. 

The book is fast-paced. From the time, Drew, Medhat, and Julio agreed to club after work, to a fight, to sharing a woman sexually, etc. Medhat and Julio began integrating themselves into Drew's life. Taking over is more like it (Drew's house, bed, car, clothes, space). 

The book overall is very descriptive. The scenes will pull you in. The characters and plot are well-written. Norwood did a good job with this book. 

About The Author:

Norwood Holland is a freelance writer, lawyer, and author of the Drew Smith legal thriller series based on the capers of an urban trial attorney. He is a graduate of Howard University School of Law with a bachelor’s degree in English from Fisk University where he studied under the renowned Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps. Holland favors D.C.'s local color in his fiction and currently writes the blog devoted to promoting independent authors among other things.

He has served in several government agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and a number of Washington’s top national law firms. In the mid 90s Holland began freelancing for the local media. Some of his credits include The Writer Magazine, the Examiner, and Black Literature Magazine. Minus One follows up on the success of Sleepless Nights, the first in the Drew Smith Series.

Author website:
Write Now Virtual Book Tour


  1. Thanks Stacie,

    For featuring and doing a book review for Norwood. Looking forward to working with you again.

  2. Right now Minus One is getting a warm reception. The challenge with writing a series is making sure the next installment is a good or better than the first first. As a writer I think I' m evolving and improving. I'm already well into the third book Snakehead, and you now the saying the third time is a charm and I'm aiming to prove the rule. About 10 years ago I read a book by Marsha Sinetar: Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood." I took her advice to heart, and the writing life is turning out to be everything I had hoped. Thanks to all for their support and interest.


Please leave a comment. Thank you. Stacie