Rick Acker: The Writer & His Book (with signed giveaway)

Rel & RA


I had the pleasure of catching up with Rick in August last year while at ACFW (he made me post this picture!). Not only can the man write exceptional legal fiction, he’s a very savvy lawyer and a great family man. I hope you enjoy this insight into Rick and his intriguing characters from his latest legal thriller, The Enoch Effect! And thanks to Rick, be sure to enter to win a SIGNED copy The Enoch Effect via the Rafflecopter form below.


The Writer

Please describe yourself in three words (ask your best friend or family if you are struggling!)

Handing the computer to my wife … interesting, creative, and funny

What’s your favourite season, and why?

Summer. Work slows down, all the kids are home, we’re usually looking forward to a vacation or two, the weather is hot & sunny during the day and cool & breezy at night, and life is good.

What is the best part of your day?

My commute. Really. That’s when I do most of my writing. I sit down on the train, open my laptop, put on my headphones, and lose myself in the story.

What do you miss most about your childhood?

The house I grew up in. It had been in the family for four generations and it was full of hidden nooks and forgotten treasures—the World War I battleship toys my great-grandfather played with, books forgotten in an old bookcase for almost a century, brass figurines a great-aunt brought back from India, and so on. It was torn down last year. Sigh.

You are at a fruit market – what do you reach for first?

Fresh sweet cherries, especially if I’m in Door County, Wisconsin.

What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

What is one author and/or book you always recommend?

It really depends on what I’m recommending, but I often wind up naming a C.S. Lewis book. My favorite novel is his Till We Have Faces.

What book character has stuck in your mind from a book you have read this year?

I finally got a chance to read Jim Rubart’s The Five Times I Met Myself. It’s a great book for many reasons, including the main character, Brock Matthews. Jim did a terrific job of getting inside Brock’s skin and making him a fascinating, multi-faceted character.

The Book

The Enoch Effect

Insurance litigator Leigh Collins has a knack for turning up that missing e-mail that wins the day or breaking down complex facts to sway a jury. So she’s hoping to make partner with her latest case: cancer researcher Dr. Elijah Rhodes and his life’s work are lost in a lab fire, and Biosolutions looks to cash in on a $100 million policy. Unfortunately, she’s up against Daniel Rubinelli, assistant general counsel for the biotech giant, who has a personal vendetta against cancer. In court, Leigh and Daniel clash from the beginning, ensuring a grueling case.

But soon greater concerns emerge. The late doctor might have found a “kill switch” for cancer cells—potentially wiping cancer off the face of the earth. While most of his findings were lost in the fire, he likely backed up his data, though encrypted beyond recovery.

Now, in this edge-of-your-seat thriller, two contentious lawyers must set aside their differences to locate the research before the doctor’s greatest discovery falls into the wrong hands…and the secret to life ends in death.

What was the working title?

The Enoch Effect Yes, the publisher actually let me keep the title. (Thanks, Sheryl and Amy!)

Describe your book in 5 adjectives

  • Thought-provoking: More than once, I found myself wondering about the thorny real-life issues raised by the subject matter of this book—particularly the genetic engineering aspects (many of which are unnervingly nonfictional).
  • Fun: I was surprised how much I enjoyed spending time with these characters.
  • Surprising: I worked hard on the plot twists in this story, and I hope readers won’t see them coming.
  • Reflective: I brainstormed this book with my former agent, Lee Hough, not long after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We were both thinking about questions of life and death, of course. This book wrestles with some of them.
  • Accurate: There’s much less science fiction in this book than you might guess.

Which character took you by surprise?

Bruno Rubinelli. He wasn’t even in the synopsis, but he wound up playing a key role—and being the character I most enjoyed writing.

What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

My brain generally turns to mush around ten o’clock, so I almost never write past then. And when I do, the scenes I write are usually terrible.

Which character’s name was the hardest to choose? Why?

Anne Smith, believe it or not. I needed something simple and semi-believable that she’d come up with on the spur of the moment. I actually wound up researching what people say when they lie about their names.

What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

There was a romantic subplot between Leigh Daniels (the heroine) and her boss that I cut out after writing several scenes. I realized that she had too much self-respect (and taste) to go out with a guy like Jack Diamond.

Meet Rick’s characters…

Leigh Daniels

Brief physical description

5’6” (though the doctor’s office says she’s only 5’5”); shoulder-length sandy blonde hair; slender; intelligent blue eyes.


A young Helen Hunt.

Strengths and weaknesses

Leigh is funny, compassionate, smart, polished, quick on her feet, and confident (at least in the courtroom). Outside of court, she struggles with insecurity, particularly about her job. And partially as a result, she is driven and ambitious to a fault. Her life goals are all basically career milestones that she wants to hit by certain ages. She doesn’t realize that there’s more to life than building a really impressive resume.

Quirk (if any)

She uses violent computer games to unwind. Her favorite is Zombie Hunter 3. She has an app that allows her to cut & paste people’s faces onto the undead. She uses it often with her opponent, Daniel Rubinelli.

Your inspiration for the character

She’s an amalgam of many young female attorneys I’ve known over my career.

Daniel Rubinelli

Brief physical description

6’0”; wavy brown hair; brown eyes flecked with gold; square jaw; muscular (he played American football through college)


A young Hugh Jackman.

Strengths and weaknesses

Daniel is tenacious, idealistic, caring, and brave. He’s also a pretty good lawyer, though Leigh generally gets the best of him in court. His main flaw is that he’s a little too trusting—and not everyone in his life deserves to be trusted.

Quirk (if any)

He’s a gifted amateur artist, particularly with watercolors.

Your inspiration for the character

Daniel is a lot like many lawyers I’ve met at the California Department of Justice: a crusader who left a high-paying law firm job because he wanted to be part of something bigger—curing cancer in Daniel’s case.

Background to the story

I read about some very interesting genetic research, the sort of thing that could change the future of the human race—for good or evil. Of course, I had to write a story about it.

Thanks Rick!

Rick Acker writes novels during his commute to and from his “real job” as a Supervising Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice. His unit prosecutes corporate fraud lawsuits of the type described in the #1 bestseller, WHEN THE DEVIL WHISTLES, which award-winning author Colleen Coble describes as “a legal thriller you won’t want to miss!”

Rick has led investigations and lawsuits that made headlines in and out of California. Most recently, he and his team won a string record-breaking judgments and settlements against the Wall Street players who created the toxic mortgage securities that triggered the Great Recession. BefoDaniel re joining DOJ, Rick was a senior litigator at Bingham McCutchen, where he worked on high stakes litigation, including a fight between two owners of the San Francisco Forty-Niners and a multibilllion dollar international fraud case. Rick has law degrees from the University of Oslo and the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with honors. In addition to his novels, he is a contributing author on two legal treatises published by the American Bar Association.

When Rick isn’t writing or lawyering, you can usually find him with his wife, Anette, and their four children. They’ll be exploring in the hills east of San Francisco, watching a good movie together, or, of course, reading. You can visit him on the web at www.rickacker.com

Relz Reviewz Extras
All Things Acker @ Relz Reviewz
Visit Rick’s website
Buy at Amazon: The Enoch Effect or Koorong

RR The Enoch Effect

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8 Responses to Rick Acker: The Writer & His Book (with signed giveaway)

  1. I’m not sure what you mean by “legal eagle”. I enjoy watching Perry Mason if that is what you mean. Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.

  2. I will have to say Perry Mason. My maternal grandmother always had a stack of Perry Mason books near her bed so I read many of them when I was a teen. I also used to watch the TV show with my paternal grandmother.

  3. I loved watching Judge Judy back in the day!

  4. I’m not sure who my favorite “Legal eagle” is. There are some new shows out but I’ve not really taken the time to watch them. My daughters like the movie, Fracture with Ryan Gosling. I liked the lawyer in the movie, Miracle on 34th Street.

  5. I really want to read one of Rick’s novels. This might be the one even though I’m pretty sure a previous one has found its way onto my Kindle.

    Fun interview, Rel & Rick.

    • Thanks, Ian! My last five novels are all on Kindle. ENOCH wouldn’t be a bad one to choose. Of all of the books I’ve written, this one is my favorite.

  6. Hmm . . . my favorite legal eagle would be my cousin Curtis Howard. He’s not on T.V., he has been. He’s in this clip from 20/20

    Thanks, Rel!

  7. I love Barba from Law and Order: SVU. That’s my all time favorite crime show and he’s been my favorite of the DAs so far.

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