😀 😀 😀 😀
It’s been a year since lawyer Eddie Flynn last stepped into a courtroom, but he has no choice when the head of the Russian mafia makes him an offer he can’t refuse. With a bomb strapped to his back and his young daughter being held hostage, Eddie has to make sure Olek Volchek beats the murder rap he’s facing, or else. And he only has 48 hours to do it in.
Eddie used to be a conman before he became a lawyer, and found that the skills of his earlier profession translated well to his new career. But a year before the book begins, a case went badly wrong, and Eddie was plunged into a downward spiral of drunkenness that led to him losing his family. After undergoing rehab, he’s now dry(ish) and getting back on track, but the events of the past still haunt him. The sub-plot of the case that drove him away from the law runs in parallel with the main story and provides a bit of background to Eddie’s character.
The baddies are the stuff of caricature, evil monsters who will go to any lengths to protect themselves. Fortunately they’re also pretty thick, giving Eddie the chance to try to con his way out of the situation. An added bonus is that the judge, prosecutor and state witnesses are frankly rather sub-standard, allowing Eddie to manipulate them to help damage their own case. And it’s good that Eddie also happens to have the physical powers of a low-grade superhero, a common feature of the ‘ordinary’ guys who find themselves in the plots of thrillers. But Eddie is a likeable character, and the first-person past tense narrative allows us to follow his thought processes (though he occasionally keeps stuff back to help build the tension). Underneath his problems, he’s a good guy who loves his family and would do anything to save his daughter, and his chequered past has given him the kind of friends that come in useful when tackling the mafia. (I’d love to have a friend called Jimmy the Hat, wouldn’t you? Apparently he’s called that because he wears a hat! Who’d have thought it?)
This is described as a legal thriller and the publisher compares it to John Grisham, but I feel it would be more accurate to describe it simply as a thriller, since the legal side of it takes a back seat to the action-man stuff in the end, and I’d be more inclined to compare it to Harlan Coben in style. It’s marginally less believable than Santa Claus (sorry, kids!) but good fun – well-written, fast-paced and with plenty of twists to keep those pages turning, all leading up to an explosive climax. There’s a lot of violence, but it’s not graphically described, and thrillingly there’s pretty much zero foul language and no sex scenes! Who knew you could write a good book without those ingredients, eh? Overall it’s a very good debut that augurs well for the future, and I’ll certainly be looking out for Steve Cavanagh’s next book. Highly enjoyable!
NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Orion Publishing Group.