Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).
The con-man turned lawyer premise of this book attracted me from the outset, as did the line “The truth has no place in a courtroom”. The Defence is Steven Cavanagh’s debut novel, and after reading this, I think he has a bright future ahead. He tackled the legal thriller genre with aplomb. Here’s the blurb:
Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.
It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy. Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if he wants to save his daughter. Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?
Lose this case and he loses everything.
And here’s a snippet:
In a criminal case, there are two doors for a jury to walk through: guilty or not guilty. Miriam tried to push the jury through her door. I wanted to hold the door open for them and welcome them in. Juries behave just like every other person on the street – they don’t like being pushed into anything; they like having a choice. (p87)
Fast-paced and action-packed, The Defence wastes no time getting to the nitty gritty – conman-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn has a difficult task at hand. Eddie, although not quite an anti-hero, uses his street smarts and con-artist skills to achieve his task – which is not exactly the one the mafia put before him. There’s plenty of double-crossing, legal loopholes and quick-talking, all adding up to a terrific read. You have to suspend disbelief a little, but it doesn’t matter – the tension is delivered by the bucket-load; short, sharp chapters keep the pages turning. If you’re a legal thriller fan, give this a go. You never know, this one could well become a movie.
The Defence is available from good bookstores and Hachette Australia (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Hachette Australia.