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Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

Book Summary

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom? What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

What I Thought

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
— Christopher McQuarrie, The Unusual Suspects

It doesn’t get any better than this! Steve Cavanagh has done it again, pulling out all the stops to bring another fast-paced, thrilling, rollercoaster read. A thoroughly compelling story in which the Devil truly is in the details.

Eddie Flynn is back in the arena, the courtroom that is, playing the ‘fall’ guy and sitting second chair to Rudy Carp, the lawyer representing actor, Bobby Solomon, in the case of the century. Thing is, Eddie has been talked into playing the fall guy by going after the cops who, Carp has convinced Eddie, planted evidence at the scene of a heinous crime, implicating Bobby Solomon in the murder of his wife and security guard.

While Eddie isn’t convinced either way, not yet at least, he’s taken the ‘second’ chair and, in doing so, the opportunity to do what he does best, because Carp Law has offered him something he needs right now. A boring, secure job in a big law firm, in order to win back his wife. He needs this, he tells himself. Because the one thing Eddie Flynn doesn’t want to lose right now, is his daughter. And if it means going ‘straight,’ and getting out of the way of the bad guys, Eddie is going to give it his best shot.

But not everything is going to go according to plan, as always. Cavanagh throws every possible spanner into the works, and mixes it up, putting Eddie back in the firing line, and in the sights of not just a couple of corrupt cops, but a serial killer.

As always, the author amps up the tension on several levels, as Flynn and Carp get set to defend Bobby Solomon, unaware there is another player in the room. One who has his own agenda and, a need to kill. Cavanagh alternates between Flynn’s side of the story, told in the first person, and that of serial killer and clever chameleon, Joshua Kane—and if this creepy unnerving guy doesn’t give you goose bumps, no one will.

I particularly like the way the author has written the alternating parts of this story, because while Kane is clearly a main story component, it’s through Eddie’s eye and thoughts that the story really opens up. Eddie is at the emotional heart of the story. Here’s a man trying hard to keep it altogether, because not only has he vowed to himself to do the right thing, but if he doesn’t change, he knows he will lose his wife and daughter for good.

So while we read about Kane and his past, and what makes him a cold-blooded killer, heartless to a fault. Eddie keeps us grounded in reality. And, in between the sensational details of a murder trial, a game of cat and mouse begins. But rest assured, Eddie Flynn is no mouse. He’s going to need his background as a conman not just to help get Bobby Solomon off a murder conviction, but to out-smart, and out-play a killer in their midst.

Aided by a well-round cast of characters that each have their own unique personalities, with some crackling twists and turns that had me furiously page turning, the climatic end left me almost breathless and dizzy. Intense, taut, adrenaline-fuelled, plausibly plotted, cleverly twisted, and masterly engineered to leave you wanting more.

Eddie Flynn and his author deliver another thoroughly absorbing and entertaining read. Highly recommended!

Waiting on Wednesday

Bonjour tout la monde: For today’s Waiting on Wednesday post, I want to talk about a new series I’ve just discovered written by British author, David Young. The first book in the series is STASI CHILD, featuring Lieutenant Karin Muller of the East German police. The premise alone was enough to get me hooked. I mean, after all, Lt. Muller is working with what we always think of as the bad guys, the Stasi; the State.

What’s more, this is set in an era—the mid 70s—in which I was actually living and working in Germany and had, on several occasions, visited East Berlin, as it was back then. So I instantly felt an affinity with the location and time period of this series.

Book Summary

1975: When Oberleutnant Karin Muller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the Berlin Wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But she soon realizes that this is a death like no other before it—the girl was evidently trying to escape from West Berlin.

As a member of the People’s Police, Muller’s power in East Germany only stretches so far. The Ministry for State Security, the Stasi, assures her the case is closed, all they need to know is the girl’s name. Yet they strongly discourage her from asking questions. The evidence doesn’t add up, and it soon becomes clear the crime scene has been staged. But this regime does not tolerate curious minds, and it takes Müller too long to realize that the trail she’s been following may lead her dangerously close to home.

David Young
Minotaur Books
Hardback, 416 pages

Top Ten Tuesday

I love me a good challenge but today’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday, from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, is what character names might make a good name for a pet and I was like, what? This is nearly as funny as using book titles as song titles. And, to be honest, I had a friend who named his two dogs after Lord of the Rings characters. So I can see how this would already be a ‘thing’ IRL!

I mean, who wouldn’t want a dog called Gollum, or a cat called Cotton Malone. And I’m going to make you work to figure out which character names I’ve chosen are from which books I’ve read … what, that’s cruel okay, I concede, I’ll tell you which book I pillaged the character name from.

So here are my choices from some of my favourite crime fiction characters:

  • GAMACHE — yes, my first pet name, straight out the gate comes from Louise Penny’s great Inspector Gamache series of Three Pines mysteries. This one would work equally as well for a cat or a dog. What do you think, would you yell at your dog Gamache?
  • HARRY BOSCH — from Michael Connelly’s series of books could work too. I think Harry and or Bosch would be another great name for a dog, though I envision a tortoise named Bosch noisily chewing on its lettuce.
  • TEMPERANCE “TEMPE” BRENNAN — you have a choice of all three or individual names from Kathy Reich’s famous character. I mean how about a cat named Temperance, or a bulldog named Brennan, or even a goldfish named Tempe? All sound choices right? Well, maybe.
  • V. I. “VICTORIA” WARSHAWSKI — okay, so maybe it’s a little more difficult to use Sara Paretsky’s famous PIs initials, or even that great Polish surname for anything other than a die-hard fan’s pet python. Not sure screaming Warshawski out the back door to call the dog in wouldn’t go unnoticed by the neighbours.  You might get some funny looks with that one.
  • HERCULE POIROT — but of course I have to have Agatha Christie, and I cannot have Poirot without MISS MARPLE now can I? And these two would make a great dog and cat pairing in my mind.
  • EDDIE FLYNN — so onward to Steve Cavanagh’s character, the ex-con turned lawyer, Eddie Flynn. Flynn is a great name for a pet and works well for a parrot or a budgie or any kind of feathered friend. While Eddie works equally as well for a dog or a cat. Eddie the cat definitely has a ring to it.

And here are my choices from some of my favourite SF and fantasy characters:

  • NEMO — top of my list would be Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, especially for a cat or a favourite fish. I mean come on, this is a classic, right?
  • TWEEDLEDEE or TWEEDLEDUM — I would have to choose one or other of these names from the ultimate in literary nonsense, Alice through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll. But again, more for a cat I feel than for any other kind of pet. Though I could see a pair of parrots being named after one or the other.
  • GREEBO — yes, this is, in fact, a fictional cat who appeared in several of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, featuring first in, Wyrd Sisters. But while your kitty might be a big softy, Pratchett’s Greebo was a mean one-eyed tom who ate at least 2 vampires (while in bat form). Could be the kind of name to give your favourite white rat, maybe?
  • TWOFLOWER — sticking with Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series of characters, I always had a soft spot for the amicable and out to lunch Twoflower who, while on holiday with the walking luggage, always made me laugh. He would be a fun name for pet. And his companion, RINCEWIND, would make a great pet name if you had a dog with bad flatulence.

A silly, fun set of character names for possibly the weirdest collection of oddly named pets you’re ever likely to come across, but you would definitely remember them. And you, what favourite characters would you choose as your next pet’s name?

#MurderMondays: A Twist of the Knife by Becky Masterman

Title: A TWIST OF THE KNIFE (Book #3)
Author: Becky Masterman
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781250074515
Genre: Murder-Mystery

Back Cover Blurb

Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn has seen it all, and survived.

But nothing can cut her closer to the bone than family…

Now happily retired in Arizona, Brigid gets called back to her home in Florida where her dad is suffering from pneumonia and her mother is suffering from chronic passive-aggression. Spending time with her dysfunctional family is not her fav thing, so when a close colleague asks for her help in overturning the conviction of a man on death row for killing his wife and three children, Brigid’s spirits are lifted.

Taking on the entire criminal justice system is easier for her than dealing with her embattled parents. That is, until Love rears its ugly head and Brigid suspects her colleague is going rogue even more than she ever did…

What I Thought

A TWIST OF THE KNIFE is a good, old-fashioned whodunit updated for modern sensibilities, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing who did what, and why. But this is no walk in the park murder-mystery, this is also a cleverly written tale of wrong doing. It’s serious, gripping and yes, in places, droll and witty. Thanks in part to Masterman’s two gritty, determined characters, hard-core senior citizen and ex-FBI agent, Brigid Quinn, who isn’t averse to getting the job done, and FBI agent, Laura Coleman. 

Two very different women; two very different sensibilities that make for a great dynamic. Both bound by a shared experience that has left scars on both their psyches and souls. Masterman puts Quinn and Coleman through the wringer both physically, and emotionally, as they race to undercover new evidence to save an innocent man, on death row. But nothing is ever as it seems. 

As her father lays dying in the hospital, Brigid has to contend with not only new revelations about her childhood, and more, both parents. But the fact that Laura just might be more involved with a convicted murderer than she cares to admit. And, as the pair try to race the clock, time ticks down, leads fizzle and die, and just when you think they might save the day, the plot takes a nasty twist.

With a great cast of well-delineated characters that range from a small-time loan shark, to Brigid’s brother, Todd, who she has some snappy arguments with, to the crusading Alison Samuels hellbent on seeing Creighton executed, Brigid has her hands full. Never mind dealing with her confessional mother. It’s the glimpses inside Quinn’s head that makes A Twist of the Knife a cut above the rest and how the story unfolds through her eyes, showing us how the characters not only develop but react and move the plot forward. 

And excellent read and, it must be said, an excellent series from Masterman. Another solid outing you’re not going to want to put down!

Book #1: Rage Against The Dying
Book #2: Fear of The Darkness