(32. - 1137.) Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh – Cavanagh challenged my reading preferences or prejudices depending on perspective. I am not fond of serial killers. Who is? Deaths are in abundance. Major violence is self-evident. They are abhorrent creatures. Yet they can be compelling.
Joshua Kane is a brilliant man. Unfortunately, he is a wicked man. Killing is a game he has mastered. A master of disguise he is incredibly patient and well studied in the disposition of bodies. I was reminded of several villains created by Jeffery Deaver in the Lincoln Rhymes series.
New York City defence lawyer, Eddie Flynn, is clever in court and confident to the point of cockiness. He is asked by Rudy Carp to be second chair on the trial team for star actor Bobby Solomon in another Trial of the Century. Solomon has been charged with killing his wife, Ariella Bloom, and the head of their security, Carl Tozer.
Providing Flynn with the evidence and arguments no longer involves multiple binders of documents. Flynn is provided with all the material on a laptop. A member of Solomon’s security team accompanies the computer.
On the morning jury selection is to begin, Carp withdraws from the case as Solomon’s movie studio has decided not to pay Carp’s fees for a trial.
The prosecutor is Art Pryor. He is a roving prosecutor called in by D.A.’s to conduct high profile murder cases. He is talented with an ego that fills the courtroom.
Flynn takes up the challenge of representing Solomon on his own with the aid of jury consultant, Arnold Novoselic.
Kane killed Bloom and Tozer and is determined to be one of the jurors deciding Solomon’s case. He is inventive and ruthless. How he got a summons, answered the written questions and responded to the oral questioning of the lawyers reflect his twisted talents.
Flynn is still building his defence as the trial gets underway with Flynn’s good friend, Harry Ford, the presiding judge. While fond of Flynn he will not favour Flynn during the trial.
Tossed into the plot is a feud between Flynn and New York detectives. It was a distraction which detracted from the plot.
The trial was gripping. The evidence is laid out briskly. Flynn challenges the State’s witnesses seeking to create doubts in the mind of the jury. While mounting attacks on the prosecution evidence Flynn faces the challenge of not having an alternative to Solomon. Claiming there was an “unknown killer” is difficult in front of a jury. “Unknown” leaves juries with the impression there is no alternative.
Flynn has no idea there is a rogue juror out to sway the jury in favour of conviction.
Through the book Kane explains his actions. He is on a mission. Cavanagh’s venture into the mind of a serial killer is effective.
In the background, the FBI is searching for a serial killer they have named “Dollar Bill”.
There is a lot of action for a legal thriller. I would have appreciated less blood.
Cavanagh further reminded me of Deaver with an unnecessary twist at the end of the book.
While the plot strained credibility, as will be further discussed in my next post, Cavanagh drives the story and the pages turn easily. There is barely a pause. I read a good portion of the trip during a pair of 3 hour flights as Sharon and I made our way home from our November cruise.