Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review: The Defense: A Novel by Steve Cavanagh

I like a good legal thriller, but I am picky. I like Scott Turow and Richard North Patterson, but not John Grisham. I like my legal thrillers to be cerebral, and to involve more time in the courtroom than running around with guns. The Defense mostly met my demands.

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artists. But after he was arrested, a judge saw something special in him--and the way he argued and won his case--and Eddie ended up going to law school and becoming a lawyer. But he quit practicing last year when he finally tried to quit drinking after his wife left him. And now his law partner has left him holding the bag on a big case, defending the head of the New York Russian mob in a murder trial.

The book went rollicking along and the pacing was spot-on with every chapter ending on a cliffhanger and the reader never really getting a chance to catch their breath. I usually read right before bed when when I tried that with this book, I found it was too thrilling and it wasn't good for bedtime reading. But stuck in an airport all day? Perfect.

I do wish that Cavanagh would have used fewer of the usual tropes. Did his wife, who he still really loved, have to recently divorce him? And he had a drinking problem? And his innocent daughter in trouble? I really started to feel like I was rereading The Lincoln Lawyer with some of this set-up. More originality would have been appreciated. That said, the case itself was interesting, even if there were a couple of spots where things happened that were a tad hard to believe. One thing I was impressed with was the language and the New York City setting--considering the author is Irish. It all rang true for me (but without any exaggerated accents, thank you!) This is a great book for legal thriller fans, with enough threat and danger to keep you on the edge of your seat, but within the realm of believability.

I got this ARC for free at Winter Institute. It was provided by the publisher.

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