The Advocate’s Daughter, by Anthony Franze

Nine stars

Returning with another crime thriller, peppered with legal undertones, Franze offers an explosive story that will rock the reader as the story unfolds. Sean Serrat is about to begin a new job in private practice, having recently left the office of the Solicitor General. Working in DC, he comes to realise that every lawyer is covered in politics, no matter how they try to protect themselves. He is also rumoured to be a nominee for the vacancy on the US Supreme Court, which creates an added buzz in a city that thrives on whispers. When Serrat’s daughter, Abby, goes missing, he turns to tracking her down, only to find her phone across town at the home of a friend. Things lead him to the Supreme Court Library, where Abby’s been murdered and stuffed in a corner. While Serrat tries to stomach what’s happened, he must also tell his family of his discovery. As they try to process what’s happened, a young man is charged with the murder. Awaiting trial, Malik Montgomery asserts his innocence and is willing to do anything he can to prove it. Serrat begins to explore what Abby had on her radar before her death, a law student and ambitious young woman. Serrat comes to discover she has been helping vet potential nominees to the Supreme Court, working on background research of the one man who may be better qualified than Serrat himself. This leads down a rabbit hole that forces Serrat to remember an event from his youth, one in a far away place he thought was buried long ago. However, as Serrat will come to learn, nothing remains a secret when there are witnesses. Is the Montgomery arrest the end of the Serrats’ concerns surrounding Abby’s murder, or could there be others harbouring additional motives, lurking in the shadows? Franze spins a tale that will keep readers wondering until the very end, and even then, questions linger. A powerful legal tinged thriller that is sure to garner significant praise.

Having read Franze’s previous novel, I see much improvement here. The story is much stronger an the narrative significantly crisper than before. Sean Serrat is a character that is not only relatable by the reader, but also intriguing for all he brings to the story. With a plot that is far from linear, Franze offers the reader many twists that take things in directions that are both unexpected, but also necessary. The further the narrative delves into the murder, the faster the pace, which forces characters to shape to their surroundings or be forgotten. Full of facts about the Supreme Court, legal methods, but also criminal activities, Franze educates readers while entertaining them with this story. His style and presentation make him memorable and this novel may pave the way to further success, should he keep writing in this genre. I will certainly recommend this novel and hope that it is not the end of Franze’s foray into criminal thrillers.

Kudos, Mr. Franze for your impressive reemergence on the scene. You took your critics’ comments to heart and shaped a much stronger effort this time around.