Continuing my journey through the standalone work of David Ellis, I can see that he is able to hold his own, not needing a popular author to prop him up (which is how I have read his work in the past, a collaborative effort). This legal thriller is another example that there are gripping series right under my nose that I should be discovering and devouring. Jason Kolarich was surely a complex character in the opening novel and suffered much. As this book begins, the reader gets some more backstory on the case of State Senator Hector Almundo and corrupt practices that led to the death of a store proprietor. This was also around the time that Kolarich lost his wife and daughter in a freak auto accident. Saddled with this, Kolarich’s spiral into depression saw him try to isolate himself. However, he has the legal spark inside him and found a way to dust himself off. When the wife of one witness from the Almundo case comes to see him, asking that he help find out why her husband was killed, Kolarich is interested, though he is not sure if it will open a Pandora’s Box best left locked. Almundo is so thankful for the exoneration that he helps Kolarich score a lucrative job vetting state contracts in which kickbacks are going directly to the governor’s campaign coffers. While Kolarich is keen to stay on the up and up, someone alters his memo and the US Attorney is prepared to charge him in the scheme. However, there is a way for him to save his hide, by acting as a confidential informant and offering up bigger fish. Kolarich agrees, somewhat hesitantly, and begins working on the inside, only to discover this is a highly dangerous venture. In an operation that sees Kolarich climb the rungs of power within the state, he discovers that there is more to the Almundo case than he thought and that targets may be tied to a ruthless man in the governor’s mansion, with many around him equally as dirty. If only Kolarich can get what he needs to clear himself, and get answers for a grieving widow as well! Ellis has done it again, pulling me in and making me want more. Recommended to those who love legal thrillers that are anything but cookie cutter cases, as well as the reader who likes a side of gritty in their books.
David Ellis does so well on his own, though I can see what some of his more recent work is tied to a popular author, where he can still write and ensure some higher royalties as well. Ellis crafts strong legal stories with plot lines that never stop. Jason Kolarich continues to be a worthwhile protagonist with a past that is more thoroughly revealed in the opening section of this book. His grit and determination emerge throughout as he puts himself on the line to help others (while trying to stay out of prison himself) and he never stops playing all the angles. While he may not always make the best choices, he stands by them and works himself out of the corners into which he paints himself. The reader learns more about his post-family life with a law partner and a practice that is mildly successful, alongside a peppering of other characters whose presence serve the purpose of the narrative. More grit than courtroom acumen in this piece, Ellis and Kolarich both exemplify the darker and more troubling side of the law and legal antics. The reader encounters many writing flavours throughout, blended to make a stellar final product. Never losing momentum, Ellis offers the reader something they can enjoy, as they contemplate reaching for the next novel in the series.
Kudos, Mr. Ellis, for another great thriller. I am bingeing the series, so I will grab for the next book right now!
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons