Fifty-Fifty (Eddie Flynn #5), by Steve Cavanagh

Eight stars

Continuing with Steve Cavanagh’s great legal thriller series, I was pulled into this one from the opening pages. I tried to crack the case quickly, but only found myself more confused (in a good way) as things progressed. When two calls come in to 911 dispatch, they tell of a horrible attack on Frank Avellino, former mayor of New York City. The calls are placed by his daughters, Alexandra and Sofia, each pointing the finger at the other for the attack and sure that their sister is out of control. When police arrive, they take both girls into custody and arrest them for what turns out to be a murder. In a lottery system of sorts, lawyers flock to sign up the Avellino sisters, including Eddie Flynn. He’s able to sign Sofia Avellino, the quieter and more troubled sister, whose self-harm may be an impediment to her mental stability. With a DA salivating to nail at least one of the sisters, an offer is made to both in hopes that one will flip. The law firm representing Alexandra tries to rush the offer, which does not sit well with junior associate Kate Brooks, who also cannot stand the sexual harassment that she’s suffered by one of the named partners. In a bold move, Kate goes out on her own and convinces Alexandra to sign with her, sure that they can win the case by targeting Sofia as the weak link. While Flynn wants to destroy the DA’s case, he must keep the Alexandra attack at bay, worried that his own client will crumple under pressure. With a biased judge trying to work against him, Flynn will have to pull out all the stops to keep Sofia from facing the ultimate punishment, while trying to get to the bottom of what really happened that night at the Avellino mansion. With great plots and a handful of exciting characters, Cavanagh has penned what may be his best novel in the series to date. Recommended to those who love a good legal thriller, as well as the reader who has come to enjoy Eddie Flynn in all his glory.

Having binge reading the previous novels in this series a while back, I was forced to wait for the release of this novel. The wait was definitely worth it, as Steve Cavanagh does not hold back with the intensity and the legal maneuvering throughout. His focus on Eddie Flynn again is ideal, though there is little time or effort put into the backstory, but rather the ever-evolving legal career of a man who was once a great con artist with ties to organised crime. Flynn uses his strong legal mind the move through the minefield that is this case, where two sisters are pointing the finger at one another, with his own client the weaker of the two. Flynn’s gut says that she is telling the truth, though there is always the veil of mystery that keeps things from being too clear-cut. With a handful of strong supporting characters, Flynn pushes through to seek justice and the truth, not always the same thing. Cavanagh injects a number of strong characters on all sides of the story to keep things interesting and leaves the reader wondering what to expect. Included in this is a ‘she’ character, presumably one of the sisters and the actual murderer, as a perspective and storyline all her own evolves throughout the book, leaving the reader to wonder if it could be Alexandra or Sofia. In a story built on the she said/she said narrative, Cavanagh keeps the reader wondering throughout as to which sister is telling the truth and who might be lying. There are clues on both sides, but only one can be guilty, or so it would seem. With great build-up and a stellar court proceeding, the narrative catapults the reader into the middle of the action and will not let go. Chapters of varying lengths keep the reader hooked, particularly when ‘She’ is interspersed throughout, and the culmination will be a reveal the reader has sought from the opening pages. Likely the best of the series I have read, I can only hope that there are more to come soon, as Cavanagh has the gift for writing in this genre.

Kudos, Mr. Cavanagh, for another winner. I will have to read your standalone piece to keep myself busy as i wait for another Eddie Flynn novel.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: