The Devil’s Advocate (Eddie Flynn #6), by Steve Cavanagh

Nine stars

Back for another adventure in the world of Eddie Flynn, I reached for the latest novel by Steve Cavanagh. There is a gritty nature to these tales, in which Cavanagh shows how his protagonist has left a life of crime to help those who are being railroaded by the state. When Flynn is approached by an acquaintance to help with a crooked D.A. in rural Alabama, he cannot help but take on the case. Known for sending people to the electric chair, even if the evidence is flimsy, Randal Korn has made a name for himself. When Flynn arrives to defend a young man who is accused of murder, there are clashes from the outset. It’s only later that the truth about Korn comes to light, though Flynn may be powerless to stop it. Cavanagh does it again with a fabulously entertaining legal thriller that kept me up late into the night!

Eddie Flynn may have been a thief in his past life, but he is more than making up for it now, serving as a gritty defence attorney. When Flynn is approached by someone with deep connections to the Federal Government, he is intrigued to hear about something happening in Alabama. A fixed-election hoisted Randal Korn into the role of District Attorney, but since taking over, Korn has abused his power and earned the moniker ‘King of Death Row’, as he has ensured numerous people find their way to the electric chair. These convictions are sometimes based on flimsy evidence and the governor seems happy to oblige.

A young man stands accused of killing a woman he knew, though the facts are not as cut and dry as they would seem. Flynn and his team agree to make their way down around Mobile to look into the case, but are greeted with a less than pleasant welcome. It would seem that many in town have already made up their minds, fuelled by the rhetoric that Randal Korn has been spouting. Flynn finds himself on the wrong end of the local law and order, ending up touring the jail cells for a time.

After securing himself as defence counsel, Flynn attempts to piece together a courtroom plan, but is stymied at every turn. Others turn up dead, their bodies strewn about and possibly murdered, though suicide cannot be discounted. Korn pushes to ensure Flynn cannot do his job, pulling strings in a way that his fingerprints will not be found.

As the trial opens, Korn and Flynn face-off, each counting on victory. However, neither man can fully comprehend how far the other will go to ensure a tick in the win column. All this, while Korn holds a deep secret that only a handful know, namely, the White Camellia. Not only is Korn prosecuting these cases, he is behind the crimes themselves. And, should he fail to watch himself, Eddie Flynn may be the next victim. A chilling story that kept me reading and wanting more!

I stumbled upon Steve Cavanagh’s work a few years ago and binge-read all I could at the time. Eddie Flynn proves to be such a great protagonist and the legal angles of each novel held my attention like few have in recent years. I could not get enough of the legal plots and how effectively they developed in short order. Cavanagh has proven to be one of the great writers in his genre and I am always happy to pick up one of his books when I can find them.

Eddie Flynn has a wonderful backstory, which is developed in the early novels of this series. While never forgetting where he came from, Flynn has turned his life around and tries to help those who truly need legal assistance. His grit is like no other, using brains but also allowing some brawn when the situation begs for it. He has a strong passion for his profession, but is not entirely devoid of emotion, though he prefers not to remember all he lost during those criminal years. There is much to this man, who risks it all for those he defends, and I can only hope there is more to come.

Steve Cavanagh may not be American, but his novels sure ring true to the US justice system. Powerful storylines emerge with strong characters, quick narratives, and plot twists that keep things interesting. While the US legal thriller is surely an oft-penned genre, Cavanagh finds a way to make the stories his own. I get lost in the narrative and find things as realistic as can be, without being overly predictable, layering ideas and offering strong social commentary. I have come to recommend him to many who love the genre and only hope others will see my reviews and squeeze onto the bandwagon that is his fan club.

Kudos, Mr. Cavanagh, for another great piece. A crowded genre, for sure, but your storytelling abilities help you stand out in the crowd!

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