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: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

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: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Thirteen (Eddie Flynn #4), by Steve Cavanagh

Eight stars

With another Steve Cavanagh legal thriller completed, I remain in awe at the writing and strong story presented. The reader is swept up into the tale, with a plot that thickens constantly and a narrative that rushes ahead with no sign of losing momentum. Still trying to create a safe place for his wife and daughter’s return back into his life, Eddie Flynn is working on the right side of the law. He’s approached to sit as second chair in the celebrity murder trial of Robert Solomon, who is accused of the brutal murder of his wife. As Flynn parses through some of the NYPD evidence, he discovers an anomaly that could lead somewhere, though no one is really giving Solomon much of a chance. On a hunch, Flynn uses some of his resources to probe into an oddly folded and marked dollar bill found at the scene, only to discover that it has been found a few times before. While each previous murder scene has a convicted killer tied to it, Flynn begins to wonder if a serial killer is on the loose, using these dollar bills as a marker. Meanwhile, the elusive Joshua Kane has been working his magic and killing discreetly. He has a targeted group and does his work with an underlying motive in mind, ensuring others pay for the crimes he has so intricately orchestrated. Finding himself in the courtroom for the Solomon trial, Kane decides to make a few ‘adjustments’ to suit his fancy. While Flynn is laying out the case, Kane sits stoically and takes it all in. The case gains some needed momentum and Flynn sees what might be light at the end of the tunnel, but only if he can fit all the pieces together. Kane revels in how things are going and hopes to be able to influence the outcome, for he is not a mere spectator, but a member of the jury. A stunning piece that keeps the reader on edge until the final page, as Eddie Flynn tries to see justice met, even when the odds are stacked against him. Recommended to those who have come to enjoy Eddie Flynn’s legal adventures, as well as the reader who needs a stellar legal thriller to up their game this year.

Finding and devouring this series may have been one of my great accomplishments of 2019 and early 2020. Steve Cavanagh knows how to pen a wonderful legal thriller and uses the ingredients effectively to tell a sensational story. Eddie Flynn continues to grow in this series, trying to stay on the right side of the law in order to win back his family. However, as the reader discovers, it might be too little too late, with threats by criminals and safety issues piling up. Still, Flynn will not turn to his mistress, the bottle, to heal his wounds, as he tries to stay one step ahead in a case that has no room for error. There are a few wonderful repeat supporting characters, who enrich the larger story, alongside some newbies that keep the reader guessing as to how things will go. The story is brilliantly woven together, with a killer in plain sight whose work is not only missed, but who is able to tip the scales of justice effectively. Cavanagh has done well with this and kept me guessing with his intricate details throughout. A mix of chapter lengths and some ‘jury backgrounder memos’ left me wanting to know more as the case progresses. Might a murderer be able to hand out a verdict and send an innocent man way? As with any binge, when one reaches the most recent publication, there is a sense of angst. I will be eager to get my hands on the next novel, due sometime this year!

Kudos, Mr. Cavanagh, as you push the limits and do so well at challenging all I thought I knew about legal thrillers.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Liar (Eddie Flynn #3), by Steve Cavanagh

Eight stars

In this third legal thriller by Steve Cavanagh, Eddie Flynn faces one of the most daunting cases he’s ever faced, while being stuck in a web of deceit and lies that gets even more tangled with every plot twist. Having all but lost a connection to his family, Eddie Flynn has vowed to keep his legal practice quiet and above board. When Flynn receives a late night call from an old family friend, he is intrigued enough to make his way over to potentially sign-up a new client. On his way out the door, Flynn is served with a subpoena on a file he does not remember. When he arrives to help Leonard ‘Lennie’ Howell, Flynn learns that the case involves a kidnapping, specifically of Caroline Howell, a seventeen year-old girl. Howell intends to get the money from the insurance company and skim off the top, while forcing the kidnappers to release his daughter. Meanwhile, news of the Julie Rosen subpoena gains momentum, when Judge Harry Ford—someone to whom Flynn owes everything—is also implicated. It would seem that Rosen was a client of Ford’s, on trial for murdering her infant daughter and setting the house on fire. How can Flynn be involved in this case with the defendant long-dead and her insanity of no active consequence? While the authorities seek to locate Caroline Howell, they discover a large amount of her blood in the family basement, implicating Lennie as the likely killer. An explosion seeks to destroy all the evidence from the house, but Lennie Howell is still seen as the guilty party and Eddie Flynn now has a murder case on his hands. Howell insists that he is innocent and is being set-up, though the case seems fairly straightforward. When a prosecution witness takes the stand, the case implodes before the jury and everyone is scrambling to see if the witness is to be believed and whether Caroline might still be alive. Lies abound as Flynn is reminded of the horrors surrounding his own daughter’s abduction, but he must remain clear headed to serve his client well, and follow the progress of this mysterious Julie Rosen subpoena. A wonderfully constructed novel that keeps the reader hooked until the final reveal. This third book proves to be Cavanagh’s best, leaving the reader wanting more. Recommended to those who have come to love the Eddie Flynn series, as well as the reader who has a penchant for twisted legal thrillers.

I have been on a wonderful binge of these Steve Cavanagh novels over the past week or so. Their legal aspects are strong, mixed with a wonderful set of thrill-based plots that propels the novel forward. Eddie Flynn remains a gritty protagonist, still trying to keep himself above board when it comes to the practice of law. A former con artist, Flynn knows how to play dirty, though it would seem his clients have capitalised on this. Flynn uses his quick wit to astonish those who encounter him in court, finding the smallest nuance to blow a case wide open. Flynn is also fiercely loyal to those who have done him well, including Judge Harry Ford, who has appeared a few times in past novels. The handful of key characters in this story move the story forward in wonderful ways, building on their individual personalities to create a powerful narrative. The story itself mixes a child kidnapping with a case from years ago, keeping the reader busy as they juggle the multiple timelines in order to piece everything together. With a mix of short chapters and those of a heartier length, Cavanagh tells this shocking story that gets more tangled the further the narrative goes. A fabulous story that will keep readers wanting more while also appeasing series fans.

Kudos, Mr. Cavanagh, for another winner that has me rushing to get to the fourth novel soon. I cannot wait to see what awaits me!!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Cross (Eddie Flynn #0.5), by Steve Cavanagh

Eight stars

As I enjoy Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series, I thought that I would end the year with a novella that started it all, perfect for a single-day read. The book is a prequel to the series novels and sees Flynn ready to show his legal skills in quite the trying case. In civil court, Flynn has brought suit against Detective Fred Marzone and the NYPD for the death of admitted criminal, Chilli Hernandez, by strangulation. Marzone has hired a slick lawyer and someone has been targeting Flynn from within the NYPD. When Flynn is covertly approached by Internal Affairs, they promise to have something to bolster the case against Marzone, but everything must be done on the sly. It would seem that Marzone is part of the Morgue Squad, a group within the NYPD happy to act outside of the law and enforce contracts on active hits. As Flynn juggles this and tries to bring Hernandez’s widow some peace of mind, he knows that he might be placing a target on his back, one from which he will not recover. Wanting to do the right thing, Flynn must decide how he will handle this, knowing that one false move could bring horrible consequences in the form of a chalk cross and a visit by a man with a Zippo. A great novella that will surely pique the interest of any reader contemplating this series, as well as complementing the novels Steve Cavanagh has written in this evolving series to date. Recommended to those who like gritty legal thrillers, as well as the reader who needs a short piece to fill a little reading time.

I began the Eddie Flynn series a week ago and have already devoured two novels and this novella. There is never a lack of action or development with Flynn or those around him. Eddie Flynn, a former con man turned lawyer, has a gritty personality and wanted to do best for his clients. He has one major weakness, his family, who always seem to be targeted by those he wishes to see brought to justice. In this prequel, Flynn still has his wife and daughter as a part of his life, though his constant focus on work leaves him disappointing them both with regularity. He has some tricks up his sleeve, but must come to terms with the fact that NYC is a city filled with those who wish him harm, both inside the courtroom and on the streets. The reader gets a brief glimpse of Jack Halloran, Flynn’s legal partner and moral compass. This works well for those who have a few of the novels under their belt, provided backstory context to Flynn’s legal antics. With a handful of others making appearances as well, the reader can see many of the issues that Flynn faces while trying to distance himself from con work and the reputation that follows him. The novella was quite exciting and told in Cavanagh’s usually ‘flashback from the opening chapter’ format, perfect for those who love seeing a narrative grow. While I still have a few novels to read before I am caught up (and a new piece ready to launch in 2020), I am pleased I took this detour to learn more about the early Flynn.

Kudos, Mr. Cavanagh, for developing such a great series. I am hooked and hope others discover the spark I have with these pieces.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Plea (Eddie Flynn #2), by Steve Cavanagh

Eight stars

Returning for another in Steve Cavanagh’s legal series, I was eager to see what would become of gritty lawyer, Eddie Flynn. After his harrowing experience with the Russian Mob, Flynn is seeking a quieter life and a low-key practice. When he is visited by the FBI and CIA about an upcoming murder trial, he wants nothing to do with it. However, Flynn is given an ultimatum, not only to sign-up to represent David Child and get him off for murder, but also to turn him to testify against the firm representing him. It is only when Flynn learns that his wife is tied into a major financial scheme that he gives the offer a second thought. Ensure Child is found innocent of the murder and his wife’s guilt will be expunged. Flynn agrees to do his best and rushes to begin his assignment, noticing that he will have to collide with the District Attorney who has higher ambitions. As Flynn gets a base understanding of what is going on, he works with Child to better understand what it is he did for the firm and how his wife might have been caught in the web. This helps Flynn to better understand where the enemies wait and how they are surely plotting to frame Child for the murder of his girlfriend. Flynn can work with some of the basics at the preliminary hearing, but it will take all his efforts to ensure Child does not find himself on the wrong end of a murder conviction. With the impetus to help his wife and their daughter, Eddie Flynn will have to rely on his street smarts as much as his legal prowess. Cavanagh does a wonderful job at pacing this story out and keeping the reader hooked. Recommended for those who love a good legal thriller and readers who like stories with twists throughout.

After being enthralled with the opening novel in the series, I could not help plunging into this one head on. Cavanagh continues to impress with his storytelling and makes the reader want to know a little more, all while weaving together a wonderful story. Eddie Flynn comes a long way in this piece, keeping his con artist days behind him and focusing on trying to do better with all things legal. He is thrust into the middle of a complex situation, still holding onto feelings for a woman who all but gave up on him after their daughter’s kidnapping in the opening novel of the series. Flynn is also a strong attorney and finds the loopholes to defend his clients as best he can. Faced with a powerful DA, Flynn will have to pull out all the stops and save a man whose innocence will ensure all the dominoes fall as they should. Others grace the pages of this book and keep the reader highly entertained throughout, from the legal community, intelligence officers, and even the courtroom actors whose roles will shape the larger trial. Cavanagh depicts them all so well and keeps the reader fully involved in the process. The story is well developed and set with an ingenious plot that will keep the reader following along with ease. I cannot wait to see what else Steve Cavanagh has in store for this series, especially with the revelations towards the end of the novel. Eddie Flynn is surely someone well worth my time and I am pleased this series crossed my reading radar. Here’s hoping for another explosive legal thriller.

Kudos, Mr. Cavanagh, for a great second novel. I cannot wait to see how you will bring things together in the next novel!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Defense (Eddie Flynn #1), by Steve Cavanagh

Eight stars

Turing my attention to a new series, I wanted to try Steve Cavanagh’s legal thrillers, which have been recommended to be over the years. Eddie Flynn is a lawyer with a sordid past. Having hit the bottle when things were not going well and with a past as a con artist, Flynn has alienated his family and pushed himself close to being disbarred. After he takes over a murder trial for his former partner, Flynn has no idea what he’s agreed to do. Approached by the Russian mafia, Flynn is told that he will smuggle a bomb into the courthouse and plant it on the witness stand so that the prosecution’s witness meets an untimely demise. To help convince the lawyer, Flynn is told that his daughter is in the custody of the Russians, who are happy to kill her if the need arises. With all the pressure put upon him, Flynn tries to find legal loopholes that will allow him to win this case for his client without being implicated in any violent acts. Worried that Amy might still be harmed, Flynn seeks outside help, only to discover that there are moles on both sides at every turn. Walking on eggshells, Flynn advances the case to the point that ‘Witness X’ is set to testify, he who is supposed to be blown up. With Amy not yet safe and the threats mounting, Flynn must decide how to play it all and leave him able to live with himself. An intense legal thriller with twists that will keep the reader wanting to know more! Recommended to those who love legal thrillers, as well as the reader who enjoys seeing the ‘little guy’ fight for parity.

I always enjoy learning about new authors and the series they create that have earned much praise. The debut legal thriller has all the elements needed for a good series, with a lawyer whose luck seems to have run out and a client who refuses to accept anything but an acquittal. Eddie Flynn has a wonderful backstory, a lawyer whose skills are high but personal choices lead much to be desired. Allowing work to take over his life, Flynn alienates those who are most important. When placed in the unenviable position of having to break the law to secure his daughter’s release, there is no question about what he intends on doing. Using his legal skills and gritty personality, Flynn is able to bend the rules, though whether it is to his advantage remains in question. There are other characters who help to keep the story moving effectively. Cavanagh depicts them perfectly and keeps the reader on their toes as plot twists stack up throughout. With a strong story and some great action in the middle of a high-impact thriller, Cavanagh has set the ground for a great series here. I cannot wait to get to the next book, which is sure to add more to the Eddie Flynn backstory.

Kudos, Mr. Cavanagh, for a great start to the series. You have a great handle on the legal thriller genre and I will certainly continue with this series.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons