There are only a handful of authors who, when their books are published, I stop whatever I’m reading and crack open their new novel. Steve Cavanagh is one of those authors. When I found out earlier this year that the newest Eddie Flynn courtroom thriller was on the way, I preordered it immediately. The moment it hit my Kindle, I was all in, boots and all. I wrote an overview of the series before on this blog, and I reviewed the book before this one, The Devil’s Advocate, here. But today. I’m all about The Accomplice. For my money, this is my favourite of the series so far. I read the final third of the book when I should have been asleep. I just needed to know how it ended. I expected a twist or three, and boy did I get them. This book, along with all the others in the series, is the veritable definition of ‘page-turner’.
Eddie Flynn is a defence attorney based in New York City. In a past life, he was a boxer and a con-artist supreme, with connections to local organised crime. Getting the opportunity to practice law opened up a whole new world for him, one where he could use the skills from his youth in open court. Throughout the series he goes through a lot. His marriage and family life suffers tremendously; he drinks more than he should; and he faces life and death situations more than any other lawyer or human being should face. But he has a sense of decency, of justice, of right and wrong; and with the support of his adopted ‘family’, he faces each challenge with a zeal that can only come from righteous indignation. That said, Eddie is not against bending the rules or even breaking the law to see justice done.
The Accomplice finds Eddie and his team defending the indefensible, Carrie Miller is the most hated woman in America. She is the wife of Daniel Miller, The Sandman, a serial killer with numerous murders in his wake. Miller kills his victims, mutilates them, removes their eyes and puts sand in the empty sockets and other wounds on the victims’ bodies. These are horrific deaths and TheSandman is undoubtedly a sick and evil killer. When the FBI identify him, Miller goes on the run, leaving his wife Carrie to face charges. Evidence points to the likelihood that she was present for a least half a dozen of the murders. Her attorney, Otto Peltier, is out of his league and now a prosecution witness; so he tasks Carrie’s defence to Eddie, who takes on her case only when he and his team are convinced of her innocence. Eddie will not defend the guilty.
What I truly enjoy about Steve Cavanagh’s series is how each character is integral to the story. Eddie’s partner, Kate Brooks, was introduced a couple of books ago and she is as important to the series as Eddie is. The same goes for Harry Ford, an ex-judge who is Eddie’s long-time friend and mentor, and now acts as a consultant for Eddie and Kate. Melissa Bloch is Eddie’s investigator and Kate’s best friend. She is a force to be reckoned with and is the one person to have at your side when cases become more dangerous. New to this book is Denise, the office manager who I look forward to seeing more of in future instalments. Also new is Gabriel Lake, a former federal agent with a very mysterious past. He tracks serial killers with a zeal that sits awkwardly with his outwardly nerdish demeanour. Lake is fascinating. Whether or not we see more of him is up to Cavanagh.
Every chapter ends on a hook or cliffhanger, leaving readers like me with little choice but to keep going until the final page. When The Sandman takes one of the team hostage, Eddie is on the clock. He must find a way to acquit Carrie of all charges and save his colleague from certain death. The Accomplice is the 24 of courtroom thrillers. Take a seat in the public gallery and prepare to be enthralled, horrified, anxiety-ridden, and hopefully exonerated.
I read and enjoyed thirteen very much, though I don’t think Cavanagh’s books stand up well when it comes to a realism test; they are more of a “hang on and enjoy the ride” sort of read.