CTG Reviews: THE PLEA by Steve Cavanagh

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Here’s what the blurb says: “When David Child, a major client of a corrupt New York law firm, is arrested for murder, the FBI ask con-artist-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn to secure Child as his client and force him to testify against the firm. Eddie’s not a man to be coerced into representing a guilty client, but the FBI have incriminating files on Eddie’s wife, and if Eddie won’t play ball, she’ll pay the price. When Eddie meets Child he’s convinced the man is innocent, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. With the FBI putting pressure on him to secure the plea, Eddie must find a way to prove Child’s innocence while keeping his wife out of danger – not just from the FBI, but from the firm itself.”

Steve Cavanagh’s debut novel – THE DEFENCE – was one of my top reads of 2015 so I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second book in the Eddie Flynn series – THE PLEA – and was delighted to get my hands on an early copy.

Picking up a little while after the end of THE DEFENCE, THE PLEA sees con-man-turned-criminal-defence-lawyer Eddie Flynn facing another terrifying situation: persuade social media genius David Child to become his client and get him to plead guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, or the FBI will make sure Eddie’s wife goes to prison for involvement in an illegal scheme operated by her law firm that she had no direct knowledge of. But Eddie suspects that David Child is innocent, and he won’t send an innocent man to jail. He doesn’t want his wife in jail either, especially given the ordeal their young daughter, Amy, had during the THE DEFENCE, and the fact that he’s only just beginning to get his family back together. Eddie sets out to prove David Child’s innocence, and to protect his own family. Problem is, there is more than one bunch of bad guys after David Child, and some are closer to home than even Eddie might think.

To me, Eddie Flynn is a bit like the Jack Bauer (of 24 fame) of the the legal world. He’s smart, fast and always under pressure. In fact that’s another thing I admire about Steve Cavanagh’s writing – he gets an urgent, time pressured feel to his novels right from the get-go, and still manages to turn up the tension chapter-by-chapter. The ticking clock is heard on every page.

THE PLEA is a great second outing for Eddie Flynn. We learn a bit more about him, and we get to meet some of his shadier friends (both from the criminal and legal worlds) again – including one of my favourites, The Lizard (who only talks about himself in the third person). There’s a strong investigative side to this novel too – with Eddie needing to reassess the prosecution’s evidence in order to try and get the case thrown out – which gives a great balance with the action sequences. Set against the dramatic backdrop of New York City, with a high-concept storyline and twisty-turny plot, this is a fantastic follow-up to THE DEFENCE.

Electric courtroom scenes, stunning set-piece action sequences and the brilliantly witty and unique character of Eddie Flynn, makes THE PLEA a tremendous read and an absolute must for all thriller fans.

THE PLEA is out today in Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio. Buy it here from Waterstones or from Amazon here

To find out more about crime writer Steve Cavanagh hop over to his website at www.stevecavanagh.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @SSCav

#ThePlea Blog Tour: Guest Post by Steve Cavanagh – Influences. I’ve had a few.

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Huge thanks to CTG for letting me have a guest spot on this great blog. I’ve chosen to talk a little about my influences, and how they may have affected the books that I write, or even the way that I write. Style. That’s the word. At my first ever event as an author I remember being asked by Colin Bateman what I would say my “style” of writing was like. At the time, I’d written my first book, I’d been lucky enough to get a book deal, and I was working on my second novel, The Plea. My answer must’ve been disappointing, but it was honest. I said, “To tell you the truth, I’m not sure that I have a style.”

To me, other authors that I’d read and loved for years, had style. The likes of John Connolly – who writes in beautiful, poetic prose. His Charlie Parker novels are essentially gothic detective novels, but they are shot through with humour, warmth, and a good dollop of the supernatural. Raymond Chandler had style. His language was at times strange and wonderful especially in those extended metaphors. Michael Connelly has an almost journalistic style – a beautiful, unadorned simplicity that somehow transports you straight into the heart of Los Angeles and into the passenger seat beside Bosch. I also love the stripped back genius of Lee Child – with those tripping, declarative sentences that are almost musical. Speaking of music, Elmore Leonard played a tune in dialogue that few others could even get close to – perhaps only Ian Rankin is Leonard’s equal.

So having read all of those authors, and more, what kind of style did I have? At the time, I couldn’t see it. I think that it takes a few books to emerge. At the time I began writing, I never once thought about my style of writing or even trying to create one.

It’s difficult to determine how those authors I’ve mentioned above have influenced me or the books that I write. In asking myself that question, I can only think of one answer. All of them tell brilliant stories. And those stories are told in uniquely brilliant ways.

A style, I suppose, is the sum total of its different parts. So it’s every author that I’ve read, filtered through me. And no-one else can sound like that. If you asked me today what my style is, I’d still have to give a bit of a vague answer. I only know what I like to write. I like stories that start quickly, that move with enough speed to keep the reader hooked, and while all the fireworks are going off, I like to try and make the reader think. My language is fairly simple because I like it that way. I do aim for a twist or two, because as a reader I enjoy twists and turns. Most of my style probably comes down to character. If I can get my characters to tell the story, rather than me – the writer, then I think I’m going in the right direction.

Influences are like parents, you can’t really choose them. I’ve been lucky in that the writers that have influenced and inspired me the most are some of the greats of the genre. There’s not a bad book in any of them. Apart from the pleasure I get from their work, they also drive me to try and be a better writer.

That’s really all the influence you need.

 

A big thank you to Steve Cavanagh for making the CTG blog today’s stop on his blog tour.

THE PLEA is out on May 19th in Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio. It’s a tremendous read and an absolute must for all thriller fans. Here’s what the blurb says: “When David Child, a major client of a corrupt New York law firm, is arrested for murder, the FBI ask con-artist-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn to secure Child as his client and force him to testify against the firm. Eddie’s not a man to be coerced into representing a guilty client, but the FBI have incriminating files on Eddie’s wife, and if Eddie won’t play ball, she’ll pay the price. When Eddie meets Child he’s convinced the man is innocent, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. With the FBI putting pressure on him to secure the plea, Eddie must find a way to prove Child’s innocence while keeping his wife out of danger – not just from the FBI, but from the firm itself.”

Pre-order THE PLEA here from Waterstones or from Amazon here

To find out more about crime writer Steve Cavanagh hop over to his website at www.stevecavanagh.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @SSCav

 

 

CTG Reviews: THE DEFENCE by Steve Cavanagh

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To celebrate the paperback release of THE DEFENCE I’m re-running my review of this fabulous thriller …

What the blurb says: “Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.

It’s been over a year since Eddie Flynn vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy. Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if he wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible? Lose this case and he loses everything.”

The Defence is hands down one of the best legal thrillers I’ve read in years. Eddie Flynn – con artist turned lawyer – is haunted by the last case he took to trial. He’s turned his back on the legal profession, taken up drinking and become estranged from his wife and child. Things seem pretty bad, but as the reader discovers from the very start of The Defence, things are about to get much, much worse for Eddie Flynn.

With his daughter abducted, and a bomb strapped to his own body, Eddie is forced to represent Olek Volchek – a man he has no doubt is guilty of murder. In order to buy enough time to figure a way out of the terrifying situation he’s in, Eddie has to draw on all his skills – both legal and criminal – and his friends on both sides of the law, as he gambles against increasingly higher risks in his attempt to get his daughter safe. Smart, courageous and driven by the need to protect his young daughter, Eddie makes for a compelling character – someone you can really root for.

This rapid-paced, page turner has bucket-loads of action and piles of sky-soaring tension.

A fabulous must-read – highly recommended for all thriller fans.

To find out more about Steve Cavanagh and his books hop on over to his website at stevecavanaghbooks.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @SSCav

And to buy THE DEFENCE from Amazon click here or buy it from Waterstones via the link here

CTG Reviews: THE DOMINO KILLER by Neil White

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What the blurb says: “When a man is found beaten to death in a local Manchester park, Detective Constable Sam Parker is one of the investigating officers. Sam swiftly identifies the victim, but what at first looks like an open-and-shut case quickly starts to unravel when he realises that the victim’s fingerprints were found on a knife at another crime scene, a month earlier.

Meanwhile, Sam’s brother, Joe – a criminal defence lawyer in the city – comes face to face with a man whose very presence sends shockwaves through his life. Joe must confront the demons of his past as he struggles to come to terms with the darkness that this man represents.

Before long, Joe and Sam are in way over their heads, both sucked into a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to change their lives for ever …”

THE DOMINO KILLER is the third instalment of Neil White’s Parker brothers series and it fully delivers all the pulse-pounding tension, twists, and page-turning action that fans of crime thrillers crave.

The book opens with criminal defence lawyer Joe Parker being called in for a client meeting with a man charged with a bizarre theft, and detective Sam Parker involved in investigating a series of seemingly unconnected murders. But neither situation is quite as it first seems, and soon the cases collide in an explosive way that neither brother could have anticipated.

This story has the perfect balance between procedural detail and high intensity action. There’s a real immediacy to the writing and a chilling sense of jeopardy right from the outset that carries all the way through the book to the show-stopping finale. As the story develops, and the brothers’ cases become increasingly intertwined, the tension rises ever higher – making this one of those books that has you reading well into the early hours, desperate for sleep but unable to resist reading just one more chapter.

But this book isn’t just about the action. There’s a real emotion kick too, delivered as the brothers get closer to identifying the man who was responsible for their sister’s murder back when they were teenagers. As the stakes ramp up, they are forced to decide just how far they’re willing to go in order to get justice – putting their careers, their friendships, their families, and their lives on the line.

THE DOMINO KILLER is a fantastic read. It stands alone, but if you’ve not read the first two books I’d urge you to go back and start at the beginning of the series – it will be well worth it.

Utterly authentic and captivatingly compelling, this story grabs you by the throat and keeps you pinned right from the first page to the last.

An absolute must-read for crime thriller fans, and one of my favourite books of 2015.

 

To find out more about THE DOMINO KILLER you can read my interview with Neil White here, check out his website at www.neilwhite.net and follow him on Twitter @neilwhite1965

You can get THE DOMINO KILLER from Amazon by clicking on the book cover below:

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[With thanks to those lovely folks at Sphere for my copy of THE DOMINO KILLER]

CTG Reviews: #TheDefence by Steve Cavanagh

The Defence cover image

The Defence cover image

What the blurb says: “Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.

It’s been over a year since Eddie Flynn vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy. Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if he wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible? Lose this case and he loses everything.”

The Defence is hands down the best legal thriller I’ve read in years. Eddie Flynn – con artist turned lawyer – is haunted by the last case he took to trial. He’s turned his back on the legal profession, taken up drinking and become estranged from his wife and child. Things seem pretty bad, but as the reader discovers from the very start of The Defence, things are about to get much, much worse for Eddie Flynn.

With his daughter abducted, and a bomb strapped to his own body, Eddie is forced to represent Olek Volchek – a man he has no doubt is guilty of murder. In order to buy enough time to figure a way out of the terrifying situation he’s in, Eddie has to draw on all his skills – both legal and criminal – and his friends on both sides of the law, as he gambles against increasingly higher risks in his attempt to get his daughter safe. Smart, courageous and driven by the need to protect his young daughter, Eddie makes for a compelling character – someone you can really root for.

This rapid-paced, page turner of a legal thriller has bucket-loads of action and piles of sky-soaring tension.

A fabulous must-read – highly recommended for all thriller fans.

 

To find out more about Steve Cavanagh and his books hop on over to his website at stevecavanaghbooks.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @SSCav

Indie Spotlight: Kiss and Tell by T J Cooke

book cover: Kiss and Tell

book cover: Kiss and Tell

A legal thriller with a heart

Now, I must admit, legal thrillers aren’t usually my thing. However what I especially liked about this story, and which makes this book stand out, is the main character, and heroine of the story, Jill Shadow.

Jill’s single parent who started in the company as a secretary and worked her way up the career ladder – juggling work, childcare and study – to become a qualified lawyer. Determined and courageous (aside from when dealing with spiders) she tackles the challenges that come her way in a direct and bold fashion, even if she might be trembling inside.

But Jill’s got a secret. When the unthinkable happens, and her life, and that of her child, are put in danger Jill sets out to determine the truth behind the case of drugs-mule Bella Kiss who claims to be an informant to local detectives, and the seemingly unlinked release from prison of Jimmy – her ex-boyfriend and father to her daughter Hannah. She discovers corruption and criminal activities that stretch far further than she had ever imagined.

The story is told in chapters which alternate between real-time (Jill in a police safe-house, desperate to find her missing daughter) and the past (her relationship with her ex – Jimmy – and the Bella Kiss case) that has led to her current predicament. It’s an interesting structure, and one that keeps you trying to piece together the clues and solve the puzzle along with Jill. It starts at a steady pace which rises significantly in the second half.

Kiss and Tell is an innovative, quirky take on the legal thriller sub-genre.

 

Author and screenwriter, Tim Cooke, a former legal executive, was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for me.

Where did you get your inspiration for Kiss and Tell?

Kiss and Tell is an amalgam of two story strands, the journey of Jill Shadow, from a naive teenage secretary to an industrious and committed criminal lawyer… and her involvement in the case of Bella Kiss, which exposes a fresh and disturbing angle to the current ‘drug debate’.

Both character and story are based on research over recent years. I wanted a character who broke the traditional lawyer stereotype… she’s someone who always wants to get to the heart of the matter and has no other agenda than to find out the truth. I always find a character, particularly a professional, more intriguing when they’ve had to struggle to beat the odds.

As for the narrative, I have seen at first hand how our drug laws have failed society, and how they might be exacerbating rather than controlling the problem. Research then threw up the possibility that some of those who argue for the status quo in the current drug debate [ie against decriminalisation] might be doing so not to ‘protect our children’s future’ as they claim, but to further their own continued profit, via a labyrinthine network of laundered money.

 

So now that Kiss and Tell is published, what are your plans for Jill Shadow? I’m hoping there’ll be a follow-up book, am I in luck?

My second novel ‘Defending Elton is out soon. This will introduce us to Jim Harwood, a lawyer who doesn’t share Jill’s strong ethical code, and whose dysfunctional past is exposed after a fateful lapse of judgment… which results in one of the most extraordinary murder trials in the Old Bailey’s history.

This will be followed by a return to Jill Shadow, who gets embroiled in a complex and dangerous ‘cold case’ murder. A case where the victim seems to be providing clues ‘from the grave’.

 

Kiss and Tell is available now on Amazon Kindle.