Author: William L. Myers Jr
Published: February 2019 by Thomas & Mercer
Category: Legal Thriller, Crime, Fiction, Book Review
When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.
The story opens with a shocking prologue as twelve year old Jimmy Nunzio is initiated into the family ‘firm.’ Twenty some years later mob boss, Jimmy Nunzio is caught knife in hand and covered in blood, a body at his feet and his daughter weeping over her dead boyfriend.
Mick McFarland is hired to represent Nunzio as his defence counsel and, although he has mixed feelings, after talking to his client he feels pressured to accept despite the fact Nunzio refuses to explain what actually happened.
“There’s one thing I will tell you about last night,” Nunzio says. “The reason I went to that building is that I received a call on my cell phone. I was in my office at the Naval Yard, and someone called and told me that my daughter was about to be killed at the Valiante family’s heroin warehouse.”
Running alongside the Nunzio trial is another separate case taken on by Mick’s wife, Piper, and his law firm partner Susan Klein. They are working on innocence cases—trying to get a retrial for people who they believe are wrongly imprisoned. Darlene Dowd was convicted fifteen years ago, when she was nineteen, of murdering her sexually abusive father. Now a deathbed letter from Darlene’s mother could help prove her innocence. A witness had come forward at the time with information that would help to prove Darlene couldn’t have committed the crime, but had been scared off by the then police chief.
“Okay,” Mick says, aware that a law enforcement officer’s hiding of potentially exculpatory evidence is a major malfeasance, often justifying a retrial.