Author: Steve Cavanagh
Published: September 2020 by Orion
Category: Legal Thriller, Crime Fiction, Book Review
Two sisters on trial for murder. Both accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?
Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife.
Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom.
I’ve read and enjoyed the books in this series, more so with each one. Eddie Flynn is an endearing protagonist, a mixture of common sense, personal ethics and sensitivity, as well as being an attorney who only takes on clients he believes in.
The story opens as the jury, finishing their deliberation in just over three quarters of an hour, return to the court room. Eddie, who can normally tell which way the verdict will go, has no idea this time. He’s concerned that, due to the complexity of the case, the jury can’t possibly have reached a unanimous and just verdict in such a short time.
Reading clients and reading juries was my bag. This case wasn’t normal. There was nothing remotely normal about it.
This was the first verdict that I couldn’t call. I was too close to it. In my mind, it was an even split. The verdict may as well come down to a coin toss. A fifty-fifty. I knew what I wanted to happen. I now knew who the killer was. I just didn’t know if the jury would see it. I was jury blind.
And I was tired. I hadn’t slept in weeks. Not since that dark red night.
The clerk stood and addressed the jury foreman. ‘In these matters, have you reached verdicts upon which you are all agreed?’ asked the clerk.
‘We have,’ said the jury foreman.
Two sisters had called 911 at the same time, from the same location, both blaming each other for the murder of their father who lay dead, brutally stabbed multiple times. One of them is obviously lying, so it follows that the other is the killer. But which is which? Alexandra and Sofia Avellino are both arrested for murder. Eddie is retained by Sofia and, in her first solo case after refusing to accept the treatment meted out by the firm she worked for, Kate Brooks is representing Alexandra.
I love a good courtroom drama/legal thriller and Fifty Fifty definitely fits the bill. It’s well written and paced, twisty, full of deviousness, drama and murders with a well devised and executed plot. The story is told from several points of view—Eddie, Kate and the unnamed ‘She,’ which works really well, throwing suspicion from one to the other and keeping up the tense atmosphere, as well as giving an insight into the thought processes and early lives of the sisters. The murders are disturbing, calculated and vicious in the extreme and it was hard to imagine either of the accused carrying them out.
Kate is an excellent character, she’s strong, committed and has the potential to make a great addition to the series. Both she and Eddie believe in the innocence of their clients but at the same time they also know either Sofia or Alexandra is evil personified given the lengths they go to. A wonderful cast of supporting characters too, particularly Eddie’s mentor, ex judge Harry Ford. A very addictive read, with emotion and humour to counterbalance the drama, corruption, misogyny and severity of the crimes.
About the Author
Steve Cavanagh is a critically acclaimed, Sunday Times best-selling, author of the Eddie Flynn series. His third novel, The Liar, won the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the year 2018. Thirteen won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime novel of the year 2019. He is also one half of the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. His latest novel, FIFTY FIFTY, is out now.