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.
The Eddie Flynn series can be read in any order, but the list in full in order of publication is as follows:
The Cross (ebook exclusive novella)
Author: Mimi Matthews
Due to be published 10th November by Perfectly Proper Press and is available for pre-order
Category: Regency Romance, Historical Fiction, Book Review
Wealthy squire’s daughter Margaret Honeywell was always meant to marry her neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, but it’s bastard-born Nicholas Seaton who has her heart. Raised alongside her on her father’s estate, Nicholas is the rumored son of notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Fred frames him for theft, Nicholas escapes into the night, vowing to find his legendary sire. But Nicholas never returns. A decade later, he’s long been presumed dead.
Maggie Honeywell, the only child of Squire Honeywell and raised more as his son and eventual heir than an indulged daughter, had a happy childhood spending most of her time with Nicholas Seaton, the illegitimate son of scullery maid, Jenny Seaton. Now a groom in Squire Honeywell’s stables, Nicholas had incurred the wrath of Frederick Burton-Smythe, whose estate borders the Honeywell’s and the man her father wants Maggie to marry. Their fathers had agreed years ago the two would marry, thereby joining the two estates. Maggie had other ideas. Nicholas was the only man for her and the feeling was mutual.
Author: Jane Harper
Narrated by Stephen Shanahan
Published: September 2020 by Hachette Audio UK
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Murder, Mystery, Audiobook Review
Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea, that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.
The Survivors is a story of family, secrets, lies and friendships and takes place in the small, fictional coastal town of Evelyn Bay in Tasmania. Kieran, along with girlfriend Mia and baby daughter Audrey, have returned to their home town from Sydney, in order to help Kieran’s mother pack up and move his father to a nursing home in Hobart.
Author: Reily Garrett
Category: Crime, Romantic Suspense, Book Review
Sabine’s early morning hike ends with discovering her friend sitting in a chair by the canal and gazing at the sunrise. Peace and serenity pervade, except, he’s dead.
To discover the how and why of his death, she must first survive the shrewd killer intent on removing human collateral and regaining lost technology.
Pivotal Decisions, the second book in the Moonlight and Murder series, is set the Florida Everglades. A horrific murder brings back the characters from A Critical Tangent along with several new and engaging ones. Like the first book, the story revolves around current technology, this time the theme is virtual reality.
Author: Martha Hunt Handler
Published: July 2020 by Greenleaf Book Group Press
Category: Mystery, Spirituality, YA (with reservations) Book Review
A tragic mystery blending sleuthing and spirituality
An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved fifteen-year-old, who is determined to unravel the mystery of her brother Sam’s death. Though all evidence points to a suicide, her heart and intuition compel her to dig deeper. With help from her friend Julie, they retrace Sam’s steps, delve into his Inuit beliefs, and reconnect with their spiritual beliefs to uncover clues beyond material understanding.
Winter of the Wolf is the story of a family’s grief and how they cope with tragedy. It’s far from all doom and gloom though. This coming of age story is about following instincts and beliefs, exploring new avenues to discover the truth, however painful. And, although the story centres on teens, there are serious adult themes and topics in the book that I think wouldn’t be suitable for younger teen readers.
Author: Ann Cleeves
Published: September 2020 by Macmillan
Category: Police Procedural, Crime Fiction, Book Review
On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat.
Set in the beautiful and atmospheric county of Northumberland, The Darkest Evening is the ninth outing for Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope.
Author: Robert Daws
Published: July 2020 by Hobeck Books
Category: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Book Review
A wealthy family massacred. Unidentified mummified remains. Is there a connection?
Gibraltar is shaken by echoes from its history once again as a serial killer stalks the Rock.
Detectives Tamara Sullivan and Gus Broderick face the most dangerous and elusive murder investigation of their lives, and for Sullivan, it’s about to become all too personal.
Can their relationship endure this latest peril, and will the Rock ever escape its ghosts?
Killing Rock, book three in the series featuring Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan and Chief Inspector Gus Broderick, begins in 2005 as a woman, scared for her life, attempts to flee Spain for Gibraltar.