Note to potential readers: to truly understand what’s going on in this book, you should read A Criminal Defense (the first book in the series). While there is a precis in the form of a small infodump in the first chapter, it could be quite easy to get confused by the players and the conspiracy if the reader is not familiar with the previous goings-on.
Mick McFarland, first introduced by author William L. Myers, Jr. in A Criminal Defense, is back – this time being arrested at the very start of the book as his firm celebrates winning the release of an innocent man from prison.
When he, and everyone else, protests, the arresting officer smugly informs him (albeit obliquely) that there is video of him committing cold blooded murder.
Way back in my review of book one in this series, I said that with the possible exception of McFarland’s very young daughter, there wasn’t a single character that I liked. I’m sorry to say that this has not changed at all. The most authentic character is Catherine Nunzio, who heads up a crime family of the same name. While she’s evil and a murderer herself, at least she understands in this author’s universe what the hell she’s doing. This book, like the first, is also in present tense, although in third person. Not my thing, and if it isn’t yours, you might want to skip it.
McFarland insists he’s innocent, but is held without bail due to the premeditation of the murder and video evidence that supposedly shows him killing Edwin Hanson – the president of HWI, and the brother of David Hanson, who McFarland managed to get off at HIS trial for killing a reporter back in book one.
McFarland wins up cellies with a Russian gangster, and there’s a bit of a subplot that appears midway through the book between his criminal org and the Nunzios. It isn’t very interesting except when McFarland is used as a tool by both – I found that pretty amusing.
Spoilery stuff ahoy:
Tredesco’s new partner – he appeared in the first book, and was peeved he couldn’t lock McFarland up forever for the reporter’s murder – Murphy (naturally a hot, red-haired woman from Boston) gets involved with McFarland’s brother Tommy, and starts working on the wrong side of the case as far as the powers that be are concerned. I’d be a bit concerned too, if one of my detectives took it upon themselves to go to Puerto Rico to hunt down one of the prosecution’s witnesses with the brother of the dude accused of the killing. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but there were various moments like that for me throughout the book.
Piper – McFarland’s wife, who provided a bogus alibi for David Hanson in book one, is despised by David’s wife Marcie for….reasons. I don’t know, I think I’d be grateful for someone perjuring themselves on the witness stand for my loved one, even if I didn’t like them for what they did. But nope, Marcie’s a cold-hearted bitch through and through.
Then there’s Brian Yamura, brother of the slain reporter, convinced McFarland killed his sister, who is somehow magically able to create havoc at HWI, which David now heads, including running ships aground and causing a quarter of a solar farm to burst itself into flames from halfway around the world. All it takes for him to come around is Team McFarland using Catherine Nunzio to get his adoption records and have his pops have a heart to heart with him.
None of it makes any sense, really. A bunch of people hate McFarland so frame him for a murder using – again, just as it’s used in the first book – video, with an explanation that strains credulity and courtroom antics that do the same. The number of people in on the conspiracy to get McFarland put away is amazing, from the DA to the cops, to the security people at HWI, to the Hansons. There apparently isn’t anyone who can’t be bribed or murdered in order to achieve this goal. I don’t like him very much either, but there are a lot worse ways to hurt someone than just getting them thrown in jail with the possibility of the death penalty if found guilty at trial. And none of it involves doctored surveillance video.
I’ll probably not read another in this series. I did like the second and third books better than book one, but this is like Book One Redux: The Return of Bad Video Use.
3.5 stars out of 5. Mainly because all this video stuff is wrapped up now. Maybe we can move on to other things?
Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the reading copy.