Flynn To The Rescue:
In a crime fiction universe crammed with admirable protagonists, Steve Cavangh’s Eddie Flynn stands out because of his compassion, courage, ne’er-say-die attitude, and his past as a petty conman. He had a tough childhood, till his mentor and father figure, Harry Ford, pulled him out and set him down on the right side of the law. A reformed Eddie fights for the underdog and never defends a client who is guilty. His principles however, do not prevent him from breaking a rule or two, or swiping a wallet for the sake of his case.
Cavanagh’s latest –sixth–Eddie Flynn novel, The Devil’s Advocate, has him facing the toughest case of his career against a sadistic adversary, and away from his stomping ground of New York.
A shady character, Alexander Berlin, who appeared before in The Liar, approaches Eddie to defend a young black man, Andy Dubois in Sunville County, Alabama, a place as conservative and racist as any in the Deep South. The District Attorney, Randal Korn, is a vile and corrupt man, who enjoys seeing men suffer on the electric chair. Everyone in the town is either scared of Korn or on his payroll.
Eddie and Harry land in Buckstown and discover that they are not welcome—the two fleabag hotels claim to have no rooms, and the nearby diner won’t serve them. The tires of their car are slashed–there could be no clearer way to tell them they can get lost or else.
To get to meet Andy, who has been beaten into signing a confession of having murdered a young woman, Skylar Edwards, Eddie has to get thrashed and arrested himself. The teen is terrified and at first unwilling to accept any help, because his mother has been threatened.
The rest of Eddie’s team– law partner Kate Brooks and enigmatic investigator Bloch– arrive to save his skin, and find themselves up against people with no scruples and no mercy. The sheriff, his men, the judge and just about everyone else is openly hostile. Eddie has to fight for his life and the safety of his friends, while struggling to find a chink in the infallible case Korn has built up, with fake witnesses and manufactured evidence. Whoever stands in the way of The King Of Death Row is found dead or intimidated into silence. Running alongside is a terrifying subplot of white supremacist groups and ritual murder.
Cavanagh creates vivid characters, an eerie atmosphere and tension that he tightens with every chapter. Korn is a formidable villain, a tall, pale man, who smells of death and decay.
There are some sequences that have the reader almost stand up and applaud—particularly the ones in which Eddie uses his old sleight of hand tricks. Cavanagh, a lawyer himself, writes the courtroom scenes with particular verve. The other characters have their share of the spotlight—they are not just sidekicks; Bloch deserves a series of her own. The story also shows that ultimately evil is defeated by the courage of ordinary people, who decide to do the right thing, no matter what the cost.
The Devil’s Advocate is the kind of book that is tough to put down, and if a reader was not a fan of Cavanagh before, they will be after reading this one.
The Devil’s Advocate
By Steve Cavanagh