Eddie Flynn – Book # 4
Written by: Steve Cavanagh
Published by: Orion
Synopsis: Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game. Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one. This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house. But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial. Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.
Even though it was the fourth book in a series I’d never read, I felt compelled to give Thirteen a go after reading that amazing hook of a serial killer hiding in plain sight amongst the jury. It is just such a refreshing and original concept that I had to see how Steve Cavanagh approached it, even if it meant joining a series midway through. Luckily, Cavanagh makes his novel extremely accessible, possibly aware that this chapter may be more publicised than the preceding instalments and an alternative jumping-on point for readers. There are enough references to past events to intrigue readers to check out the previous three novels and novella, but no prior knowledge is needed to enjoy this book to its fullest. I came in as an Eddie Flynn virgin, and left as a fan.
Conman-turned-Lawyer Eddie Flynn is the charismatic lead of Steve Cavanagh’s novels and he reads like Jack Reacher blended with Better Call Saul. Devious and manipulative in the courtroom yet with a strong sense of justice, Flynn is willing to put himself in danger to protect the innocent and he certainly finds himself in plenty of danger in this novel when he is pitted against corrupt cops and a cold, merciless serial killer on the juror’s bench. Hired as the defence in a Hollywood murder trial, Eddie must prove his client’s innocence of a double homicide despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Clearly inspired by the OJ Simpson murder trial, I also wondered whether the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” had also influenced Cavanagh’s writing – especially the theory that Steven Avery was also framed by a serial killer – one who even attended the trial.
Cavanagh introduces readers to a different breed of serial killer in the form of Joshua Kane, a highly-functional psychopath whose detached methods of execution recalls memories of Javier Bardem’s inhuman Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. Unable to feel any sensation of pain, Kane is presented as a cold, remorseless killer who gains a perverse pleasure in framing the innocent for his brutal murders. Chapters alternate between Flynn and Kane’s perspective on the events in the courtroom, giving readers an uncomfortably close insight into the killer’s motivations and behaviour. While I found Kane to be a fascinating antagonist, it felt like there were some stretches in credibility sometimes to enable events to unfold.
As events escalated throughout the novel, I found myself become more and more engrossed in the trial itself to the point where I practically devoured the final third of the book in one sitting. I also loved how Cavanagh played with reader’s preconceptions, teasing us with a false sense of security so that just when the reader (and Flynn) thinks they know it all, he is able to pull the rug out from underneath us with another spectacular twist. I have to say that the final act was an intense, pulse-pounding conclusion to a roller-coaster ride of a novel. I have never read anything like it, and I couldn’t put it down. I would love to see this adapted for the big-screen, although there might be some difficult in maintaining some of the core twists and turns in a different medium.
I’ve never really been a fan of courtroom thrillers, but this novel was a complete joy to read from start to finish. Cavanagh maintained the tension in both inside and outside of the court, and I didn’t need a law degree to understand what was going on. Any moments of confusion were either on purpose, or explained in layman’s terms later on, making the novel extremely accessible for all audiences. I loved the theatre and misdirection that Flynn implements in his defence of Solomon, and I could really feel the impact of those damning revelations in the testimonies. The prosecutor is described as enjoying the sport of the courtroom, and reading the tennis-style back-and-forth between the two, I can see how it could become an addictive thrill.
Existing fans of the Eddie Flynn novels will find plenty to enjoy here, and will be no doubt gripped to the developments in the character’s personal life. However, the novel is extremely accessible and very enjoyable for those just joining the series like myself – in fact, I would argue that Thirteen is the perfect entry point for new readers. It has left me eager to catch up on Eddie Flynn’s past and discover more about the cases that led him to become estranged from his family. Those intrigued by the ingenious hook will be pleased to know that Cavanagh does the concept justice, crafting a breath-taking courtroom thriller that has plenty of twists and turns. I cannot praise this book enough – it was easily the most fun I’ve had on my eBook reader this year!