Two sisters are in the house when their father is murdered. They accuse each other and both are put on trial. Which one did it?
The plot of this book is preposterous but my goodness is it a page turner, so the co-incidences and unlikelihoods simply don't matter. It's very skillfully written, you really don't know which of the sisters did it, there are red herrings galore, until the author choses to let you know, and the main narrator Edie, ex-con man turned lawyer, is engaging.
I hadn't heard of Steve Cavangh before, will definitely be reading more of his books.
Eddie Flynn is a lawyer who used to be a conman, likes to cut corners and especially likes to surprise the establishment.
Joshua Kane is a killer who is determined to get on the jury for the murder trial of Bobby Solomon, an up and coming film star.
Thirteen is told in dual narrative, with Flynn narrating in first person and Kane's point of view being narrated in third person. Occasionally they narrate the same scene from different perspectives, which is either quirky or repetitive. But for the most part, the action is pretty arresting and the novel drip-feeds information to the reader piece by piece. There are red herrings, there are puzzles and games. And there's also an improbably high body count.
Thirteen is, I guess, supposed to be a bit of fun. Nobody would believe that a serial killer like Kane would actually exist; whether it is his inability to sense pain, or his lack of apparent motive, or his ability to support himself with no visible means of income, or his ability to "sign" his high profile murders without being noticed, it is not an exercise in reality. Whether or not the reader enjoys this is likely to depend on whether disbelief can be suspended long enough to go along for the ride. I just about managed it and am glad I did.
Yes, the novel is corny and cliched, It does rely on a killer with almost supernatural capability (except for the occasional Scooby-Doo style clue left lying behind), and it does rely on Eddie Flynn being able to spot these blindingly obvious clues that other, more illustrious investigators have missed.
It is also worth saying that this is the fourth book in the Eddie Flynn series - a fact that I did not know when I accepted a galley copy of the text. You wouldn't really know except, perhaps, Flynn's back-story is a little thin - presumably having been covered in previous novels in the series.
Pace-wise, this is a fast read for a novel that is not short, The chapters are short and snappy; there is an insight into jury selection and jury politics that is not common in murder-thrillers. And though the twists and tricks are corny, they are well done.
If you like this sort of thing (and I do), it is a solid four star read. If you want something more authentic, try Sergio de la Pava.