Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Defence – Steve Cavanagh

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction

Meet Eddie Flynn a con-man, turned lawyer so already we know that this is a man who is prepared to play dirty to win. The setting is New York, the opposition, why only the Russia Mafia, what else would you expect? The stakes, well that would be Eddie’s young daughter who has been kidnapped by aforesaid gang and if Eddie doesn’t buy enough time for the head honcho, Olek Volchek, to escape then young Amy and Eddie himself will be toast.

The story gets right into the action immediately with the reader getting to know the chief protagonist via his present story interspersed with his background which explains his journey from hustler to lawyer, two jobs Eddie is at pains to explain are closer in skill-set than you might imagine. With a group of convincingly clichéd Russians to snarl, threaten and menace at every given opportunity we could forgive Eddie for feeling more than a little anxious, not least because he has a bomb strapped to his back and the detonator is in the hands of Volchek’s right-hand man, but valiant Eddie sits down with a suitcase full of case files and prepares for the courtroom fight of his life.

I enjoyed the courtroom action although I had a sneaky suspicion that Eddie’s inspired cross-examinations were perhaps assisted by the fact that the prosecution seemed slightly less brilliant than we were led to believe, I decided to go with the flow and suspend my belief as Eddie went from courting danger in and out of the courtroom in his desperation to save his daughter’s life. Eddie is forced to ask for favours to help him out and who should he ask? Why his friends of course, who just happen to be a gang leader from another gang and a senior judge, what luck!

This is a fast-paced story with plenty of action but along with that there is a touch of humour, a book that knows its place and is all the more appealing because of that. A book to read for pure entertainment to get into the moment and roll with the punches, gasp at the twists and to hold your breath when everything gets all too much! This would be ideal reading for a long journey, not too complex but fun but don’t choose one with too many changes or you might just end up at the wrong destination.

I have to admit I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did, I’m not a big fan of crime fiction featuring gangs as they are often violent, there is the ever-present suggestion of violence in Steve Cavangh’s book but most of the action takes place off-page, and the mobsters abide by rules that aren’t understandable to any sane human being but although I wouldn’t go as far to say I warmed to Volchek and his side-kicks I didn’t feel the contempt you might expect.

I am sure this won’t be the last we hear of Eddie Flynn and I will be first in the queue to pick up the next instalment having been won over by this likeable if flawed character.

The Defence is due to be published on 12 March 2015 by Orion books but if you want more of a preview I suggest you visit The Official Website of Steve Cavangh & Eddie Flynn. I received my copy from Amazon Vine in return for this honest review.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (December 12)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Well another successful week for book acquisitions! First up I finally have a copy of The Defence by Steve Cavanagh. I saw Rebecca Bradley’s blog where it was featured on ‘What’s Your First Draft Like?

The Defence


The truth has no place in a courtroom. The truth doesn’t matter in a trial.
The only thing that matters is what the prosecution can prove.
Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.
It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter Amy.
Eddie only has 48 hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if wants to save his daughter.
Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?
Lose this case and he loses everything. Amazon

I also have a copy of Shallow Waters by Rebecca Bradley whose blog I avidly follow, see item above, so I can’t wait to see what horrors await in this book!

Shallow Waters


When the naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway, post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events.
Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team on the Nottingham City division Major Crimes Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths.
But it doesn’t stop there. When catching a killer isn’t enough, just how far are the team willing to push themselves to save the next girl?

And from the modern to some historical true crime, starting with The Magnificent Spilsbury and the case of the Brides In The Bath by Jane Robins

The Magnificent Spilsbury


Bessie Mundy, Alice Burnham and Margaret Lofty are three women with one thing in common. They are spinsters and are desperate to marry. Each woman meets a smooth-talking stranger who promises her a better life. She falls under his spell, and becomes his wife. But marriage soon turns into a terrifying experience. In the dark opening months of the First World War, Britain became engrossed by ‘The Brides in the Bath’ trial. The horror of the killing fields of the Western Front was the backdrop to a murder story whose elements were of a different sort. This was evil of an everyday, insidious kind, played out in lodging houses in seaside towns, in the confines of married life, and brought to a horrendous climax in that most intimate of settings — the bathroom. The nation turned to a young forensic pathologist, Bernard Spilsbury, to explain how it was that young women were suddenly expiring in their baths. This was the age of science. In fiction, Sherlock Holmes applied a scientific mind to solving crimes. In real-life, would Spilsbury be as infallible as the ‘great detective’

The Maul and The Pear Tree the Radcliffe Highway Murders. 1811 by P.D. James and T.A. Critchley has also arrived this week which has the appeal of a terrific author and a historical murder mystery.
The Maul and The Pear Tree


In 1811 John Williams was buried with a stake through his heart. Was he the notorious East End killer or the eighth victim in the Ratcliffe Highway Murders? Drawing on contemporary records and newspaper cuttings, the authors reconstruct the events. Goodreads

And to finish off my collection I have bought a copy of a book I had ma but appear to have lost it before I’d read it; The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders which is ‘filled to the brim with swindlers, forgers and poisoners, the mad, the bad and the utterly dangerous. The Invention of Murder is both a tale of crime and punishment, and history at its most readable.’

The Invention of Murder


Murder in the 19th century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous – transformed into novels, into broadsides and ballads, into theatre and melodrama and opera – even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts.
In this meticulously researched and compelling book, Judith Flanders – author of ‘The Victorian House’ – retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder – both famous and obscure. From the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, to the tragedies of the murdered Marr family in London’s East End, Burke and Hare and their bodysnatching business in Edinburgh, and Greenacre who transported his dismembered fiancée around town by omnibus. Amazon

What have you found to read this week? Do share!