27 September 2023

The Accomplice

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Reviewed by Robert Goodman.

By Steve Cavanagh, Hachette, $32.99.

Steve Cavanagh is back with con man turned lawyer Eddie Flynn for the seventh time in The Accomplice. From the very first book, The Defence, when Flynn was strapped into a suicide vest, the books have been driven by almost irresistible hooks. In Thirteen the killer was on the jury, in The Devil’s Advocate the killer was the district attorney. While there is also a great hook in The Accomplice, this feels a little like Eddie Flynn (and Cavanagh) going back to basics – an implacable killer, an impossible case and a ticking clock.

The Accomplice opens with the arrest of Carrie Miller. Miller was the wife of a man that the FBI suspect is a serial killer called the Sandman. While the Sandman is in the wind, there is enough evidence to potentially tie Carrie to at least six of his killings so she is arrested and charged as being an accomplice. Eddie and his team are brought into her trial with only days to go when her lawyer, who really specialises in family law and wills, decides that a criminal defence is beyond him and he needs some big guns. Eddie only represents people who believe are innocent and after meeting Carrie he takes the case. But the Sandman is not taking any chances and starts to kill off witnesses and FBI agents, eventually turning his attention to Eddie’s inner circle.

As with all of the Eddie Flynn books, this is a page turning, propulsive thriller pretty much from page one. Once again, winning the case while also going after the Sandman involves Eddie working magic in the courtroom while also pulling a number of complex confidence tricks to get him what he needs. And all the time the clock is ticking. Cavanagh ups the tension with plenty of cliffhangers and the occasional bait and switch.

While the Flynn books started focussed directly on Eddie, as they have progressed his team has grown. All of the fan favourite characters are back and get a chance to shine. But Cavanagh throws a new character into the mix – former FBI agent Gabriel Lake who has a patchy past and believes that the way in which FBI goes about tracking serial killers is wrong. Given the way Eddie’s team seems to grow it would be no surprise if we saw Lake again.

The Accomplice is another great entry in a series that is constantly playing to its strengths – killer hooks, strong (if enjoyably contrived) courtroom scenes, long cons and plenty of tension.

Over 800 more book reviews can be found on Pile by the Bed.

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