My whole problem with the crime-mystery-suspense genre has always been that it ends up being little more than a puzzle that is to be solves as quickly as possible. Rarely any books focus on the motives and psychological aspects and even fewer books talk extensively about the procedures involved in solving a crime. Anyone could get up and write a police procedural novel these days, throwing in just enough jargon, with the help of the hundred crime dramas on television. Steven Gore’s A Criminal Defense, though, surprised me.
Hamlin was a corrupt lawyer known hatefully for intimidating witnesses, suborning perjury, laundering money and destroying evidence. At the very start of the book, he is found murdered in the most gruesome way; it is hard to tell if he’s a victim of murder or of a sexual encounter gone awry. Former detective Harlan Donnally is assigned to the case. As Donnally immerses himself into the mystery, he ponders over the what makes someone lead a career of such deceit. We are exposed to a world of intricate lies and betrayals and are shown the inner workings of, ironically, the justice system. Towards the end, the excitement increases and the final blowout and resolution, and how Donnally got there, are quite intriguing.
As I said, the book is written by someone who knows what he’s talking about, which comes as a pleasant surprise. That being said, the language, to my disappointment, became a bit too meticulously informative and dreary for a while. While the events of the book never lost their excitement, the writing had little beauty. The book could have used a little editing; there were moments when I thought, I didn’t have to know that, I could have done without this; and the story would have worked just as well without some details.
If this sounds like your kind of read, do buy the book here.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.