A winsome familial team reinforces this story of judicial proceedings.




In Avitabile’s debut legal tale, a Brooklyn lawyer takes on a paternity case that pits him against powerful attorneys who fight dirty.

When Mary Woodley needs help collecting child support, she turns to a former co-worker, Al Forte. He’s a real estate lawyer, not a litigator, but he likes Mary and can’t find someone else to represent her, so he takes her case. Some time back, after drinking with her then boss, attorney Gordon Gilbert, Mary woke up in bed with Gilbert and later learned she was pregnant. She bore a son, Roger, but hasn’t been able to reach Gilbert and wants financial support. Unfortunately, Gilbert and his lawyer, John Stillman, immediately attack the paternity suit, claiming Al is out for revenge. Gilbert, who’s a deputy mayor, was head of the now-dissolved law firm Gilbert & Associates, where Al worked before Gilbert fired him for his “liberal ways.” Al’s street-smart cousin, Mick, who has spent time in prison, offers his assistance. Al declines the help and subsequently lands in jail on a bogus charge of violating a judge’s order. It seems Gilbert and Stillman are not above unethical means to win cases. Mick, however, has his cousin’s back and employs his numerous connections, hoping to ensure that Al and Mary are the victors. Avitabile’s short, brisk novel aptly shows how a seemingly simple lawsuit can turn into a dogged legal battle. Gilbert, for example, fights Mary’s requested paternity test, while Stillman threatens her with a defamation suit despite her not going public with the allegations. The story makes good use of a duality between the cousins, who grew up together but took separate paths. Still, too many characters extol Mick’s capability and beneficial alliances; even Al’s wife, Theresa, berates her incarcerated husband for not accepting Mick’s help and is hardly concerned that he’s in jail. But Al and Mick are a savvy, delightful duo alongside stellar supporting characters such as Richie Abbatello, Mick’s criminal defense attorney, and Francesca, another cousin and the receptionist at Al’s office.

A winsome familial team reinforces this story of judicial proceedings.

Pub Date: July 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73230-630-1

Page Count: 198

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2020

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This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.


Rumors of lost Egyptian treasure spark high adventure in this 17th in the NUMA series featuring oceanographer Kurt Austin and his crew (Sea of Greed, 2018, etc.).

Over 3,000 years ago, grave robbers sail away with loot from a pharaoh’s tomb. In 1927, Jake Melbourne and his plane disappear in his attempt at a trans-Atlantic flight. In the present day, arms merchants known as the Bloodstone Group have taken to stealing antiquities. They are looking for a “treasure both vast and glorious” that hieroglyphics say was shipped down the Nile and out of Egypt, perhaps even west across the Atlantic. (Holy scurvy! That must’ve been a lot of hard rowing!) The criminals are known to MI5 as “very dangerous people" and "merchants selling death.” Perfectly willing to kill everyone in their way, they are aided by mechanical crows and Fydor and Xandra, nasty sibling assassins jointly called the Toymaker. Such are the foes faced by Austin and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency. Of course, Austin has no interest in profit; he will gladly leave the ancient riches wherever they are. Action arrives early and often, and the failed pre-Lindbergh flight fits in neatly. Cussler and Brown concoct a nifty plot with disparate, sometimes over-the-top twists that will make even hardcore adventure fans say “Wow!” Expect claustrophobic gunfights, aerial combat, a life-threatening flood, messages from the dead, coffins of gold—and a vintage classic car, because why not? “We’re going to steal the greatest deposit of Egyptian treasure the world has ever known,” brags the evil mastermind. But he’ll have to climb over the series hero’s dead body first, which—no plot spoiler here—ain’t gonna happen.

This is fast-paced, nonstop fun. Cussler fans will gobble it up.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08308-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.


A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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