A legal whodunit that pivots around an unlikely setting–the word processing department.
A lowly processor at a prestigious law firm, Gregory Thackery is stunned when a stressed associate threatens one of his colleagues, Marc, over a mistake on a document. Gregory has a stake in his coworker’s fate because Marc guards an important secret about him. Shortly thereafter, Marc dies of a heart attack, and Gregory voices his suspicions. Suddenly Gregory’s secret is out, causing him to lose both his job and his wife. When the firm’s managing partner plummets to his death from the roof of the office, the questions grow: Was this the work, as Gregory suspects, of the belligerent associate? Or was it Betty, his supervisor who doubled as Marc’s landlord in a coveted rent-stabilized building? Other suspects include Cinnamon, a bitter colleague who had been hopelessly in love with Marc and, indeed, Gregory himself. The narrative premise is solid, and the author demonstrates a particular talent for creating a viable set of suspects. Nonetheless, the writing needs work. Making the protagonist a closeted sex addict is a refreshing change from the usual vices, but his mental disorder lacks credibility–while Gregory talks endlessly about his therapy and group meetings, he never actually seems dependent on sex. While the genre often requires a certain suspension of disbelief, many of the circumstances here necessitate too vast a leap by the reader. The most troubling aspect, however, is the length–such an intricate set of relationships and events deserves deeper treatment.
A valiant first effort that, if properly fleshed out, could make for engaging crime fiction.