WHEN THE RULES DON'T APPLY by Gerard Shirar

WHEN THE RULES DON'T APPLY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Boston lawyer realizes his childhood best friend and new client may be guilty of the murder charges he’s facing in this legal thriller.

When Donny Faye contacts his old pal Timmy Flaherty in 1997, the two haven’t seen each other for nearly two decades. While Timmy opened his own law office, Donny took a much darker path. Following a dishonorable discharge from the Army for drug trafficking, Donny pushed illicit substances in South Boston for gang boss Percy Dwyer. His duties for the boss later included the occasional hit. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Donny had his share of stumbles, from inciting a Colombian cartel to bouts with alcoholism. When cops finally arrest him for murder, he calls his attorney friend. Timmy at first believes Donny’s professions of innocence, but then newly discovered evidence practically spotlights him as the culprit. Working with the abrasive but whip-smart lawyer Gladys Finch, Timmy fears going to trial will end with a life sentence and hopes for a plea that will appease both the prosecutor and his client. But he may get more than that: The possibility of mischief from the prosecution’s side could divert the case into an entirely different and surprising direction. Shirar’s (The Girl Called Princess Charlotte, 2015, etc.) decision to concentrate on Donny for the book’s first half proves triumphant. Though unquestionably a killer, he intermittently garners sympathy; he, for one, has an affinity for his elderly landlord, Emma Duggan. There are likewise hints of his dismal childhood, namely his abusive father. In the same vein, Timmy isn’t an immaculate contrast to his criminal buddy. For example, his initial attitude toward Gladys is sexist, seemingly threatened by her emphatic offers of help: “What I don’t need is some…female telling me how to do my job,” he declares. But she quickly earns his respect, and their resultant professional relationship is a standout. The often dry writing (meticulous details with little adornment) is suitable, as an attorney (Timmy) is the narrator.

An absorbing tale of defending friends regardless of their incontrovertible faults.

Pub Date: Dec. 12th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5320-3669-9
Page count: 330pp
Publisher: iUniverse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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