A legal thriller that pits the Mafia against a corrupt British legal system.
The second installment of Taylor’s (Rogues, Riches & Retribution, 2013) Mafia trilogy delves deep into the Pulvirenti family, a powerful presence in the world of organized crime. Tony, nephew of Massimo, the family’s feared Godfather, is sentenced to life in a British prison for the brutal murder of the Lawson family. Massimo charges his best lawyer, Angelo Bertesconi, with finding a way to free Tony and immediately sends him to England. A brilliant attorney who has yet to lose a case, Bertesconi is able to determine that Tony was convicted on the flimsiest circumstantial evidence: a murder weapon was never produced, and not a trace of blood was found on Tony’s clothing. Also, the murderer let the Lawson daughter live—a witness who could identify him in court. Bertesconi discovers that the chief inspector, detective inspector, and the judge are Freemasons, belonging to the same brotherhood as Lawson. Freemasons are an influential and notoriously corrupt organization in Italy, where Massimo largely directs his own affairs. However, the legal path to freeing Tony is a slow one fraught with obstacles: it takes Bertesconi an extraordinary amount of time to even procure the court transcripts, plus he has to learn an unfamiliar judicial system. Tony’s mother, dying and crippled with grief, pressures Massimo to expedite her son’s release by whatever means necessary. Massimo impatiently begins to plot an alternative plan that travels an extralegal path and courts great risk. In this dialogue-driven narrative, the plot unfolds largely through sharply written exchanges. Much of the suspense revolves around whether or not Massimo will choose to trust the British legal process or instead pursue criminal means to get his nephew out of prison. Even Tony—confident in Bertesconi and wary of life as a fugitive—is conflicted over the choice. While the story develops too slowly at first and often pushes the envelope of plausibility, the drama of that decision drives the whole book and makes for a worthwhile read.
An intriguing blend of legal thrills and Mafia matters.