A New Jersey lawyer confronts police corruption in Furlong’s debut legal thriller.
Attorney Bill Carmody has been retained by the parents of Aaron Bellow, a young man who traveled from Wisconsin before being arrested for gun possession in Trenton, New Jersey. It seems like a simple case, but there are some discrepancies. Aaron claims that he was supposed to deliver a package with unknown contents to a man in a mall parking lot; meanwhile, Aaron’s friend Jeremy, who was with him when his car was pulled over, has disappeared—even from the arrest report. Bill also works with other clients, including Joe, a two-bit convict who led a couple of police officers on a chase before surrendering. Bill doubts the cops’ claim that Joe dropped a gun while they were chasing him; those same cops may be pocketing cash they find at crime scenes instead of turning it in as evidence. The stress of trying to expose police corruption while also providing good legal representation may be what’s driving Bill to see a shrink—or it may be due to something else entirely. The author’s unconventional storytelling style takes some getting used to; some of the story is told in the third-person, but the bulk is presented via Bill’s sessions with his psychiatrist, including all the times the attorney wanders off-topic. But Bill’s ramblings, as he discusses prior cases and criticizes the justice system for favoring prosecutors, show him to be a sublimely methodical protagonist who details every aspect of his life. The most resonant scenes take a bare-bones approach; at one point, for example, Bill gives his shrink court transcripts, which showcase Bill’s razor-sharp discourse. One highlight has him steadily picking apart two cops’ testimonies in a suppression hearing. The story winds down to a satisfying conclusion, ultimately explaining exactly why Bill was ordered to see a doctor in the first place.
An atypical thriller, but its winsome protagonist will convince many readers to dive right in.