In Kole’s debut murder mystery, a large law firm becomes a crime scene—and lawyers become the suspects.
When retired lawyer David St. Clair is brutally murdered, our narrator and hero, a lawyer from David’s firm whose name and gender are never revealed, sidesteps the police and investigates his or her own leads. The law firm offers plenty of suspects, most notably Michael Bolden, the firm’s managing partner. Michael is notoriously conniving, behaves erratically and suspiciously goes missing in the wake of David’s murder. But when one of Michael’s severed fingers arrives at the office demanding no one pursue him, our narrator only becomes more engrossed in the mystery. From here, the story is a cookie-cutter procedural, with our narrator working through a string of devious suspects, including maligned co-workers and old friends. Our narrator pursues these leads with the gusto of a latter-day Nancy Drew (or maybe Encyclopedia Brown) and reveals a host of surprising turns as the story progresses. It seems each character Kole introduces has a secret past and is determined to keep our narrator from discovering the person responsible for tormenting the law firm. To that end, subtlety is not one of Kole’s priorities, and she even goes as far as to end many chapters with a line assuring readers the plot is continuously thickening. Kole does a good job of living up to the promise and manages to tie even the most tangential red herrings into her story. In the end, however, the biggest mystery remains the one surrounding our narrator. Kole goes to a lot of trouble keeping this character a mystery to her readers, and it’s not clear why she takes this approach. The book’s narrator is our gateway into the story, and it’s unfortunate that we never get to learn more about him or her.
This page-turner is better than your average episode of Law & Order and will satisfy those in the mood for a straightforward mystery.