PLAYED! by Michael A. Kahn


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A bulldog St. Louis attorney interrupts his lawsuit against a swindling colleague long enough to defend his own kid brother, who’s accused of killing the scamster’s wife.

Leonard Pitt has gotten ambulance chasing down to a science. His firm, Leonard Pitt & Associates, trawls the county looking for economically marginal clients, signing them up in bulk, winning penny-ante settlements for scores of them, and reaping the profits. Mid-Continent Casualty, the insurance company that’s paid out plenty to Pitt, wants Milton Bernstein, of Abbott & Windsor, to go after Pitt, and it’s not long before Milton finds a smoking gun: documents that indicate that Pitt was swindling his clients along with Mid-Continent Casualty. Milton would be a lot less eager to face Pitt in court if he knew that his target’s secretary-turned–third-wife, Cherry Pitt, has seduced his own brother, Hal, a none-too-bright lifeguard at her country club, into an affair she plans to turn into a phony kidnapping so she can do an end run around her prenup and collect a $1 million ransom for herself. Unfortunately for Cherry, someone bursts her bubble by shooting her dead during, or perhaps just before, oral sex. It’s hardly surprising that all the evidence points to Hal, a high school baseball phenom whose pro prospects were crashed by a motorcycle accident, since Cherry had been working overtime manufacturing and planting it preparatory to betraying him herself. Not to worry, Milton assures his little brother: if the only way to vindicate him is to get a confession from the real killer, that’s what Milton will do.

The creator of Rachel Gold (The Dead Hand, 2016, etc.) provides precious little mystery here. But the spectacle of these ornaments of the Missouri bar attacking, undermining, and double-crossing each other provides brisk, sprightly entertainment, and the hapless defendant’s baseball background comes into play just when it’s most needed.

Pub Date: July 4th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0836-2
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2017


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