THE DEAD HAND by Michael A. Kahn


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St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold lands not one but two cases that feature trouble arising from beyond the grave.

Case No. 1 involves Marsha Knight, who, six years after her divorce from the late Jerry Knight, is being sued by Jerry’s trophy wife, Danielle, over financial control of the lucrative Fontainebleau Estates, which Jerry had left Marsha in trust. Danielle seeks to annul the trust using the Rule Against Perpetuities. (Don’t ask; the rule gives Rachel a major headache, and half the many lawyers she rubs up against here don’t understand it at all.) Case No. 2 pits Rachel’s client Cyndi Mulligan against her stepson, Bertram R. Grimsley, who was so infuriated when his late father, Bert Mulligan, repulsed his attempt to seize control of The Mulligan Group that he changed his name, waited for his old man to die, and is now suing to exclude Cyndi’s daughter, Carson, from her late father’s estate on the grounds that she isn’t her father’s daughter at all. Both cases spring gorgeous plot twists that keep recasting the hapless litigants in new and ever more unflattering roles. Both are ripe with the promise of legal and ethical complications that Kahn (Sheer Gall, 2015, etc.) seizes with unholy glee. And both offer ample opportunity for the byplay between Rachel and other members of the St. Louis bar that will have readers with a law degree grinning in recognition and readers without one sighing in relief. There’s even a less-than-climactic revelation of an officially unsuspected but utterly unsurprising homicide, the weakest strand in an otherwise consistently high-spirited romp.

A high-water mark in this inventive, ebullient series.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0677-1
Page count: 242pp
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2016


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