FACE VALUE by Michael Kahn


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St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold (The Flinch Factor, 2013, etc.) and waves of lesser detectives go after the person who threw a promising junior lawyer from a high-rise parking garage to the unforgiving ground below.

There are so many good reasons to kill yourself when you’re a junior associate—the long hours, the high levels of stress, the professional tunnel vision—that the cops see no reason to doubt that Sari Bashir committed suicide as she left the law offices of Warner & Olsen for the last time. But Stanley Plotkin, of the Warner & Olsen mailroom, begs to differ. And since Stanley’s Asperger’s syndrome, which renders him unsuitable for cocktail parties, has given him the concentration necessary to read the most minute emotional tells in witnesses’ faces, he finds a ready audience when he explains to Rachel that Sari wouldn't have killed herself. How to harness Stanley’s very specialized skills to an unofficial investigation? Rachel comes up with the idea of recording colleagues’ reminiscences of Sari for a memorial video that will incidentally give Stanley the chance to study footage of the leading suspects’ faces at his leisure. It’s a clever idea that produces some regrettably boring chapters. The suspects are forgettable attorneys hiding not very interesting secrets that are flushed out with little ado by their reactions to some questions so leading they’d never be allowed in court. Eventually Rachel, along with Stanley, her old friend professor Benny Goldberg, Detective Bertie Tomaso of the St. Louis PD and several supporting sleuths tie Sari’s death to a long-running criminal scheme, and that’s that.

The platoon of detectives muffles sprightly Rachel, and the mystery isn’t lively or original enough to provide much compensation. Wait till next year.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0278-0
Page count: 250pp
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2014


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