TRAP by Robert K. Tanenbaum


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A courtroom thriller that's a cut above the author's previous effort (Fatal Conceit, 2014, etc.).

Teenage twins Zak and Giancarlo Karp are held captive along with an old woman, Goldie Sobelman, by Lars Forsling, a rabid seig heiler who blames all his misfortunes on the Jews. He threatens to kill the boys in a Manhattan building because their father is prosecutor Butch Karp, who is somehow at fault for Forsling's mom smoking in bed and burning herself to death. Then a variety of characters get into some nastiness regarding charter schools—are they "precious little elitist schools" or a true opportunity for disadvantaged children? Three people die in a bomb blast, including Rose Dubitsky, who had championed a charter school bill in the New York legislature. The motive for murder emerges as Karp prosecutes a suspect for the crime. This story has a lot to like, balanced against a few weaknesses. Karp is rock-solid as both prosecutor and as person, though a flaw or two might have made him more interesting. The pace is fast, the courtroom scenes make you feel like you're there, and the ending satisfies. There are touching passages about the boys' upcoming bar mitzvahs and what it means to be Jewish. But Forsling strains credulity in his blind virulence and pure evil, as he tells himself "they made me do it...the Jew Karp and the nigger cop." The biggest issue, though, is the story's lack of surprises. Nothing rattles Karp, the courtroom juggernaut who makes fellow attorney Irving Mendelbaum want to "take the shingle down." Unless they keep expecting twists, readers will see the outcome from far over the horizon.

But no matter. This is still an enjoyable tale of good vs. evil and the importance of knowing who you are.

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4767-9316-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2015


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