THIRTEEN by Steve Cavanagh

THIRTEEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

To carry out the final steps of a grandiose scheme, the sophisticated, supremely evasive serial killer Joshua Kane becomes a juror on a celebrity murder trial in Manhattan.

The defendant is Hollywood star Bobby Solomon; a heap of incriminating evidence has gotten him all but convicted of stabbing his wife and a security guard. The only person who can get Solomon off, and stop Kane from manipulating the jury into a guilty verdict, is defense attorney Eddie Flynn, back from Cavanagh's (The Plea, 2018, etc.) other two novels. A one-time con artist, Eddie has been hired by a high-powered law firm working for the studio releasing Solomon's new movie. When Kane, sneaking around after dark with his trusty filleting knife, starts killing off jurors he has determined are leaning toward an acquittal, the case goes haywire—but keeps going, one of the more questionable details in the novel. While the premise of the book is promising, Cavanagh is too clever for his own good. The gimmick of the killer jurist is worn so thin that the murders have no real impact. It would be one thing if Kane had a unique personality to go with his rare congenital analgesia, which makes him unable to feel pain, but he's just another faceless madman with a troubled upbringing. Though Flynn is hardly alone among crime-fiction heroes in struggling to win back his wife and child, he's pretty enjoyable. But his winning ways can't distract us from the desperation of an eighth-inning reveal by the author pertaining to the case.

In spite of mounting murders, the suspense is uneven in Cavanagh’s carefully plotted mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-29760-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2019