The Criminal Lawyer by Thomas Benigno

The Criminal Lawyer

A Good Lawyer Novel
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Attorney Nick Mannino returns to stop a possible serial killer who may have abducted his son’s girlfriend in Benigno’s (The Good Lawyer, 2012) sequel.

Nick’s 23-year-old law-student son, John, is understandably distraught when someone kidnaps his girlfriend, Sofia Perez. Then reporter Lauren Callucci contacts the attorney to tell him that Sofia’s abduction shares similarities to a case involving missing prostitutes. Lauren’s been covering the story for years, and the presumed kidnapper has been sending her cryptic texts. The latest text, however, includes Nick’s license-plate number. With his family in potential danger, Nick turns to Sallie Gurrieri, a friend and right hand to Nick’s late, mob-boss uncle, Rocco. Sallie dispatches some security guys to Nick’s house, including Paul Tarantino, who’s also a private investigator. Nick hires Paul to track down Sofia, whether she’s alive or dead. Unfortunately, cops soon discover four burlap bags full of bones, which ultimately connect to the missing-women case; Sofia’s abductor could very well be a serial killer. Readers may be initially disappointed that Benigno has followed up his smashing legal-thriller debut with a story that has no courtroom in sight. But Nick turns out to a laudable detective with unwavering determination. Paul, too, is a first-rate addition to the series; he’s equally tireless in his attempts to identify the murderer, and he isn’t just helping Nick for the money. In the end, both men eventually confront the killer in a scene that’s relentless in its ferocity. There are lighter moments, as well; for example, Nick still has romantic feelings for his ex-wife, Eleanor, that compete with his attraction to his neighbor Dr. Gina Cassisi. Wisely, Benigno doesn’t save every twist until the end; indeed, one or two happen early on, and even when the case seems all but resolved, there are still a couple of doozies to come.

An accomplished lawyer proves adept as a novice sleuth in this surprising thriller.

Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
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