THE GOOD LAWYER by Thomas Benigno


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In Benigno’s debut legal thriller, a criminal defense lawyer facing his biggest case yet is hardly prepared for the onslaught of treachery and subterfuge.

Nick Mannino’s interest in the case of a school aide, Guevara, accused of kidnapping and molesting three young boys isn’t about seeing his name in the headlines—he genuinely believes in the man’s innocence. The case looks easily winnable for Nick, especially when he learns that two of the boys are miscreants and one’s mother has a criminal record. But his troubles are only beginning when a beautiful blonde stranger asking for Nick takes a swan dive off a high-rise. The young attorney, returning a favor, agrees to defend a man suspected of being the “Spiderman Rapist,” a criminal who earned his nickname by climbing into victims’ windows. The seemingly unrelated events gradually come together, putting the lawyer’s life on the line. Benigno’s first effort is a crafty legal page turner, just as good in the courtroom as it is outside. Many characters are introduced as cryptic figures; even journalist Vinny, who ultimately befriends the protagonist, is first shown as a recurring presence, always noticeable in his red parka. The most engaging parts of the book involve Nick’s professional mishaps, but Benigno fortifies his lead character with problems that his law degree can’t fix: the sickly daughter of his secretary and Nick’s trouble telling his girlfriend, Eleanor, a blue-blooded assistant district attorney, that he has a mobster uncle. A trip with Eleanor to her brother’s wedding feels a little like an interruption, particularly since it happens when the mystery is building at full speed. Regardless, it’s still a crucial sequence, revealing the attorney’s insecurities in marrying a rich woman—feelings he must contend with to win his exacting case.

Readers who like their courtroom thrillers packed with lawyer-speak and zigzagging plot developments should find much to savor.

Pub Date: March 14th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1463604813
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2012


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