The Plea

In his follow-up to The Defense, Steve Cavanagh puts his con artist-turned-lawyer protagonist, Eddie Flynn, between a rock and a hard place. Those tend to be the situations Flynn's best suited to deal with, but this may finally be the one to beat him.

The Plea opens with an unwelcome cadre of strangers in Flynn's office. After incapacitating two, Flynn learns his uninvited guests are federal agents there to secure his help. All they need him to do is convince a millionaire arrested for murder to drop his current lawyer, sign Flynn and take a plea deal that involves testifying against the law firm he fired. The tech genius is guilty, the agents assure Flynn. But just in case he needs additional motivation, the agents are threatening his wife's freedom--if Flynn refuses to help, the FBI has evidence to send his wife to jail for a very long time. This persuades him, until he meets David Child, the accused murderer. Flynn becomes convinced Child is innocent, and despite his history, Flynn can't live with himself if he allows an innocent man to plead guilty. But he can't let his wife go to jail, either, so he has to figure out how to finagle everyone's freedom--and safety.

While Cavanagh has a tendency to overdo detail, especially with legal procedure, he still manages to maintain a high level of suspense and intrigue. The overwhelming strengths of The Plea, however, lie in the characters. They are idiosyncratic, empathetic and fun, and readers will greedily turn pages to learn their fate. The verdict: a winner. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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