Fifty Fifty (by Steve Cavanagh)


What is it you look for in a crime thriller? Twisty plot, action, intrigue, police and/or legal procedures, great characters, and the inevitable curveballs? Throw in a plethora of dead bodies too. Well reading the praise for the book: Lee Child “This guy is the real deal. Trust me”, or Mick Herron “StevFifty Fifty (by Steve Cavanagh)e¬†Cavanagh writes the best hooks in the business” and Mark Billingham “If you read a thriller as good this year, it’s only because you’ve read this one twice”, your expectations are high.

He certainly delivers! The hook for this book is the nature of the crime. Two sisters are accused of brutally murdering their father. Each sister accuses the other, and both are arrested at the crime scene. Of course, another party could be involved but the police and District Attorney are convinced one or both are culpable. Add into the mix the two defence attorneys each trying to point the finger and you have an intriguing conundrum!

The DA seems unconcerned that one party is guilty, and the other is not guilty. He thinks it is a slam dunk and is not worried if the innocent party is also found guilty. Is the justice in the USA that appalling? So Eddie Flynn (hero of other Steve Cavanagh novels) is convinced his “sister” is innocent. After all, he only defends innocent parties! Kate Brooks is a novice attorney and her route to this case is convoluted. She is originally on the legal team defending the other “sister”. Her boss, a partner in the firm is a letch and bully. Kate believes this “sister” too and believes she can provide the best defence if she alone represents the client!

The action soon turns to the courtroom, and although the odds are stacked against them the defence attorneys start to find holes in the prosecution’s case. The dialogue and twists in the court scenes are excellent. Unfortunately, the case is solved on a rather weak piece of evidence (what do I know!). Of course, the identity of the murderer is not revealed until near the end, and your guess will change over the course of the book.

So full marks for the plot and hook. I like to leave reviews for a week or so. In this way, the memorable highlights are obvious and weaknesses more apparent. So, the characterisations of the two “sisters” are memorable but less so for Eddie and Kate. Perhaps that is intentional but as Eddie at least will feature in more books, his character needs more meat.

Overall, an enjoyable read and an author I will look out for.

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