Author: William Manchee
William Manchee’s Cactus Island: A Stan Turner Mystery is one legal thriller that will have you scratching your heads, even if you don’t believe in extra-terrestrial life.
How do you defend someone who insists that he saw a space ship that caused him to lose control of his jeep, plunging over a hill and resulting in the death of a friend who had been a passenger in the vehicle? The driver, Steven Caldwell, who survives the accident, is accused of murder for reckless driving and the incriminating evidence slowly builds up, particularly when the sheriff discovers that the two friends were in love with the same girl.
Attorney Stan Turner initially refuses to defend Caldwell on the grounds that this could make him the laughing stock of the legal community. On the other hand, if he succeeds, he would be considered a brilliant litigator. Eventually, Turner gives in and takes on the case, while continually grumbling that every time he thinks he has it under control strange things happen.
In addition to our murder trial, Manchee cleverly interweaves another mystery- one involving a divorce between Cheryl Windsor and her husband Martin, who mysteriously has disappeared along with one of the his employees- a manager at one of his hotels.
This one is handled by Turner’s partner Paula Waters, who is troubled that her client, Cheryl Windsor, seems to be having convenient lapses of memory as the district attorney gathers a great deal of damning evidence against her.
Could she have something to do with her husband’s disappearance?
When Waters tries to find out more about Martin Windsor, she comes to the conclusion that he may have intentionally disappeared in order to avoid his assets being divided by the divorce court. In fact, he made sure all of his assets disappeared along with him and moreover he seems to have been involved with off-shore bank accounts.
What eventually is exposed is that although the two mysteries seem to be miles apart, they are very much interconnected, particularly when we are clued in that Martin Windsor, an immigrant from Hungary,seems not to have left any records evidencing his existence in the USA.
Who is Martin Windsor? Where did he come from now becomes of prime importance?
Manchee provides his readers with a dexterously plotted tale that ties everything together with a surprise ending. And even if you don’t believe in space ships and aliens, you have to admit that this would make great courtroom drama- if it actually happened!
The above review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures. Here are more of Norm Goldman's Reviews