Author: William Manchee
Publication Release: August 2005
The following review of the Advanced Reading Copy was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures &CLICK TO VIEW Norm Goldman's Reviews
Author and attorney William Manchee has given readers another in his Stan Turner mystery series, wherein Stan and his faithful law partner, Paula Waters, team up to represent clients involved in a series of crimes, two of which are inter-related.
All of the cases kick off on a Monday morning in 1987, when the stock market experienced a terrible beating and was termed Black Monday by the media.
The first of the woes begins when Stan is greeted by his client Tex Weller, whose loan is being called in by Metroplex Savings and Loan. Apparently, this lending institution was owned by millionaire, Donald T. Baker who had close ties with two powerful politicians, Horrace Manning and John Potts. The plot thickens when Baker and his mistress are murdered.
The prime suspect in the murder turns out to be the son-in-law of Baker, Jimmy Bennett, and Paula is asked by Jimmy’s brother, John, to defend Jimmy.
Before Stan is able to ponder over Weller’s file, Stan’s casualty insurance agent, Derek Donner pops in and tells him that their mutual client, Lottie West, died along with her twelve dogs. At the outset, it seems she died of natural causes; however, as is later discovered, she was murdered. To further complicate matters, Stan has been named executor of the Lottie’s estate and subsequently discovers that the widow’s husband, a retired army officer, was dabbling in stolen World War II art treasures.
The last appointment on the same black Monday brought Stan face to face with Robert Huntington, a supposedly CIA agent, who informs him that the IRS had garnished one of his bank accounts and that it was imperative that he has the money in the account released by the end of the week. It was further explained that he needed to wire $150, 000 to his partner in his Beijing office. If this was not carried out, the partner would be killed.
Coincidentally, it turns out that the funds were deposited in the Metroplex Savings and Loan.
Manchee effectively juggles three plots, while at the same time mixing in time, place and voice with many familiar events of the day as the undercover operations of the CIA and the Iran-Contra scandal, illegal shenanigans of the savings and loan institutions, and unscrupulous behavior of some powerful Washington politicians. At times, you even wonder if our legal beavers are perhaps over their heads in defending their clients.
The author’s well-paced novel is akin to a good ski run, as the tension mounts towards the finish line-all is resolved by credible plot endings.
Characters are well drawn and convincing, and the author displays an uncanny knack for dropping intriguing clues and evidence into the narratives that continually maintain our interest.