Author: Adam Mitzner
Publisher: Gallery Books
Aaron Litman, the protagonist in Adam Mitzner's latest legal thriller Losing Faith has found himself in a boiling tub of hot water after having an adulterous affair with Judge Faith Nichols. Aaron is a senior partner and chairman in the prestigious New York law firm, Cromwell, Altman, Rosenthal & White, and, as with most adulterers, he firmly believes that his affair has been undetected and he is positive that he has covered all of his tracks.
Guess what, Aaron is about to have quite a shock when he is blackmailed into defending Nicolai Gargov, a treacherous criminal accused of laundering funds for the Russian Mafia and financing a terrorist bombing in Red Square killing twenty-six people. Gargov claims he knows of Aaron's affair and furthermore he has recently been informed that Nichols will be the presiding judge in his case. What an opportunity for blackmail! Aaron is supposed to be an up-standing family man with a wife and two daughters while Judge Nichols is likewise and both are pillars of their community.
Without wasting any time, Gargov dismisses his first attorney and engages Aaron to represent him while threatening at the same time that if he refuses to take on his case, he will divulge that Aaron was enjoying himself with Judge Nichols while defending another criminal before the good judge. What is more, and here is the kicker, Gargov wants Aaron to blackmail the judge in order that he be set free. Gargov has also found out that Judge Nichols is about to be nominated to the Supreme Court but what he doesn't know is that her appointment hinges on his conviction. And there is something else to this tangled plot, before Gargov even appears before Nichols, her mangled body is found in Central Park. Aaron is in a panic as he was the last person to see Nichols alive hoping to convince her to stay out of the Garov's case. Evidence builds up pointing the finger at Aaron as the prime suspect in Nichols's murder. Coming to his rescue is his partner and mentor Sam Rosenthal who reassures him that he will not let anything happen to him.
With an unfaltering hand Mitzner skillfully steers his readers through the horrific events of Aaron's story as well the unfolding courtroom drama. In addition, he understands the value of careful plot construction, good writing and characterizations as well as the importance of maintaining an urgency that keeps readers intrigued until its astonishing conclusion. As an added bonus, Mitzner, who is himself a practising litigation attorney in New York, captures with great skill the comings and goings of big expensive law firms and the internal office politics inherent therein including the back stabbing and other shenanigans which often are a consequence of their greed. His description of the various court proceedings and the behavior of the prosecuting and defence attorneys are right on the mark all contributing to a thoroughly satisfying courtroom thriller. My only gripe about this novel is that it would have been much more effective if there were more showing than telling, nonetheless Mitzner does have a bright future as a novelist and I look forward to reading more from him.