Author: H. Terrell Griffin
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Review of Advanced Copy
H. Terrell Griffin is the award-winning and best-selling author of nine Matt Royal mysteries set on Florida's West Coast. In his most recent legal thriller, Chasing Justice, his protagonist, Attorney Matt Royal has come out of retirement to defend his friend Abby Lester, the wife of the Long Boat Key's Police Chief, Bill Lester.
Abby has been charged with murdering a shady and very unlikeable character, real estate developer Nate Bannister based on the fact that her fingerprints were found on a wine glass on a table next to Bannister's bed in his condo in Sarasota. The initial evidence appears to indicate that she and Bannister were carrying on an affair and that she may have been dumped by Bannister. Another piece of incriminating evidence was the discovery of emails that she supposedly had sent to Bannister containing her typed printed signature, one of which contained a threat to kill him.
Because the wife of the police chief was accused of murder, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was called in to handle the case to avoid any conflict of interest. The agent assigned to the investigation was Wes Lucas and as the story unfolds we will be surprised to learn who he is and how he became involved in the case. To further make sure that justice is rendered fairly, the Governor of Florida has appointed the assistant state attorney from Jacksonville, George Swann, who has tried twenty-two murder cases and won them all. Swann turns out to be a cocky arrogant prosecutor who will not stop at anything including using unethical tricks to win a conviction.
As this is happening, Royal's girlfriend, Detective Jennifer Diane Duncan of Longboat Key is investigating the murder of a young woman, Linda Fournier Favreaux, wife of a wealthy businessman, Jim Favreaux, who is twenty-five years her senior. What really throws Duncan for a loop is that when the finger prints of the dead woman are analyzed, it turns out that they are traced to another woman, Darlene Pelletier, who had been arrested on a misdemeanor twenty years ago. If Linda Favreaux was Darlene Pelletier, then who was Linda Fournier Favreaux? To mucky the waters some more, found in Jim Favreaux's bedroom was a computer containing a sophisticated encryption code that two experts could not crack. Moreover Favreaux has disappeared without a trace. Did he kill his wife, who is Jim Favereaux and why did he have a laptop with world class encryption software?
Briefly, what we have here is a resort town where a wealthy developer is murdered, a presumed sordid affair, the wife of the local chief of police charged for murder and another murder of a woman whose identity turns out to be different than whom she was supposed to be. Is there some connection between the two murders and if so, what is it?
Nothing is what it seems especially where politicians, police, academics, real estate moguls, drug dealers, undercover agents, homeland security, killers, a hint of titillating sex and a trail of murdered bodies are all bound together in a smorgasbord of issues that eventually are untangled and where the truth ultimately prevails.
This is a yarn that manages to have its amusing moments even as it perplexes and intrigues with plots and subplots, which at times can be confusing. Nonetheless, to make matters more interesting, Griffin throws into the plot good old fashioned treachery and deception to keep readers turning the pages.