Steve Martini
The Arraignment

When Paul Madriani's old friend, flamboyant criminal-defense lawyer Nick Rush, is gunned down on the streets of San Diego along with a client, Madriani sets out to find the killer. He follows the trail through shady real-estate dealings, cross-border smuggling, political corruption, and a nasty fight between Rush's ex and his young trophy wife over a hefty life-insurance policy. Eventually the case leads Madriani to the Yucatan Peninsula near Canc�n, where the last third of the book takes place--a dandy locale for skullduggery, even if it does make you suspect that the author thought up the plot while vacationing there. The Arraignment is marred by some sloppy, foggy-headed writing ("The neighborhood exudes the kind of aura picked up by a sixth sense that lingers and lifts the hair on the back of my neck"), and the plot, after its initial bang, sags for a while before it gets moving again. However, the sheer vigor of Martini's prose, his densely inventive plotting, and his sharply drawn characters carry you happily, tensely along. The book's action scenes--including a hand-to-hand fight in a shabby apartment and an unforgettable poolside shooting at a Canc�n resort--are told in fresh, vivid prose that unfolds with hypnotic clarity. And the denouement is great fun, although the complex plot takes a lot of explaining at the end. Martini's not perfect, but he's still one of the best legal/adventure thriller writers going. --Nicholas H. Allison

Pages: 403

Published: 2003

Price: 180THB