In Robert K. Tanenbaum’s electrifying thriller, District Attorney Butch Karp battles a failure of the system, a police detective desperate to solve a case for his own ends, and a homicidal maniac who will stop at nothing to protect the truth.
Months after a brutal double homicide in uptown Manhattan shocks the city, sensational newspaper headlines herald the arrest and indictment of Felix Acevedo, a shy Bronx teenager who confessed to the horrific crimes. But downtown, in the district attorney’s office, Butch Karp is seething.
No sooner does he bask in the relief of successfully closing the case on murderous imam Sharif Jabbar than he is thrust into the center of a high-profile prosecution that threatens the integrity of his office. An ambitious young assistant district attorney, seeking career advancement, cuts corners to indict Acevedo, disregarding Karp’s fundamental rule: Never charge the accused unless the evidence leads inexorably to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Now, damned by a coerced confession and a frenzied media bent on lynching him, Acevedo sits in jail while a vicious killer stalks the city.
Karp’s wife, Marlene Ciampi, one half of the “crime-fighting family” proclaimed by the media, hits the streets for clues that will save the unjustly accused defendant. What she discovers puts her on the trail of the true perpetrator—a drug-addicted psychopath with an ax to grind—and a disgruntled police detective who is willing to lie, withhold evidence, and kill to be labeled a hero. But it also puts her in the center of a dangerous race to be the last man standing and if she’s not careful, one of the other players will take the prize.
From the gruesome crime scene to a trial that will leave readers on the edge of their seats, Robert K. Tanenbaum’s unstoppable novel unfolds at breakneck speed as Karp and Ciampi fight for justice in a dramatic and challenging case that will thrill readers to the bone.
Tanenbaum wisely dials back the terrorism themes and wild excesses that have plagued recent entries in this long-running series (Betrayed, etc.) with this straightforward legal thriller. Mild-mannered, mentally challenged Felix Acevedo, who came to New York City from Puerto Rico with his parents as a boy, has been arrested for a double homicide of a professor's wife and her mother in the Columbia University Slasher case. Physical evidence points to Felix's involvement, and far worse, he has confessed to the horrific murders. The crimes were in fact committed by a Chechen immigrant who looks Hispanic, methamphetamine junkie Ahmed Kadyrov, but New York City D.A. Roger "Butch" Karp and his department don't know that and are set to prosecute Felix. When Felix's mother persuades Karp's attorney wife, Marlene Ciampi, her son is innocent, Marlene decides to investigate. The final pages of the trial reveal a clever trick that Tanenbaum has neatly played on the reader.
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Another Tannenbaum Masterpiece
I own all of Robert K, Tannenbaum's books and he just keeps getting better and better with each new release. I have watched him mature in his writing style from his first book to this current edifice. He speaks to all of us in his character development and courtroom scenes like few other are capable of doing. I look forward to each new release as I know I'm in for a special treat. If you haven't read any of his works I would urge you to do so. But don't plan on his books being go-to-bed reading material. Plan on a days worth of literary enjoyment as they are very hard to put down once started.