Orion | 2018 (ebook: 25 January; Pb: 14 June) | 368p | Review copy | Buy the book
It’s the celebrity trial of the century. Hollywood actor Robert (Bobby) Solomon is charged with murdering his beautiful young actress wife Ariella and their chief of security Karl. Ariella and Karl were found in bed together, Robert’s DNA found on the scene. The case seems cut and shut but the defence knows something that throws Solomon’s guilt into doubt and they want Eddie Flynn to do the dirty work and prove it. Eddie’s not keen but this case offers him the security he needs to do something about the chaos in his private life. And then there’s Bobby Solomon. Eddie looks at him and he sees innocence in his eyes. Of course, he’s been wrong about that before but in this case Eddie couldn’t be more right. We know that and the killer knows that because the murderer is right there in court, sitting as a member of the jury.
Thirteen is the fourth Eddie Flynn novel by Steve Cavanagh and it’s most certainly my favourite of the three I’ve read. The premise is fantastic and I wanted to read this as soon as I heard about it. Courtroom thrillers have never been my sort of thing but every so often there are brilliant exceptions and Thirteen is most definitely one of those.
There’s so much going on here, quite apart from the Solomon case. Eddie, once a conman himself, is caught up in a battle with the corrupt elements of the NYPD. They’re out to get him and that isn’t helping matters. There aren’t many people in the courtroom that Eddie can trust but he is in his element. Some of the legal arguments Eddie users are brilliant. This is his stage and Eddie’s every bit as good an actor as Bobby Solomon.
The novel alternates narratives, so one minute we’re with Eddie and the next we’re with the murderer. The killer is an extraordinary figure – intensely clever yet damaged to such a degree there’s nothing he won’t do to win his game. And it’s a game like no other. The novel takes place over just a few days. It moves at quite a pace. And all the time we know that it’s the life of Bobby Solomon at stake. This extremely unusual and spectacularly audacious murderer is a prime reason for the success and originality of Thirteen. We cannot look away. We long to see what happens.
Steve Cavanagh is to be congratulated for Thirteen. This is taut, tense and immediate prose. This is a very clever thriller. I had wondered how he could continue the story of Eddie Flynn, what further cases he could take that could surprise me. I needn’t have worried. The author has pulled something spectacular out of the bag with this book and Eddie Flynn has grabbed my attention more than ever before.