Thomas & Mercer, 2019, 304 pages
Will Matthews came to Wall Street with hopes and dreams of hitting it big. But things have not been going as expected. He’s on the verge of being fired when he meets the devilishly mysterious and fabulously wealthy Sam Abaddon.
Winning Sam’s business answers Will’s prayers, catapulting the young stockbroker into the privileged world of money and luxury. Not only that, but Will also has met his dream girl, ambitious attorney Gwen Lipton.
All at once, it seems as if Will’s life couldn’t get any better.
And it doesn’t.
When Will witnesses a shocking act of violence, his charmed new existence is revealed to be a waking nightmare as the truth about his benefactor - and his own complicity in criminal conduct - becomes devastatingly clear. As the noose draws tighter, Will faces an impossible choice: feast upon the poisonous fruit of his bloody business or defy his patron and face dire consequences.
Then again, maybe there’s a third option....
Your first clue that the whale of a client who's fallen into your lap might not be on the up and up is that his name is Sam Abaddon. I mean, come on.
The second clue should be a mysterious billionaire who grabs some random schmuck and promptly shovels millions of dollars of business his way because he's just such a swell guy and took a liking to you. Really now.
Adam Mitzner's legal thrillers are kind of like brain candy, they aren't very deep but he writes a fairly straightforward crime thriller with a bit of authentic legal and financial patter, enough to make the shenanigans believable, even if the characters sometimes stretch credulity.
Our first protagonist, Will Matthews, is a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed "wealth manager" trying to make it in a cutthroat Manhattan firm, and he's not making it. Then he meets Sam Abaddon and his gorgeous girlfriend at a game, and Sam takes a shine to young Will and makes all his dreams come true by opening huge accounts with him after a couple of friendly conversations, and while you can forgive Will for not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, the reader obviously knows right away that this isn't going to turn out to be anything good.
Meanwhile, Will is starting to date a young lawyer named Gwen Lipton, the second protagonist of the novel. Gwen is also bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, trying to make her bones at a prestigious Manhattan law firm. She lands a spot on the defense team for an A-list Hollywood director who's on trial for allegedly murdering his wife. He was having an affair with the starlet in his latest film, and he claims his wife committed suicide, while the prosecution claims he killed her to avoid a messy divorce. Gwen is convinced by the lead counsel that they have a bonafide Innocent Man as a client, and she launches herself into the case with professional and righteous zeal.
So, our young lawyer and our young money manager start dating, falling in love, and picking out the nursery at the brand new $10 million apartment Will has been given as a "gift," and then all the clues so obvious to the reader that things are going to go to shit drop, and things go to shit.
There are a few twists that weren't obvious, which kept the story from following a totally predictable path, but I did find myself thinking that people this naive shouldn't swim with sharks in Manhattan.
The resolution was also a bit abrupt and tidy, but this is Mitzner's specialty, delivering a lean, fast-paced thriller without a lot of fat on it, or time to indulge in subplots or extended character studies.
A little bit of John Grisham, a little bit of Law & Order, it was a good quick read.
Also by Adam Mitzner: My reviews of A Conflict of Interest and Dead Certain.
My complete list of book reviews.