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The Mourning Sexton    by Michael Baron order for
Mourning Sexton
by Michael Baron
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It's hard to believe that The Mourning Sexton is a first novel for Michael Baron. The plot is a corker, the action moves at a good clip, and the characters seem like they've just stepped from real life to play the role Baron has assigned them.

Attorney David Hirsch was a successful lawyer at one of St. Louis' most prestigious law firms until he was sent to Allenwood Prison for embezzlement. That's sure to put a damper on anyone's career. Now he handles bankruptcy cases for a tried and true friend. As he recaptures his Judaism and becomes a sexton of a synagogue, a parishioner approaches him and asks him to prove that his daughter was murdered, rather than having died in an accident as her boss claims.

One thing leads to another as Hirsch takes on big business. Fraud, embezzlement, conspiracy, money laundering, murder; these all unfold as Hirsch digs deeper into what he thinks is a world gone mad. The machinations behind the scenes of big business and the courtroom are fictional, I hope. I have a decided fear of height and avoid it all costs (except for flying). There is a scene in which Hirsch is fighting for his life atop a twenty-something story building that seemed so real it had my stomach doing flip-flops.

Michael Baron, welcome to the world of writing, and please hurry up with your next book.

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