Robert K. Tanenbaum
Simon & Schuster, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
istrict Attorney Butch Karp returns in
, 23rd in the bestselling series starring Butch, his fiery wife Marlene Ciampi, their mystical genius of a daughter Lucy, twin sons Giancarlo and Isaac ('
'), and an ever growing entourage of legal and spiritual associates. But, unlike the plots of the last few episodes, this one is not about the Karps saving the world. Phew! It's good to have a break from terrorist threats.
he main focus of this yarn is the arrest and indictment of Felix Acevedo in the Columbia University Slasher case. It's made clear to the reader that this shy Bronx teenager is innocent - having suffered an abusive father all his life, he'll admit to anything to please a questioner. The killer is methamphetamine junkie Ahmed Kadyrov, a Chechen immigrant. The Karps' involvement in the case begins when Marlene's reporter friend, Ariadne Stupenagel, brings it to their attention, postulating a serial killer.
series of unfortunate events leads to Felix's arrest for the killings. This is followed by the shoddy police work of a NYPD detective anxious for a transfer, and shortcuts taken by an inexperienced, ambitious ADA. A friend of Felix's calls Marlene (who's taken on a new role as '
crusading defence attorney
') and asks her to get involved. Marlene hits the streets to find the truth, with Ariadne's often reckless assistance.
n the home front, Lucy is having second thoughts about her marriage. And Zak and Giancarlo argue about how to handle their baseball coach and teammates' picking on a talented new player from Mexico. Giancarlo believes it wrong to stand by and do nothing, while Zak doesn't want to make waves. They have help from an unusual source - Holocaust survivor Moishe Sobelman shares his own experiences as part of their bar mitzvah preparation. He warns them that '
those who witness the debasement of another human and do nothing about it are the same people who may someday ask themselves why they didn't stand up when the evil men came for them.
he main plot thickens as Ahmed Kadyrov's drug dealers get involved and a good cop is targeted by a bad one. But justice does eventually prevail (the Karps helping to balance the scales) with Butch making a cogent argument for the death penalty. Though I enjoyed the development of the legal case, I was even more engrossed by Zak and Giancarlo's dilemma, curious to see what they would eventually do. And of course, as their parents' sons, they did show the right stuff. Don't miss
, a thought provoking and well developed legal mystery.
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