Thursday, 31 May 2001

Wayne J. Keeley: Mahogany Row (2000)

Edition: The Fiction Works, 2000
Review number: 827

From the first slightly tongue in cheek paragraph (which could be paraphrased as "I knew I was having a bad day when I found the body of my boss in my office..."), this legal thriller holds the attention. Mark McCoy is soon made aware that he is the chief suspect in the killing. He has an overwhelming motive - as an associate nearing the end of his eight years, he is hoping to become a partner, but a memo on his desk from his boss indicates that instead he is going to have to leave the firm. He has no alibi, and some one is alternately trying to frame him and kill him. Soon he is a fugitive trying to track down the real killer while on the run, and discovering all kinds of dirt about the sexual habits of his boos and the real ethics of the law firm he was working for.

Mahogany Row is a taut, exciting novel, which concentrates on providing its thrills. The background is a little sparse, particularly for someone like myself who has little idea how an American law firm is structured. The plot requires the police to be a little slower than I would have expected, and some of the ideas owe a fair amount to TV series like The Fugitive. Keeley is also a film writer, and this shows in his interest in dramatic action as the mainstay of the novel. The criticisms I have are both small and connected to my taste in thrillers, rather than being problems with the novel, which is extremely enjoyable.

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