by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of Face Value at the end of this review, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to support KRL.
Considering the competition, long hours, and pressure on new attorneys, the suicide of promising young lawyer Sari Bashir is not a complete shock. What is disconcerting is that once evidence arises indicating that the death may have been a murder, the most likely suspects are the prestigious partners and attorneys of the elite law firm of Warner and Olsen.
The only voice asserting Sari’s death was not by her own hand is that of Stanley Plotkin, the mailroom worker who has Asperger’s Syndrome. His ability to notice details place him on the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock-level. Stanley studied Facial Action Coding System (FACS), a science used by the FBI to detect emotions and lies through the observation of minute facial movements. He’s certain Sari was not suicidal but troubled by incidents within her law firm. Stanley’s mother and attorney Rachel Gold’s mother are best friends, so it’s not surprising that Stanley’s heard of Rachel’s experiences investigating the dark side of law firms. It’s logical that he goes to her for help to prove his friend was murdered.
Rachel has her hands full with a sexual harassment civil suit filed against an assets-hiding doctor. Since Sari once clerked for Rachel, she looks into Stanley’s claim. Rachel has the support of her wise mother and even sharper best friend and fellow Big Law Firm survivor Benjamin “Benny” Goldberg, the profane but brilliant law professor at St. Louis’s Washington University Law School. Under the guise of filming a memorial/recruitment video of Sari, they are able to interview and record testimonies of her law acquaintances that allow Stanley detect deceptions.
We always knew law firms were cutthroat, we just didn’t know it was literal. In this ninth Rachel Gold mystery Michael A. Kahn utilizes his vast experience as a practicing attorney to expose the intricacies of financial and legal shenanigans in a way that is both entertaining and easy to understand, even if you’re not a lawyer. Rachel is a very witty and engaging heroine but Stanley proves to be a standout with his obsessive and encyclopedic knowledge of historical facts and FACS. His not-quite-an-Of-Mice-and-Men partnership with his fellow mailroom coworker Jerry Klunger is touching, unique, and very enterprising. The relationships between the characters are as strong as the very intricate plot that involves law, finances, and a new and very sneaky practice of investments made off of settlements. This is my favorite legal mystery series, and its reliable humor, great writing, and innovative plots will please any mystery lover.
To enter to win a copy of Face Value, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Face,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 5, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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