Shadow of Power by Steve Martini, (A Paul Madriani Novel), Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-123089-9, $7.99 Paperback, April 2009

For those who do not know, Paul Madriani is defense attorney who has been around the block a few times. This means that the cases he gets are typically atypical. This time he’s handed the case of a young man who has been charged with the murder of a writer best known for his craving of headlines and publicity. The book in question, portends to present evidence of a secret language within the US Constitution, one that supports slavery and presents the whole document in an entirely different light. There’s also supposed to be a letter, now missing, written by Thomas Jefferson that supports and provides even more evidence towards this conspiracy. The young man charged with the murder has the motive, the connections and the shady background to make him not only a prime suspect but the only one. But Madriani thinks things are just a little too pat and when a Supreme Court Justice disappears under mysterious circumstances, Madriani begins to think that the two events are more than related and begins to dig. As things heat up he finds himself closer and closer to what could be some devastating answers about the shadow of power.  All he has to do is survive the hornet’s nest he’s stirred up.

Steve Martini writes an honest thriller. No gimmicks, no phony twists, no cheap escapes, or shock disclosures. Sure there are surprises, there have to be in this kind of novel, but they all make sense and fit the story in what turns out to be a very well crafted plot. As usual, Martini writes with flair and fast pace and his protagonist is not only smart but fun to be around.  The action moves along and is definitely worth following.

I liked this book–read it in two sittings which is unusual for me these days. I found the writing to be crisp, the dialogue to be genuine and interesting and the story to be first-rate. Martini creates a mystery plot with just the right amount of suspense and twist. Definitely recommended whether you’re a current fan or coming to the series as a new reader.


About damnaliens
Writer, reviewer, home provider to the Damnaliens

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