Publisher: Orion (Trade Paperback – 26 July 2022)
Series: Eddie Flynn – Book Seven
Length: 323 pages
My Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
The murder trial of the year is in session as brilliant legal thriller author Steve Cavanagh returns with his latest Eddie Flynn novel, The Accomplice.
Last year I had the great pleasure of reading a very fun and compelling thriller novel with The Devil’s Advocate, which was the sixth book in the Eddie Flynn series by talented author Steve Cavanagh. I had heard of Cavanagh before last year, and indeed I already had a couple of his other books currently sitting on my to-read shelf, but this was the first real chance I had to read one of his novels. I ended up being really impressed with The Devil’s Advocate, which pitted the series’ conman turned lawyer protagonist against a murderous southern prosecutor in a story that was wildly entertaining, extremely clever, and highly addictive. As such, I have been rather eager to see what Cavanagh would write next, and his next book, The Accomplice, had been high on my upcoming books list for a while. Well, I just received an advance copy of The Accomplice a couple of days ago and I immediately picked it up and started reading because it had such an awesome story idea behind it.
Carrie Miller is the most hated woman in America! A seemingly normal and unassuming housewife, the world was shocked to discover that Carrie’s husband, Daniel Miller, was the notorious and brutal serial killer known as the Sandman. After terrorising New York for months and killing 14 people, the Sandman suddenly vanished just as the police arrived to arrest him. While the Sandman may have been gone, Carrie was still there, and everyone, including the police, FBI, media, and the entirety of America, believes that she knew about her husband’s crimes and helped to cover them up.
As the start of her trial begins, a desperate Carrie turns to the one defence attorney that could save her, former conman and legal genius Eddie Flynn. Convinced of her innocence and determined to help, Flynn reluctantly takes on her case. However, this will be the most difficult case of his life, as he must convince a jaded jury and the rest of the world that Carrie had no knowledge of her husband’s crimes and took no part in the murders. But with Carrie already convicted by the media, and no evidence or witnesses that can back up her story, Eddie will have a real fight on his hands.
As Eddie prepares for the case, a dangerous new problem enters the picture. After a lengthy absence, the Sandman has returned to New York, and he’s determined to save his wife from a life sentence. Even with the police, FBI and rogue serial killer specialist Gabriel Lake on his tail, the Sandman begins a new reign of terror, targeting the prosecution’s witnesses and members of the FBI. With the stakes higher than ever, can Eddie prove Carrie’s innocence before the killer strikes again or will he and everyone he cares about face the wrath of the Sandman?
Cavanagh hits it out of the park again, providing readers with a brilliant and intense thriller that is dark and fun at the same time. Combining fantastic legal elements with a gripping psychological narrative about a dangerous killer, The Accomplice was another impressive read from Cavanagh that was well worth the wait.
This seventh Eddie Flynn novel has a really awesome and intense story to it that takes the reader on an impressive ride that is near impossible to stop. Starting off with a great introduction to the case, the story quickly loops in Eddie Flynn and his team, while also bringing back the great villain in the Sandman. Following some subsequent exposition and background to the case, Eddie gets into planning the defence, only to have a substantial shock hit him as the Sandman strikes in several different directions. As the various characters attempt to deal with the issues surrounding the Sandman’s new attacks, Eddie is forced to defend his client in impossible circumstances as the trial starts.
Thanks to his great use of multiple character perspectives, which follows everyone including Eddie, his team, and even the Sandman himself, you get a great view of the events occurring throughout the book. The middle of this impressive novel is filled with some excellent sequences depicting the killers’ current brutal actions, the desperate search for him that envelopes several main characters, and Flynn’s always impressive legal scenes. I loved the awesome changes in tone and focus that occurred between these various chapters, and there is an intriguing and powerful contrast between the intensive cat-and-mouse games surrounding the killer and the more legal focused scenes. All the perspectives come together in a big way towards the end of the book, and The Accomplice has a fantastic and wildly entertaining finale. There are some pretty cool twists loaded up here and Cavanagh does a great job setting them up throughout the narrative. I was kind of able to predict how one of the main ones would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised by the other, and looking back it was cleverly set up and then hidden by the other secrets. The author ends The Accomplice on a great note, and readers will come away wildly entertained and very impressed with how everything was so neatly wrapped up.
Cavanagh was in the zone when he was writing The Accomplice, and I deeply enjoyed how the entire story came together. Like most of Cavanagh’s novels, the pacing in The Accomplice was spot on and the reader is never really given a chance to relax or put the novel down, which ensures that they try really hard to get through everything in one go (it worked on me). There was an excellent blend of styles throughout The Accomplice, and Cavanagh once again did a great job of combining the darker subject matter of a disturbed killer, with the lighter scenes that focused on Eddie Flynn’s outrageous behaviour. The scenes focused on the Sandman were particularly dark and gripping, especially as you get to see directly into his diseased mind, and the use of them throughout the novel really helped to amp up the drama and threat, while also moving the narrative along in some impressive directions. Likewise, you get some intriguing and powerful character driven scenes from some of the other major characters, such as Flynn’s investigator Bloch and newcomer Gabriel Lake, as they get obsessed with finding the Sandman and bringing him to justice.
However, my personal favourite scenes in the book are those that deal more with the legal thriller aspects of the book. I am always a sucker for a good legal battle in fiction, and Cavanagh, a man who knows a thing or two about the law, does a brilliant job of showcasing trials, legal prep work, and the formation of a defence case throughout his novels. The court sequences scattered throughout the novel are very well written, and it was fascinating to see the author’s take on certain prosecution and defence strategies (some of the names for the strategies were quite amusing) as the protagonists do their darndest to blow a hole in the seemingly airtight case against their client. I really loved how Cavanagh once again let Eddie go wild during the court case, and he uses all his knowledge and flair for the dramatic to manipulate the court in some inventive and often hilarious ways. Most of Eddie’s appearances in the court are wildly entertaining, and his over-the-top shenanigans so much fun to behold, especially when he takes down every smug opponent and obstacle in a big way. The author has a lot of fun setting up some of these events throughout the book, and it is really entertaining to see the protagonists coming up with their eccentric plans, as the hints about what they are going to do are left purposely vague to capture the reader’s attention. I have so much love for Cavanagh’s ability to bring some wacky ideas into the court setting, and I can’t wait to see what convoluted and hilarious strategies the protagonist employs in any future books.
On top of the great story and distinctive sequences, Cavanagh also excels at character creation and development, which adds an extra impressive layer to the narrative. The Accomplice features an interesting complement of characters, from the established cast of the previous books to some exceptional new figures whom the current case revolves around. Naturally, most of the focus falls on the protagonist of Eddie Flynn, who is once again brought into an impossible case. Flynn has another strong turn in The Accomplice and gets up to all his old tricks to win. This results in quite a few entertaining and hilarious moments, and most of the book’s strong humour is because of Flynn’s more outrageous behaviours. However, parts of this case do really get to Flynn and show that deep down he’s a good and flawed figure who lets his work dig into him. Watching certain stresses and griefs take their hold on him really adds to the drama and intensity of the book, and I really appreciated how Cavanagh portrayed him throughout this latest novel.
On top of Eddie, the author brings back the central legal team, who are very strongly featured throughout this seventh book. This includes Eddie’s mentor and advisor, Harry Ford, who continues to be a solid and calming presence for much of the book. Harry serves as an excellent foil to the more outgoing Flynn, and they work well together as a team, especially during some scenes that see Harry have a bigger impact on the story than usual. The other two key members of the staff are the firm’s other associate, young lawyer Kate Brooks and investigator Blotch, who are well utilised throughout The Accomplice. Both bring something very different to the story, whether it be Kate’s relative innocence and determination to help wronged women, such as their client in this book, or Blotch’s investigative knowhow, capacity for violence, and general determination. Both prove a good match for Flynn throughout this book, and I really liked the major impacts they have on the story, as it resulted in a much more varied and fun narrative. There is also a great look at their strong friendship, which has lasted since childhood, and it was fun to see more examples of Blotch’s overprotective nature, especially when it comes to a thieving neighbour.
Finally, there are also some excellent new characters utilised in The Accomplice, who each bring something very different to the table. Due to their stronger involvement with this particular case, be it suspect, perpetrator or hunter, Cavanagh does spend a bit more time introducing and developing these new characters than the existing cast, and you end up getting to know them extremely well. This includes Flynn’s new client, Carrie Miller, the wife of the infamous Sandman, who finds herself under attack from pretty much the entire country in this book. Carrie cuts a fascinating figure as a result, and while you are constantly wondering just how innocent she is, you get to see her at her most vulnerable as everyone she knows has turned against her. I particularly enjoyed some of her insights (her choice of favourite film is excellent), and the journal entries that the author scatters throughout the novel really enhances her tale and gives greater context to her present actions.
In addition, Cavanagh also introduces the character of Gabriel Lake, a former FBI agent turned private investigator who specialises in catching serial killers. A brilliant man with interesting ideas about the way to hunt killers which goes against the established theories of the FBI, Lake is an integral part of the plot, as he helps Flynn with his case in the hope of catching the Sandman. However, there is also a deep well of anger within Lake, due to both his past and his personal connection to the Sandman case, and this becomes a major problem for the protagonists as the book goes on. You never quite know what Lake’s motivations or intentions are, and he ends up adding an entire extra layer of complexity to an already twisty plot.
The final character I need to mention is the killer known as the Sandman. While I won’t go into too much detail here about them to preserve some plot details, they serve as a sinister and threatening figure throughout the story, and their presence really impacts the events of the narrative. Cavanagh goes out of his way to make the Sandman appear as deadly and deranged as possible, and it was fascinating to get a glimpse into his mind, especially as he truly believes that the Sandman is his true persona. Watching him work his deadly skills in several disconcerting point of view chapters really adds to the intensity of the narrative, and he ended up being a particularly impressive literary villain. I really had a great time with all these amazing and complex characters, be they old and new, and Cavanagh has once again really showcased his excellent skill when it comes to writing damaged people.
Unsurprisingly, I had a wonderful time with The Accomplice and Steve Cavanagh continues to impress me as one of the more entertaining thriller authors out there today. This latest Eddie Flynn novel has all the series trademark flair as Cavanagh presents the reader with another unique and captivating case. I loved how The Accomplice featured a great combination of a dark killer, hilarious legal scenes, a twisty thriller plot, and some well-established characters, which result in an incredible and addictive narrative. A deeply enjoyable read, I really must go back and check out some of the earlier Eddie Flynn novels when I get a chance. Highly recommended!