Monday, June 6, 2011

Night on Fire

Another legal eagle hits the shelves, and this one's a scorcher. Corleone's novel, "Night on Fire," delivers the heat and the humor in this legal thriller. It leads you down a path strewn with subtle strands of clues until the end where it twists you into a knot so fast you'll have to stop and catch your breath.

Kevin Corvelli, late of New York, spends his days in his Honolulu law firm with Jake Harper, his world weary gruff partner, and his nights drinking and seducing lady tourists at a local outdoor bar near a resort. On the fateful night, he and his companion observe an argument between newlyweds, and later, their sleep is interrupted by a fire that kills not only the bridegroom, but several other guests. Corvelli is soon hired by the widowed bride, who is arrested for arson and murder, and he soon finds his paradisiacal life going up in smoke.

I liked the fresh atmosphere setting in Hawaii. I'm used to the hero being knocked down a notch with every chapter because it makes me root for him that much more. You know he's going to win, even if the 'victory' is bittersweet.

It's a memorable if standard array of characters associated with legal novels.

Kevin Corvelli – Young lawyer with a mark in the Win column in a murder trial in Hawaii already under his belt. He likes the liquor and the ladies. He is trying to leave his New York troubles behind, but can't quite escape the long reaching shadows. He's cynical, but caring. I liked his humorous approach to situations. He shows emotion at the right times.

Erin Simms – The bride with serious issues she also cannot escape. She's a complex individual, tragic in many ways. You wonder till the end if she is really guilty of the crime.

Jake Harper – 67, alcoholic. Dealing with a failed romance. Resents Corvelli's taking of the case and nearly everything associated with it. He's loyal, but he'll bite when provoked.

Luke Maddox – The smarmy prosecuting attorney looking to make his name. He plays dirty and he's a perfect adversary for Corvelli.

Josh – Four year old Corvelli meets at the resort on the night of the fire. The kid is innocent all the way and his relationship with Corvelli excavates inner character. Not only does the kid have a connection to the case, he's the perfect addition to complete the story.

Crisp, straight, fast, to the point. Detail is not a problem. The sarcastic quips are right on the money. There are no long monologues or long back and forth at trial. Only the essential are here.

Shorter chapters make for a faster-paced story. The action is drawn out just enough you get a feel for it, but the drama doesn't keep you enmeshed. There is just enough emotion and seriousness to keep you caring. I think this is a good first novel for Corleone and I will be looking forward to further Corvelli adventures.

My ranking:

Purple Belt

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