One Man's Paradise
Review: Douglas Corleone introduces criminal defense attorney Kevin Corvelli, who leaves New York City after a media storm to start a new practice in Honolulu, in One Man's Paradise, the winner of the 2009 St. Martin's Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel contest and presumably (hopefully?) the first in a series.
Kevin's clients in Manhattan were merely a means to an end, a life of fame and fortune. But when one of them is convicted in a high profile murder case, one that he arguably should have won a not guilty verdict had he paid more attention to his client than the headlines, and is subsequently murdered in prison just days before real killer confesses, Kevin escapes to the islands, vowing to handle only misdemeanors. "No more rapes, no more murders," he tells his new landlord. "The stakes are much too high and I don't want that kind of responsibility anymore." But the very next day, with the parents of a young man accused of murdering his girlfriend sitting in his conference room with a $50,000 retainer check in hand, he has a change of heart. He vows to do right by his client this time, to chase down every lead that can be used to introduce doubt in the minds of a jury, even if it means risking his life — which it surely does … and from some unexpected sources.
Corleone has taken the legal brilliance of Perry Mason (and more than a few of his defense strategies) and encased it in the body of a cynical, wise-cracking 31-year-old attorney, who knows he's good but doesn't take himself too seriously. It's a winning combination in a character, and fits perfectly with the book's breezy narrative and snappy dialog. To top it off, the fast-paced plot is agreeably intricate, with more than a few surprising twists introduced along the way — the somewhat contrived and slightly disappointing ending notwithstanding. Other minor (stylistic) quibbles include the book being written in first person present tense and Kevin occasionally speaking directly to the reader.
Still, One Man's Paradise is a stellar debut and highly recommended. A sequel would be most welcome.
Acknowledgment: Douglas Corleone provided an ARC of One Man's Paradise for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Night on Fire
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), April 2011
ISBN-13: 9780312552275; ISBN-10: 0312552270
Location(s) referenced in One Man's Paradise: Honolulu, Hawaii
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One Man's Paradise by Douglas Corleone — A Kevin Corvelli Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: April 2010
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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