Shadow of Power
A Paul Madriani Legal Thriller by Steve Martini
Review: Shadow of Power, Steve Martini's ninth legal thriller featuring San Diego criminal defense attorney Paul Madriani, is so meticulously researched and well written that it is virtually impossible to discern where fiction ends and fact begins.
Madriani and his team take on the defense of Carl Arnsburg, a twenty-three year old member of the Aryan Nation, accused of the murder of noted flamboyant, and politically connected, author Terry Scarborough. Wherever Scarborough goes to promote his latest bestselling novel, Perpetual Slaves: The Branding of America's Black Race, racial uprisings occur: buildings are burned, cars turned over, and more. He stimulates the hatred that still arises in our nation when the issue of slavery is broached. Although the members of his staff try to advise him to restrain his ardor for attention, Scarborough wants more notoriety so his next book, a sequel to Perpetual Slaves, will be an even bigger hit than this one.
Toward that end, Terry Scarborough plans to announce on national television that in his next book he will reveal finding an authentic copy of the so-called "J" letter written by Thomas Jefferson at the time the US Constitution was drafted that reveals some deep secret about slavery. Before he can do so, he is found dead. Carl Arnsburg's prints are found on the murder weapon, the victim's blood on his pants and shoes. With a swastika and "Our Race is Our Nation" tattooed on his body, he is the perfect candidate to arrest for the murder. In addition to the forensic evidence, the prosecution has eye witnesses and confirmation from the Aryan Nation that Arnsburg did threaten to kidnap and possibly kill Scarborough. It is up to the defense to find evidence to try to somehow prove Arnsburg did not commit the crime, or at the very least, save Arnsburg from the death penalty. Madriani knows the "J" letter is the real clue to the murder, but no one knows where the letter is or even if it exists. Members of Madriani's law firm are taken from San Diego to the Caribbean nation of Curacao and finally to Washington DC where a Justice of the Supreme Court may be involved. Because Madriani and his partner believe in Arnsburg's innocence, it's a race to see if they can find the answer to who really killed Terry Scarborough and why before it's too late.
There's something for everyone in this remarkable book. A tightly wound plot, a historical mystery, a combination of international, political, and legal intrigue, riveting courtroom scenes, and even a touch of humor. Shadow of Power is not only one of the best legal thrillers this year, it is one of the best novels of the year.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Shadow of Power.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided an ARC of Shadow of Power for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Trader of Secrets
William Morrow (Hardcover), May 2011
ISBN-13: 9780061930232; ISBN-10: 0061930237
Location(s) referenced in Shadow of Power: San Diego, California
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Shadow of Power by Steve Martini — A Paul Madriani Legal Thriller
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $26.95