The Bottom Line: A captivating series debut that will have fans eagerly awaiting Chance Cormac’s next adventure.
Richard A. Danzig’s debut legal thriller opens as Chance Comac, a successful trial lawyer who describes the law as a “jealous mistress,” confesses that his license to practice law has been suspended. What follows is the heart-wrenching, gritty story of how the unthinkable happened.
The troubles start as Chance agrees to meet with a potential client as a favor to Roy, an influential attorney who sits on various bar association boards. Despite swearing off divorce cases forever, he listens patiently as Courtney, a mother to two seven-year-old twins, explains that she wants to move on from her marriage to husband Jackson quickly and without any litigation. But Chance soon learns that Courtney has discovered videos and photos of his husband having sex with young teenage girls. It’s a dark family secret that Courtney insists must not get out.
Chance’s instinct is to turn down the case right away, but Courtney and Roy insist. Given Roy’s significant influence in the legal community, Chase decides to accept. Before long, Chase and his team discover that the allegations of child porn are just the beginning. Jackson also has deep ties to a vast criminal conspiracy, including international money laundering. The book becomes especially riveting as Danzig introduces an eastern European fixer with ties to Russian intelligence. By the book’s halfway point, the team is uncovering fascinating finance-related loopholes.
Danzig uses much of the book’s first act to establish Chance’s background and character. How can we not fall for an attorney who names his dog Tort? He’s also thoughtful about his sage mentor, Professor Connelly, and missed opportunities in his love life. To boot, Chance follows a long line of characters whose background in boxing give them some added grit (Robert Cohn in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Freddy Ferguson in Andrew Diamond’s eponymously named series). But Danzig takes steps to ensure Chance isn’t too hardened, including a strong affinity for the arts (or at least classic rock). But the time Chase finds life as he knows it in danger, only the most hardened readers won’t be completely on board. Highly recommended.