Motor City Shakedown

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Motor City Shakedown

A Bright & Fletcher Mystery

A gritty legal thriller with a dash of romance!

Good legal thrillers are hard to come by these days, with the heavy hitters of the genre moving away from the format that made the genre popular in the first place. But, this series caught my eye and I decided to give it a whirl, hoping for a little courtroom finesse, action, and suspense.

Well, two out three ain’t bad, I suppose.

Darren Fletcher, a popular criminal attorney, riding high on his success, has an unparalleled fall from grace and has spent the last few years running his business from a rundown bar, drowning his pain in scotch. When he hears of a huge explosion, and a potential flub up by an elite police unit, Darren runs to the hospital to offer his services to the accused, only to find a rookie attorney has had the same idea.

Enter Issabella Bright, an attorney still making her way doing scut work, but doing so independently, much to her mother’s dismay. She, too, figures the case, making the news could bring her the first high profile case of her dull career. Although it’s frowned upon severely, she shows up at the hospital hoping to offer her services to the badly injured suspect.

Thus begins a most unusual partnership between Fletcher and Bright, who team up to uncover major corruption in the Detroit police department.

Gone are the days of courtroom dramas where witnesses take the stand and attorney’s strut their stuff in front of juries, hoping for that “Perry Mason” moment. Those types of legal thrillers are my favorites and always capture my rapt attention. But, since lawyers these days seem to avoid court appearances like the plague, I suppose the genre has moved on from that, so now our attorneys are more like investigators and crime solvers than legal representatives.

So, instead of a lot courtroom wrangling, Bright and Fletcher try to understand why their client was targeted by the cops in the first place and incidentally uncover an unbelievable web of corruption. In the process, Fletcher and Bright discover they make a great team and they happen to have a little romantic chemistry to boot.

The Detroit setting gives the story a gritty realism that is a far cry from the slick, high powered criminal defense stories we are usually subjected to.

Fletcher and Bright are both dealing with personal struggles, with Fletcher’s backstory casting a heavy gloom over the entire novel.

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure how to feel about Fletcher half the time and Issabella often swung back and forth between being green, and nervous, to proving herself to be more competent, than Fletcher, despite her lack of experience. She shows real mettle, regardless of her personal struggle with anxiety. Fletcher has a long way to go, and will still need to work hard to get back some of his mojo, and although I don’t want him to go back to being the type of person he was, I would like to see him get his act together and be a better man, for himself and for “Izzy”.

This is a starter novel in the series, so a large portion of the book was spent setting things up, which of course slows the pacing down quite a bit. But, I think, from this point on, we will see the stories move at a quicker pace, and true character development can begin.

Overall, this is a good start to the series, and I think it has real potential. I liked it well enough to try out the second book to see how things progress from here.

Book Blurb for Motor City Shakedown

Darren Fletcher, once the rising star of Detroit's criminal justice system, has fallen far. All the way to an office in a smoky dive bar on the wrong side of the city. But a single phone call could be the key to climbing out of his downward spiral: a police brutality victim needs his help, and the family's willing to pay. Big-time.

Issabella Bright's daily panic attacks aren't entirely due to her decision to forgo a flashy firm and go out on her own, but that's a large part of it. She never thought she'd resort to ambulance chasing, until the story about a SWAT raid gone wrong proves too intriguing to ignore—it's the perfect chance to prove she made the right decision.

But Issabella's not the only one after the job.

Darren's connections are enough to get past the cops stonewalling them both at the hospital, but only a judge's order makes Issabella even consider teaming up with the disheveled attorney and his weird—and weirdly effective—methods. But as the case deepens and it becomes clear the Detroit PD is concealing a much bigger conspiracy, Darren and his methods may be all that keep her alive.

Book one of the Bright & Fletcher Mysteries

75,000 words

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2016 3.50