Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review: 'Dead Lawyers Don't Lie' by Mark Nolan

California author Mark Nolan practiced his writing craft as a successful entrepreneur, creating news stories for businesses that were featured in The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Parade, Readers Digest and Associated Press. He now applies those skills in observation, commentary, legal shenanigans and political maneuverings to create sold fiction. DEAD LAWERS DON’T LIE is his formal debut into the literary world – and it is a strong entrance!

Mark has create a cast of characters for this financial thriller that is unusual in that the main character is a photojournalist, Jake, who lives with his skilled dog Cody on a boat in the San Francisco area, and whose involvement in the suspense filled story is marked with a keen sense of humor, love of art and knowledge of dog training makes this one snappy read - a story that though terrifying at times allows the reader to breathe with the machinations of Jake and Cody – and the rest of the sterling cast.

When an author has the courage to open the every first paragraph with a murder captured on film we know we are in for a thriller with spunk. ‘On the day attorney Richard Caxton was shot he spent his morning in court doing what he did best… lying to the jury.’ Enough said – on to the synopsis: ‘A mysterious killer who calls himself The Artist is assassinating wealthy lawyers in San Francisco. When photojournalist Jake Wolfe accidentally takes his picture during a murder, The Artist adds Jake to his kill list and he becomes a target in a deadly game of cat and mouse that only one of them can survive. How far would you go to protect your family and friends from a killer? How many laws would you break? Jake is a veteran who wants to leave his past life behind him, but the reluctant, flawed hero finds that he can't ignore his duty and his personal moral compass. The story features a cast of interesting characters, including several strong-willed women, two wisecracking San Francisco Police Homicide Inspectors, one highly intelligent dog, and a philosophical killer who shares Jake's admiration for Van Gogh paintings but still plans to kill him anyway. As Jake gets closer to unraveling a merciless conspiracy, his life gets turned upside down and the danger level increases, adding to the growing suspense.’

A debut? Surprising, because so many elements are so polished that it seems Mark has been writing novels for a long time. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, April 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.