From the Publisher
“MASTERFUL PLOTTING. . . . SHAKES YOUR BEST GUESSES AND PUNCHES YOU IN THE GUT.” —Perri O’Shaughnessy
“MORE TWISTS THAN A CALIFORNIA CLOVERLEAF INTERCHANGE.” —Bookreporter
“PULLS YOU IN DEEPER AND DEEPER. . . . IT’S HARD TO BELIEVETHIS IS MITZNER’S FIRST NOVEL. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” —seattlepi.com
“THIS GIFTED WRITER SHOULD HAVE A LONG AND SUCCESSFUL CAREERAHEAD OF HIM.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A PAGE-TURNER WITH DEEPLY FLAWED HEROES, SYMPATHETICVILLAINS, AND TOTALLY UNEXPECTED TWISTS. I LOVED IT!” —Alan Dershowitz
Mitzner's assured debut, a legal thriller, compares favorably to Presumed Innocent, though the plot is less complex than Turow's. Alex Miller, a criminal defense attorney at Cromwell Altman in New York City, meets an old friend of his parents, Michael Ohlig, at his father's funeral in Florida. Ohlig, the head of a boutique brokerage firm, asks for Miller's help. His firm stands accused of selling stock in a startup company he knew was worthless. Miller, who's convinced his client is innocent despite the contrary evidence, pours himself into Ohlig's defense, a time commitment that strains the ties to his devoted wife, Elizabeth. His law firm's assigning Miller a gorgeous senior associate, Abby Sloane, to assist him doesn't help. Mitzner tosses in a number of twists, but his strength lies in his characters and his unflinching depiction of relationships in crisis. This gifted writer should have a long and successful career ahead of him. (May)
A debut novel that combines the politics of big law firms, securities fraud and illicit affairs.
Mitzner's tale follows the story of Alex Miller, who shares the author's initials and occupation: defense attorney. Miller, married to Elizabeth and father to 5-year-old Charlotte, works for one of those huge law firms that expects its employees to work nearly around the clock. When Alex's father dies, his father's closest friend, Michael Ohlig, a wealthy securities trader, asks for Alex's help. Ohlig expects to be indicted for securities fraud and wants Alex and his firm to represent him. Alex agrees, and Michael ponies up the $2 million retainer. Then beautiful Abby Sloane is assigned to the case as Alex's second and the situation get predictably complicated from every angle: Alex finds himself drawn to her, the case heats up and things get personal with his mother, who has not been herself since her husband died. When everything starts slipping out of control, Alex faces both a personal challenge and a startling truth. The first half of the book reads like a tutorial on the operation of a big-city law firm. The author goes into dreary detail about every aspect of the securities case, even naming all of the associating attorneys and their clients, despite the fact that most of them never really surface again. Mitzner also has a tendency to over-explain the inner workings of the system from the lawyer's point of view with the result that the first half reads more like a legal text than a work of fiction. In fact, the first chapters are so weighted down with legalese and filler (every meeting has a buffet, and the author provides a faithful rendition of the food choices) that the story surfaces as an afterthought. It's not until the Mitzner moves past the securities phase that Alex becomes interesting and the story line picks up speed. Most readers aren't going to wade through the first part to get to the second, which is a shame because that's when the real storytelling begins.
A lukewarm legal tale that only comes alive in the second half.