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Final Acts: A Novel
     

Final Acts: A Novel

by Alex Abella
 

With the return of Cuban-American lawyer Charlie Morell, New York Times notable author Alex Abella once again takes readers into the dark, insidious underworld of cult killings, corrupt politicians, and the tortured heart of Morell's native Cuba.

When the decapitated bodies of young women appear along the California coast, Morell, hero of The Killing

Overview

With the return of Cuban-American lawyer Charlie Morell, New York Times notable author Alex Abella once again takes readers into the dark, insidious underworld of cult killings, corrupt politicians, and the tortured heart of Morell's native Cuba.

When the decapitated bodies of young women appear along the California coast, Morell, hero of The Killing of the Saints and Dead of Night, returns to investigate what appear to be cult-related murders. After working for years as one of Los Angeles's supreme and most controversial criminal defenders, Morell suddenly finds himself sitting in the defendant's chair, and only Mexican-American lawyer Rita Carr %151; a feisty addition to the ranks of female sleuths %151; can help prove his innocence.

Battling her own demons, past and present, Rita must jeopardize all she holds dear before she can get Morell off the hook and bring the real killer to justice.

Spinning the narrative from both perspectives, Morell and Rita keep their deepest secrets hidden from each other until the final terrifying end. Final Acts, Abella's latest tale of murder, mystery, and the occult, is sure to make any reader an instant fan.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The rites and rituals of Santeria as seen through a thriller lens lay a gory groundwork in Abella's (The Killing of the Saints; Dead of Night) latest, once again starring lawyer/ author/private investigator Charlie Morell. Picking up where Dead of Night left off, when Morell's own Santeria beliefs result in his arrest for two brutal cult murders in Los Angeles and Alameda, this novel begins as Morell turns to Latina lawyer Rita Carr to mount his defense. Carr is skeptical when her client claims to be the victim of a massive conspiracy involving the L.A. County prosecutor's office, but the theory gains credence when Carr and Morell learn that prosecuting DA Phil Fuentes was indeed part of a coverup surrounding the supposed suicide of state senator Tom Decker. Abella employs an awkward technique, alternating Carr's Philip Marlowesque first-person narrative with the story Morell is writing of his own case as events ensue. He does little to flesh out a very thin plot, jumping into the murder scene without providing sufficient background on either Morell or the Santeria cult. The role of the cult remains largely undeveloped through most of the narrative, but Morell is given numerous opportunities to spout a peculiar spiritual psychobabble that slows down the plot and adds little to the story. Carr's engaging character is never fleshed out, and the appearance of a demonic cat burglar in her apartment provides a slapdash resolution to the book, which should satisfy the author's fans but won't do much to broaden his reader base. Agent, Joseph Regal, Russell & Volkening. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Abella rounds out his murder-and-legal-intrigue-cum-santería-horror trilogy (The Killing of the Saints, 1991; Dead of Night, 1998) with more, much more, of the same. When last spotted, Cuban-American lawyer Carlos Morell was bravely quaking as his vindictive half-brother Ricardo Díaz vowed revenge for Charlie's part in bringing him and his santería cult down. Now Díaz is six feet under, but it's not deep enough to save Charlie, who's under indictment for a series of ritual killings he'd swear have Díaz's signature on them. While cops in Oakland and L.A. dicker about who's going to get the honor of locking him up, Charlie hires Mexican-Irish ex-public defender Rita Carr to conduct his defense. The West Hollywood lawyer, who loves salsa dancing and her father the judge, is such a transparent figure of fantasy that she fits right in with Charlie's crazy alternative universe—a universe Abella can't resist revisiting one more time by providing generous excerpts from the "novel" Charlie's writing about his most recent woes, especially his trip to Cuba to haul back the real perp, untouchable record-company executive Max Prado. Even if Prado admitted his guilt, though, there's no way to extradite him back to the Bay Area, where Charlie's son Julian is waiting, only too eager to denounce his dad to the police and testify as a prosecution witness against him. Rita's determination to tie the killings in to the suicide of a former state senator and a long-extinct sacrificial sect sets the stage for a surprisingly tense courtroom duel, followed by a climax that makes the rest of this wild, wooly tale look positively decorous. It's hard to imagine who thetargetaudience for this farrago is—sensationalists who don't have enough time to make separate trips to the supernatural horror and courtroom drama shelves?—but Abella pours on enough satanic conspiracy theories to sate them all. Ballantine, David CHALK'S WOMAN Forge (288 pp.) Dec. 2000

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684859897
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
12/01/2000
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.45(h) x 0.90(d)

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