Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg

Morning radio superstar Kevin Brace's newspaper carrier turns up one morning to find his customer with blood on his hands. Brace's common-law partner is dead in the bathtub and Brace immediately confesses to killing her. What seems like an open-and-shut murder case becomes more complex and confusing as the police and lawyers investigate Brace's life. A long list of unanswered questions is raised, keeping the reader guessing almost to the very end of the story. Why won't Kevin Brace speak to his lawyer? Why were Brace's ex-wife's fingerprints found on a lucrative but as-yet unsigned contract for a new radio program? What are the murder victim's parents hiding? How did it affect the Brace family when their severely autistic son was taken in by family services as a child?

Thanks to my friend Deborah who has started her own book blog, I found out about this debut crime novel by an experienced criminal lawyer in Toronto. I may live in Vancouver now, but I grew up in the Toronto area and so it was great to read a novel set there and featuring so many intimate details of the city, its landmarks and surroundings. The author's unique knowledge of the inner workings of the criminal justice system help to give this book a lot of fascinating detail and authenticity (well, except for the part where the Leafs win the Stanley Cup, pushing this mystery novel dangerously close to fantasy fiction territory... ha ha!) I look forward to more of Rotenberg's novels!

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