As long-time readers know, a book is definitely a great way to relax, but it doesn’t mean that the book itself has to be so dull and watered down that it literally relaxes you into a nap (that’s what law textbooks are for). It takes skill for a writer to perfect the blend of accessibility (which will prevent the reader from becoming discouraged and never finishing the book) and intrigue that will keep the reader guessing until the very end, his neurons palpitating while his frame relaxes into a comfortable sofa.
It’s a skill that John F. Dobbyn demonstrates in his new book, Frame-up. From the very first page, this legal thriller drags the reader into a world of lawyers and their mob-linked clients and keeps him there until the very last of its 278 pages.
Michael Knight of Devlin & Knight is a young criminal defense lawyer. His best friend, John McKedrick, is murdered in a car bombing that bears the signature of the mob. It seems like John McKedrick’s career path, meant to fast-track him to success, did anything but.
Michael’s partner and mentor, Mr. Devlin, becomes involved when the son of his childhood friend becomes accused of the murder. But Dominic Santangelo knows his son Peter had nothing to do with John McKedrick’s murder, and seeks legal council from Michael & Mr. Devlin. And the games begin – all this in the first twenty pages of Frame-up. And from then on, the action rarely (if ever) lets go.
John F. Dobbyn is as relentless an author as Michael Knight is relentless as a lawyer. The story grabbed me from the very first page and kept me guessing until the very end. There were some parts that were a little obvious, and others that seemed a little cliché, but it all made for a very realistic story; after all, life itself can be both quite obvious at time and quite cliché at others.
Frame-up (published by Oceanview Publishing) can be a little challenging to read at times. John F. Dobbyn writes in the language of those in know; so while the book is well-written, it can be something of a challenge for those who are either not lawyers or who are not in the habit of reading legal thrillers. It isn’t a surprise, since John F. Dobbyn is actually Professor Dobbyn of the Villanova Law School (since 1969). And while this can make for a challenging read, it ultimately adds to the story by delightfully stimulating one’s neurons – especially if you are reading in bed after a long, tough day.