The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Robert Dugoni can flat out write. I have no idea how good this book was when he wrote the first draft in 1996. But he's had twenty years to polish his craft and it shows here. The plot is intricate. The setting, characters and mystery are all intriguing and troubling. The prose is crisp and clear and engaging. There is a lot going on. But nothing is extraneous.
The setting is a seedy neighborhood in San Francisco thirty years ago. A boy is murdered in a flophouse run by a priest with a shady past. The priest discovers the body and the police immediately charge him with the crime. The evidence seems overwhelming. Almost as quickly, Peter Donley, a young lawyer working for his uncle, finds himself drafted as the priest's defense attorney, dropped into the deep end of the pool on his first criminal case when his uncle is sidelined with a heart attack. It would not be a wise career move for Donley to keep the case. But he finds himself drawn in and we are off on a harrowing ride.
And I mean harrowing. Dugoni is not kind to his characters. They come with complicated backstories and are weighed down with emotional baggage. The good guys make bad decisions. And the bad guys are the heroes of their own stories. There is cost for everything and the piper is always paid in full. This book is not for the squeamish. But I recommend it for readers that can handle it.
Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.
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