When up and coming lawyer Eddie Flynn is invited onto the defence team for the hottest celebrity murder trial of the century, he is initially sceptical. It doesn’t take long, however, before he is swept up by the intrigue of the case that has captured the attention of the world. The more Bobby Solomon professes his innocence, the quicker Eddie realises there is much more to this case than meets the eye. What Eddie doesn’t realise is that he’s being closely watched by the murderer himself… does he have what it takes to outsmart the most cunning serial killer New York has seen in decades and save an innocent man from his doomed fate?

It’s been a long time since I’ve given a thriller a five-star review, but it’s impossible not to get caught up in this book. Everything about Thirteen is incredibly far-fetched almost to the point of ridiculousness (and yes, I’ll grant that there are some moments where you have to suspend disbelief) but Steve Cavanagh has woven this story so cleverly it’s impossible to second guess him. Cavanagh’s personal history as a solicitor certainly shines through, and the court scenes made for some of the most enthralling and gripping moments in the story. I was utterly hooked.

The premise of Thirteen is ingenious. With the tag line “the serial killer isn’t on trial… he’s on the jury” plastered on the front cover, I feared the main hook had been revealed before I’d even started reading. This is very much not the case, and there are plenty of shocking twists that I didn’t see coming at all.

I only have a couple of issues with Thirteen, and they’re nothing serious enough to knock a star off the total rating (the thrill factor very much outweighs these minor issues). My main gripe is that the narrative is occasionally a little confusing to follow, especially for the first 100 pages when lots of named characters who don’t end up being relevant later are introduced. I often found myself having to reread sections to really solidify what was happening. As I said, very minor issue in the grand scheme of things!

Though Thirteen is the fourth book in a series of novels about Eddie Flynn, it actually works incredibly well as a standalone. In fact, I had no idea it was part of a series until I had nearly finished the book. I certainly feel driven to go back and start this series from the very beginning. If this book is anything to go by, I’m in for an absolute treat!

Trigger warnings: murder, mention of rape, divorce, police brutality and corruption

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