Michael's Reviews > Double Tap

Double Tap by Steve Martini
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's review
Jun 25, 08

Read in June, 2008

This is a legal thriller that rolls along well and is set up nicely for a fantastic ending. A wealthy CEO of a tech company repsonsible for critical Dept. of Defense software is killed by a professional gun shot by someone who knew where to find the gun and who was trained in shooting twice in rapid succession to make sure the target went down (whence the "double tap"). The cops arrest and charge the natural suspect: a former member of the CEO's security group to whom the gun belonged, with whom the CEO had had a slightly beyond professional relationship, and who had recently been seen following her around.

Enter Paul Madriani, attorney extraordinaire, to investigate the situation and clean up the mess. What follows is good courtroom drama that I (as an attorney myself) appreciate. It's tough to do well. And though Martini at times tosses out information before forgetting that he has given you no basis for understanding what the information means, and then going back and trying to clean it up, for the most part the story flows smoothly along towards what is an eagerly-awaited climax.

The problem for me is the payoff. Now, I won't give anything away here, but I found the revelation of the CEO's killer to be a huge anticlimax and, infinitely worse, simply implausible on the information given to us during the buildup and even after the author's lame attempt to explain how everything ties in. I love a good thriller, but it comes with a risk: whether or not the ending will reward the reader for his ride through all of the buildup. Alas, despite the good courtroom drama, the ending of this one did not. Add to that some unanswered question and some guns left unfired on the mantle (see Chekhov), and you have yourself a two-star disappointment.
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