Author: Steve Cavanagh
Published: February 25th 2020
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery
Rating: 3.5 stars
Two sisters on trial for murder.
Both accuse each other.Who do YOU believe?The new novel from the bestselling author of THIRTEEN and TWISTED, Steve Cavanagh.
Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?
‘911 what’s your emergency?’
‘My dad’s dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’
‘My dad’s dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’
One of them is a liar and a killer.
But which one?
‘Most killers I’d come across I could make a stab at some kind of explanation for their behavior. Something in their past or their psychology that held the key to their reasoning and criminal behavior. I was always able to rationalize it.
This time, there was no easy explanation. No key.
This one I couldn’t rationalize. Not really. There was something dark at the heart of this case.
Practicing civil rights lawyer and crime writer Steve Cavanagh presents a thrilling new courtroom drama in Fifty-Fifty. A vicious murder, two estranged sisters, one liar, innocent party and a challenged jury, make for a scintillating crime mystery in Fifty-Fifty.
Sisters Alexandra and Sofia Avellino are estranged when they discover the body of their father, who has been viciously murdered. The sisters each accuse the other for this brutal murder, which sends the authorities into a state of disarray. When the two women face the courtroom for their trial, one jury is charged with the task of deciding which of the two sisters is guilty. It is unclear which of the two is the victim in all of this and which one is blatantly lying. Fifty-Fifty presents an unusual trial of epic proportions.
I haven’t managed to read any of Belfast born and raised Steve Cavanagh’s work prior to receiving this book for review. I did purchase one of his previous titles Thirteen, which won the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2019. Thirteen was also a Sunday Times top 10 bestseller. Sadly it has been gathering dust on my crowded bookshelves, but now I’ve been introduced to Cavanagh’s writing, I hope to retrieve Thirteen from my shelves soon. Anyhow, for those who are familiar with Cavanagh’s work, this is fifth novel featuring his enigmatic lead, Eddie Flynn. For those who are unfamiliar with this character and series, it is easy to step inside Cavanagh’s murder mystery.
The premise of Fifty-Fifty immediately sucked me right in, it was pretty explosive. Pitting two sisters against one another, with the lines of innocence and guilt blurred made for a perplexing, as well as unusual case. With the victim of this brutal murder being the father of these two women, who was stabbed over fifty times, made this case even more complex. When the case eventually makes its way into the courtroom, the lawyers charged with representing these two women are both convinced that their client is innocent. With one jury in control of the verdict, this is one absorbing case. I had no idea how Fifty-Fifty would pan out.
Cavanagh extends the tension level in his latest novel by including an unnamed point of view simply labelled as ‘She’ beside his leads, Eddie and Kate. This stretches the ambiguity of the whole case. The reader is kept in the dark for much of the proceedings of this novel, with a number of twists, a good dose pf psychological insight and a few clues thrown into the mix. The narrative is divided into five parts which chronicles the murder scene right through until one month after the verdict. The prose is defined by clear and consistent pacing, that didn’t lag at any point. The chapters are also sharp and to the point, encouraging the reader to turn page after page at high speed. I appreciated the extra narrative flourishes in the form of 911 transcripts and journal entries, which added to the guessing game scenario this book presented to the reader. This is such a cryptic case, that I couldn’t decipher the guilty party.
With fully fleshed out characters, with a focus on both Eddie, Kate, their respective teams and the supporting cast, Fifty-Fifty is one jam packed novel. It will keep you on your toes if you are a fan of the series, or a first timer. It really is a case of sitting back, strapping on your seatbelt and enjoy being taken for a wild legal ride, courtesy of thriller expert Steve Cavanagh.
Fifty-Fifty by Steve Cavanagh is published by Hachette Australia on February 25th 2020. $32.99.
To learn more about the author of Fifty-Fifty, Steve Cavanagh, visit here.
*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.
*Book #3 of the 2020 International Male Author Challenge.