Shadow of Power by Steve Martini (Review #3)

shadowReviewed by Allen Hott

Paul Madriani with his partner, Harry Hinds, is at it again. This time they are attempting to defend a guy who looks, beyond a shadow of doubt, to be guilty.

The police pick up Carl Arnsberg, an avowed white supremacist, after Terry Scarborough is found dead in his hotel room. Scarborough championed any cause that would get him notoriety and more headlines. His current cause had been the way that slavery was handled by our founding fathers.

Scarborough’s book, “Perpetual Slaves”, had been at the top of the bestseller list for some time and the amount of money that he was making from it was enormous. He had convinced his agent that he had a very incriminating letter that was only known as the “J letter” and it would be the stepping-stone to his next bigger best seller. The “J letter” supposedly spelled out how a trio of our most famous founding fathers managed to get slavery in this country but keeping the language necessary for that to happen in the new Constitution.

However Arnsberg or someone had stopped the possible second best seller by “hammering” Scarborough to death with in fact a claw hammer. Not with just one or two blows but forensics proved more than ten blows were made to the back of his head. Through some hurried investigating, which was not too thorough, the police arrest Arnsberg. As an employee of the hotel, he had access not only to the room but also to the hammer. His prints were found on the hammer, footprints in the blood on the floor, and his clothes/shoes had blood on them. And most of all he is definitely against blacks!

But Madriani, who is a friend of Arnsberg’s father, believes Arnsberg’s alibi and he also feels that there are other details missed by the police. He and his partner take on the case and come up against Bob Tuchio, who is the District Attorney and will be their adversary in the court battle.

The author then uses the court scene as the scene for the rest of the story. The dialogue between the attorneys and those on the witness stand is very well written and makes the book even more interesting. The testimony and dealings between the attorneys and the judge are interrupted occasionally by happenings outside the courtroom. Needless to say that all of these happenings are tied to the story and well written in by Mr. Martini.

Of special interest is the way that the “J Letter” is brought into the telling. Not only is it critical but also the fact that a member of the U.S. Supreme Court is also involved in the whole situation adds to the plot. Madriani is able to continue his searching for the truth but it takes he and his associates many hours and many miles to finally solve the crime.

Another one of Martini’s interesting reads which makes the reader already looking for the next one that involves Paul Madriani! Well done!

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