Monday, July 11, 2011

Trader of Secrets - Steve Martini

I enjoy a good legal thriller and Steve Martini has always been on my list of legal authors. I really enjoy his recurring character Paul Madriani. The last book I had read by Martini was 2008's Shadow of Power.

So, I was looking forward to Martini's latest, Trader of Secrets. But.....I felt lost from the get go. This book is essentially the third book to focus on the hunt for Liquida Meuerte - also know as the Mexicutioner. Unfortunately I had not read the previous two and flounder for the first part of the book.
I'm not sure what it is lately. Really good legal/courtroom authors are taking their characters off on tangents that are, quite frankly, somewhat unbelievable.

Liquida is after Paul's daughter Sarah. She is in hiding with Paul's partner and investigator. She stupidly ( and I say stupid, because this is an educated woman who is an attorney's daughter and duh - she's under armed guard) slips out to go for a morning run, bypassing the security. Liquida makes contact but escapes without Sarah. Paul, his companion and also lawyer Joselyn and Harry head out on a world wide (Bangkok and Paris) search to track Liquida down. Hmm, with the FBI's knowledge - they'll keep an eye and see what plays out. ??? Liquida is also the enforcer for a covert group holding two NASA scientists hostage for a foreign government who wants their knowledge for their own country. So - the FBI is letting a defense attorney track down one of their most wanted assassins and muddle in an international terrorist investigation?

Hello... this is a defense attorney. I really couldn't buy into this improbable scenario. Sarah - well, she was just downright annoying. Her dumb bunny antics continue throughout the story, with her letting pertinent details out to a man who shows interest in her. And she's bored being in protective custody. Joselyn - I'm not sure if Martini is trying too hard to make her dialogue somewhat comedic, but it fell flat. The only characters I like are the ever reliable Harry Hinds and investigator Herman Diggs.

I chose to listen to this book in audio format. Dan Woren was the narrator and did  a good job. He conveyed the action with his voice and did a passing job of the accents. Try as he might, there's no way to make Joselyn sound anything but insipid. (The name Liquida sounded quite ominous when listening to the book. Upon looking at the hardcover to confirm spelling all I could think of was dish soap....)

Read an excerpt of Trader of Secrets. Or listen to an excerpt.

Please Mr. Martini, put Paul back in the courtroom. So I can put you back on my list.....


bermudaonion said...

It sounds like this series needs to be read in order. I've never tried Martini's work and won't start with this one.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Haha I've always wanted an attorney to weigh in on one of these. Thanks for the review!