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The Enemy Inside (Paul Madriani) by Steve Martini
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
William Morrow Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062328953
Date: 29 December 2015 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Take two San Diego criminal Defense attorneys and tie them to the defense of a drunk driver who has absolutely no memory of the accident and you have The Enemy Inside by Steve Martini. The plot is complex, includes high-placed government officials, advanced technologies, and off-shore bank accounts.

The Enemy Inside is the next novel in the Paul Madriani series by Steve Martini. Madriani and his partner, Harry Hinds are lawyers in a criminal defense firm in San Diego. Business has been slow as of late, and Madriani and Hinds accept a case to defend a young man, Alex Ives, who is charged with drunk driving in a fatal accident.

Very quickly, the facts of the accident do not add up. All Ives can remember is being invited to a fancy party by a hot young woman whom he had just met, and after he got to the party and had one drink, the next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital after the accident. In addition, Ives' toxicity screening comes up negative for alcohol and drugs.

As the lawyers investigate, they find out that Ives worked for a blog (thatís more or less an on-line newspaper for my fellow readers over 50), and the accident victim was one of his contacts for a story. Ives was working on a story about suspicious accounts in off-shore banks, and as Madriani and Hinds start to investigate his contacts, all of them mysteriously end up dead.

The story has two villains, which at times gets confusing. The first is a man whose name is not revealed until late in the story. The reader knows him only as, "The Eagle" based on the silver eagle on the top of his cane. The Eagle is extorting Maya Grimes, a US Senator, and using her to advance his agenda, but Grimes also has financial connections with the woman killed in the accident and that connection is related to off-shore accounts. The reader finds out very quickly that The Eagle and Grimes are also somehow complicit in the accident, but not very many of the details.

The second villain is a young European woman, Anna Agirre. She always excelled in science in school, and eventually worked in a Paris crime lab where she learned and refined her forensic skills. Eventually Anna went out on her own as a high-class killer for hire. She's worked for governments and large corporations as her forensic skills made her very valuable. Anna owned an electronic device that is able to hack into a control system of a car and take over the vehicle and crash it. The reader is not sure whether or not the device was used in the accident with the driver, but the clues start to add up.

I enjoyed reading The Enemy Inside and I have been a Paul Madriani fan for years. The storytelling style reminds me of a 1950s Humphrey Bogart movie. Lots of characters and plots are moving around and overlap here and there, but in the end, the hypothetical Humphrey Bogart ties all the clues together, including the two villains, and closes the story.

The novel also provides a great lesson in how off-shore accounts work and postulates many illegal and unethical dealings with powerful American citizens and corporations.

Madriani is as close to a super hero as any human can be. For working in a profession that is associated with spineless and pasty-skinned men, Madriani lives a very eventful life. He is frequently pursued by people with questionable morals and frequently opens his mouth with a wise-crack comment when he really should not say anything. All of Madriani's and Hinds' adventures in Martini's previous novels attest to this fact. No prior knowledge of the characters is needed to thoroughly enjoy The Enemy Inside. I recommend it and I can't wait for the next one in the series.

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