UNDERTOW
Sydney Bauer

 


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Pan Macmillan Australia: This edition September 2006
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Christina Haynes is from one of Boston’s most privileged families. Her father is Rudolph Haynes, a senior Senator for the state of Massachusetts, and her mother is from a blue-blood family. They both have expectations for their daughter. They expect her to mix with “her own”, attend an Ivy League college and eventually marry within their social circle. But Christina has her own ideas. Her best friend is an African-American girl named Teesha. Things end in tragedy when Christina drowns, defying her parents by sneaking out to spend the day boating with Teesha and Teesha’s mother, Rayna.

On the surface it’s a tragic accident, but the Senator is a vengeful man and he uses his influence to ensure that Rayna is charged with murder. His plan is aided by the ruthless Assistant District Attorney Roger (“The Kat”) Katz who will stop at nothing to get to the top.

Enter defense attorney David Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh has a compelling reason to take this case. The last time he came up against Katz his client committed suicide after a guilty verdict in a murder trial. Cavanaugh knows Katz withheld vital evidence which would have proved his client’s innocence, but he can’t prove it. Now with the forces of Katz and the Senator lined up against him Cavanaugh has to battle not only the legal system but opponents who will lie, threaten, blackmail and even kill to win. He encounters obstacles at every turn in his attempt to build a case to defend his client. As each day passes it looks bleaker for Rayna who is facing the rest of her life behind bars.

UNDERTOW is a little like a game of speed chess. There are moves and counter-moves as each side tries to manoeuvre themselves into a winning position. If some of the characters are just a little black and white and if there are a few minor plot points feel like they’re not completely finished, it doesn’t really matter because UNDERTOW is about non-stop action from go to whoa. You simply get on board and hang on for the ride.

UNDERTOW is just the thing if you are looking for some light entertainment that won’t strain your brain. It will, however keep you glued to your seat and saying to yourself, “just one more page and I’ll put the book down”. Perfect for holiday or travel reading.

Sep 2006 review originally published on Murder & Mayhem

 

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