A naïve lawyer escapes the venality of his former employers only to become entrenched in a murder case so horrifying that he nearly gets himself killed.
Zach Morgan is fed up with working beneath the corrupt law partners at Fleming, Fleming & White. After abruptly quitting his job, he creates his own firm and aims to accumulate enough money and clients so that he can establish himself as a powerful attorney, model husband and father. While Zach is setting up his new office, Oliver Pearce is being mercilessly tortured and bludgeoned to death in his own home. The two individuals have seemingly nothing in common. However, their stories become intertwined when Oliver’s brother, Andrew seeks Zach out for legal advice concerning his brother’s million-dollar savings. Over time, Zach comes to realize that the trial surrounding Oliver’s gruesome death is more crucial to the survival of his practice than he could have ever imagined. In no time at all, Zach finds himself caught in the middle of a twisted plot of greed and revenge.
THE CANDLE ROOM excels as a realistic example of how justice is carried out through the widely accepted, albeit flawed legal system. The scenes throughout the book involving the accused murderer and the prosecution poised to convict him are nearly flawless. One feels as if they are in the courtroom themselves, eagerly awaiting the verdict. As a character, Zach is intriguing in that his confidence in his abilities to assist in any legal case—whether it be property crime or a murder trial—is often feigned and brittle at best. The author’s background in handling property matters and civil litigation also helps prevent the novel from becoming a cliché battle of good versus evil. The final result is a riveting and authentic portrayal of how the justice system is sometimes shockingly unjust.
Furthermore, any legal jargon one would expect to become overwhelming throughout the novel is actually quite easy to comprehend. Unfortunately, the novel suffers from a lack of momentum. It is not until the final chapters that the climax of the story hits, and then it is a mad dash to a fairly abrupt finish. Arguably, the big reveal of Oliver’s killer is a bit predictable. In spite of these few shortcomings, the novel’s colorful characters and strong court scenes result in a thrilling mystery and an honest look at the inner machinations of the legal system.
THE CANDLE ROOM is a spellbinding legal thriller that unveils the twisted depths of the criminal mind while cleverly exposing the inadequacies within the American justice system.