September 1, 2011

4 out of 5 stars for Black Diamond by John F. Dobbyn

Black DiamondBlack Diamond by John F. Dobbyn

A smart Boston lawyer gets pulled into the underworld of crime, murder, and horse race fixing in the United States and spanning over the ocean into Ireland.

Michael Knight is a young, smart Boston lawyer who witnesses his friend Danny's fall off a horse named Black Diamond in a race at a race track that is more like a second home to him. Dobbyn skillfully weaves back story into this novel that illuminates why Michael and his friend Danny are involved with the track and how they both succeeded in life despite some pretty bad odds. Unfortunately, Mike's friend Danny dies as a result of the fall and the rider who is accused of his murder comes to Mike's office seeking legal assistance. Michael debates in his heart whether he should represent this person or not. When Michael wades into the waters of his initial investigation, he finds himself immersed in the dangerous world of organized crime - the Irish mob in Boston and a leftover splinter group of the IRA in Ireland.

Dobbyn wrote this novel in the first person so seamlessly that I didn't really notice point of view all that much - I was so drawn into the story. His back story for Michael and Danny is so well done that I barely noticed transitions into the past. I did have to suspend belief quite a bit when Michael ended up going undercover. It seemed highly unrealistic that he would do so, especially when he had a group of skilled investigators that he could have used. A couple times in the third quarter of this novel I took a mental step back and said, "what?!" That is quite literally the only reason this book is a four star, rather than a five star. Dobbyn exhibited enough skill to keep me up past my bedtime reading to the last page.


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