A GREATER EVIL - Natasha Cooper
A GREATER EVIL is the eight book in the series feature Trish Maguire - barrister and a bit of a champion of the underdog. In this book she takes on the challenge of proving one-time client (as a badly abused child) Sam Foundling didn't kill his pregnant wife Cecilia. Co-incidentally, Sam is one of Trish's favourite sculptors, long before she connected him with the child she had defended many years before (surname change on his part). Cecilia, co-incidentally has been working with Trish on an insurance case involving the iconic, but structurally faulty Arrow Building. Cecilia is, co-incidentally, the daughter of the judge that Trish most admires. On the day that Cecilia is found brutally beaten in her husband's studio, Sam had actually been visiting Trish to ask for advice about letters he has been receiving supposedly from the mother who abandoned him years before. In another co-incidence the case is investigated by Trish's best friend - Caro, who only finds out about Trish's involvement when she sees who is providing Sam's main alibi.
Now given all these co-incidences you'd be forgiven for wondering what on earth is going on, but interestingly most of it rolls by as the story gets moving. It's probably an indication that the writing is good, because the co-incidences can also be read as connections - everybody in this story has a connection to everybody else - right down to Trish and her long-time lover George who also finds himself involved via the Arrow Building case. Ultimately the case comes down to the police believing that Sam killed his wife, whilst Trish is initially not convinced. There's always the possibility that there is a connection between Cecilia - a loss adjuster, and the case involving the Arrow Building.
To like A GREATER EVIL you are really going to have to like Trish, or at least understand what motivates Trish as she is very much the central character. A lot of the actions, and behaviours of the other characters are filtered through her view. The book is a written in a very flowing style, and is not particularly fast paced or tense, and there are some elements which are a bit thrown away / under-explained. There's a surprisingly adversarial stance between Trish and Caro who are supposed to be such good friends. The connections / co-incidences also give the book a closed in / almost small village feeling in some ways - the interweaving of everybody and everything sort of shuts down the possibility of an outsider invading this "place". The author is quoted (and I'm paraphrasing) as being very interested in the why as opposed to the how of people's motivations and that's definitely explored in A GREATER EVIL.
Can you ever trust anyone, however much you care about them?" ""Things aren't always what they seem . . ." " "In the eighth Trish Maguire novel, Abandoned as a baby and brutalised in care, sculptor Sam Foundling is the obvious suspect when his wife Cecelia is found beaten to death in his studio. Trish, who Maguire acted as his barristerfor him years ago, when he was an abandoned child being brutalised in care. She saved him then, but trying to protecting him b hopes he didn't do it. Her campaign for him, now will brings her up against DCI Caro Lyalt, the senior investigating officer . . . and her own best friend. Evidence against Sam mounts up. Cecilia's powerful mother is pressing for his arrest. The police hierarchy want him charged for the brutal murder. If Trish is to save his sanity, and her own, she must unlock the secret offind out exactly what happened in the studio that morning, and time is running out . . .