If you haven’t already read Contempt by Michael Cordell, then you must put this book at the top of your reading wish list. You most certainly won’t be disappointed, you’ll just be left wanting to read more of the same exceptional writing.
Michael Cordell is a novelist and playwright, who has had screenplays produced in Hollywood, which included an action style thriller called ‘Beeper’ that starred actors Harvey Keitel and Joey Lauren Adams back in 2002.
This courtroom thriller was published in July 2020 and I was kindly gifted an ebook version by publishers TCK Publishing in exchange for providing an honest review, so read on for my review of the book.
I have to say, I was gripped during the first few pages and definitely intrigued immediately.
The story begins with a courtroom hearing. The main character Thane Banning has been wrongfully imprisoned on death row for a murder he did not commit 5 years ago. During his time in prison he has been gathering information about his original court case and has found a few misdemeanours which resulted in his original arrest and imprisonment.
The first few chapters set the scene of how Thane is willing to literally “fight for his life” to get himself set free and prove his innocence. When he is finally let off on a technicality, the Los Angeles DA’s office, in particular Bradford Stone who was the original prosecutor, suffers a huge embarrassment.
After Thane is released, he tries to return to his previous life with his wife Hannah and his old job. But after 5 years apart, his marriage is different and so are his views towards his highly paid property lawyer’s profession.
Thane is not only threatened by the father of the lady he was accused of killing, but also by disgruntled members of the public as Thane tries to regain his old identity and life.
However, when an old inmate Scotty “Skunk” Burns gets wrongfully accused of burglary and murder, Thane decides that he must help him, Thane quits his job with the real estate law firm and becomes a defence lawyer for Skunk.
This is where the story really gets intriguing. I don’t want to put too many spoilers in this review, but needless to say Thane’s morals and principles for standing up for justice and wrongful accusations, especially to those underdogs who can’t always afford or are given the same privileges as some affluent people is a refreshing change.
I found that this story, with its’ many twists and turns, constantly put questions in my head about the way the plot would develop. I thought the way that the links between Skunks case and Thane’s original case were casually thrown in was both exciting and enthralling.
The twist at the end of this story is both compelling and satisfying. I actually chuckled to myself as I read the last few pages when the clarity of how Thane Banning had actually manipulated the case from the beginning. So very clever.
Overall, Contempt is a very well written book and one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. On the basis of this book, I must say that I can’t wait to read another Michael Cordell book in the future.