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Tuesday, 3 December 2019

‘Marked for Death’ by Tony Kent

Published by Elliott & Thompson,
25 July 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-78396-449-9

A former Lord Chief Justice, holder of one of the highest judicial offices in the land, is crucified and mutilated in his own home. And then retired solicitor Adam Blunt is killed in the same way. Is there a link between the two murders? To find that out is the task of Chief Inspector Joelle Levy. And then Joelle finds herself being called to work on another case, this time a gangland massacre; we know, although Joelle does not, that this is also the work of the perpetrator of the other murders. 

And in a parallel narrative, 21-year-old Simon Kash has been charged with the murder of the Galloway brothers. But there is another defendant, Darren O’Driscoll, charged with the same offence and because there are two defendants, not to mention elements of revenge, low-level organised crime, and the possibility of a ‘cut-throat defence’ (when two defendants accuse each other) it has been decided that the barrister defending Kash should be a ‘silk’, a barrister of senior standing, rather than the older experienced barrister previously retained. But at the personal level there is a complication: the older barrister is Derek Reid while his replacement is Michael Devlin, and Reid had been Devlin’s pupil master during the latter’s pupillage – a form of practical training after passing the Bar exams. However, Reid has a generous nature and bears no resentment against Devlin and he speaks very highly of the junior, Jenny Draper, who has also been assigned to the case. 

At first only the fact that Devlin’s fiancée, reporter Sarah Truman, is assigned to covering the murders of the Lord Chief Justice and Blunt links these narratives. But then a deep personal tragedy brings Devlin into the murder investigation and places his life and Sarah’s in the greatest danger.

The body count in these interlocking narratives is pretty high – I made it 16, including a number of policemen. That being so I did wonder how that it was that there was no intervention from eg politicians asking what on earth was going on. But it is a riveting story and the author first weaves together the tangled narratives and then expertly untangles them. And right at the end there is a surprising twist.
Reviewer: Radmila May 

Tony Kent grew up in a close-knit Irish family in London and studied law in Scotland. He is a top-ranking barrister and former champion boxer who brings a wealth of detail and personal insight to this unputdownable thriller. A regular at London's Old Bailey, Tony's case history includes prosecuting and defending many high-profile, nationally reported trials. Before his legal career, Tony boxed internationally as a heavyweight and won a host of national amateur titles. He is based in London.

Radmila May was born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology – and is now concentrating on her own writing.

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