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Book Talk: Cavanagh, ‘The Devil’s Advocate’

While they await the decision of Governor Patchett, District Attorney Randal Korn waits with Darius Robinson, who is to be executed in the electric chair. Korn says, “I’m innocent, and they all know it.” Patchett finally states that he’ll leave the decision up to the D.A. Korn enjoys watching Darius during the nine minutes it takes him to die. Enjoys it too much.


This is how Steve Cavanagh’s sixth book in the Eddie Flynn series begins. In “The Devil’s Advocate” (2021, 399 pages in paperback format), Eddie is in a partnership practice with Kate Brooks, his opponent in the trial that took place in the author’s fifth book in the series. Enter Alexander Berlin, one of those shadowy figures who seems to work for multiple triple-letter agencies of the U.S. government. He tells Eddie that Korn, D.A. of a small town in Alabama, seeks the death penalty as often as possible, always wins the case, and 20 percent of the inmates on death row were put there by Korn. Eddie asks, “You’re saying this guy, Korn, became a district attorney so that he could kill people?”


It is especially disconcerting that a hugely disproportionate number of executions originated with Korn and Judge Chandler, so Eddie and his best friend and consultant Harry Ford drive to Bucksville to take the case of Andy Dubois, a young black man who is accused of killing prom queen Skyler Edwards. When Eddie and Harry arrive in town, they find that there are no rooms available in the hotels, although they both have “VACANCY” signs posted. Also, the proprietor of the restaurant won’t serve them, and their cars’ tires have been slashed.

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