Reece Hirsch employs a confident narrator’s voice to draw in the reader in this, his debut mystery novel. What seems to be a nice change of pace with opening scenes devoid of terror, soon shifts as a startling event culminates in a gruesome death.
The main character is Will Connelly, an aspiring fourth-year associate with a prestigious San Francisco law firm. Will’s gullibility may be alarming to the reader. He has a very promising future with the firm; however, for a fellow being considered for an equity partnership, Will’s short on street smarts. Perhaps that failing can be attributed to four 2,400 plus billable hour years? His dedication to work has left him without a steady girlfriend. Will’s decision to go out and, on a whim, fall into a barroom pickup may just be a way to let off steam. Questionable actions like this create not-so-subtle plot turns and complications.
The shifting story tempo continues as two Russian gangster-wannabes and the negotiations for a super-big Silicone Valley acquisition vie for the reader’s attention. The notions of lurking threats, pain and criminal charges keep Will off-balance for the duration of the story.
Hirsch makes the city of San Francisco serve as the backdrop for the book’s action. A trip to Silicone Valley and an outing on the bay round out the list of locations visited. There is rarely a moment of downtime as the plot ensnares more characters. Ironically, the Russian gangsters and the attorneys are portrayed as complex folks who want to climb the ladder of success and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
“With his immaculate gray suit and perfectly coiffed salt-and-pepper hair, he looked as if he had been genetically engineered to make board presentations.”
The Insider joins a group of this reviewer’s favorite novels that make San Francisco their home. The other two books are Death in North Beach by Ronald Tierney and Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens.
This book is highly recommended as an entertaining Grisham-like look at the pressures of corporate law practice. Let’s hope most mergers and acquisitions are not as painful!
This review was written by Ruta Arellano. A review copy was provided by the author.