Final Judgment
by Clark, Marcia

After falling for an ambitious entrepreneur, defense attorney Samantha Brinkman is challenged to prove her lover innocent of murder when his alibi and past are thrown into question.

Criminal defense lawyer Samantha Brinkman thinks she's found the man for her in martial artist Niko Ferrell, until things go south. An investment company Niko had recommended to friends and family, including his single mother, admits that a major trade in cryptocurrency has gone bad, losing millions. Days later, Niko's mother, who had invested everything with the company, suffers a debilitating stroke, despite Niko's assurances that he will take care of her financially. Then one of the two company traders is found murdered from a martial-arts blow, and the other soon disappears. Sam, who occasionally operates outside the law, according to her own sense of justice, is firmly behind Niko even as police eye him as a suspect. However, as she delves more thoroughly into his background, she begins to question whether he is being honest with her. With its fast-moving plot and winning characters, this fourth entry in the Brinkman series will keep readers turning pages and rooting for Sam. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

A fourth case lends further support for Los Angeles defense attorney Samantha Brinkman's sage contention that "everyone looks like a killer to me." Niko Ferrell, Sam's current lover, is a world-renowned martial arts expert who could afford to drop the odd million on a bad investment. But his mother, Sophia Ferrell, is wiped out by the collapse of Gold Strike, LLC, an investment firm he'd urged her to put her life savings into. The news fells Sophia with a second stroke, and Niko goes looking for answers from his broker, Bryan Posner, and Bryan's partner, Tanner Handel. Predictably, each of them blames the other for the catastrophic cryptocurrency investment that sent Gold Strike and everyone who invested in it spiraling downward. The more closely Niko and Sam examine the case, the more it looks like a deliberate scam. Tanner's accusations against his partner seem to gain the edge when Bryan's found dead in his bathtub, but his death is no suicide: He's died of internal decapitation, a rarely occurring condition most closely associated with exactly the sort of martial arts Niko has long since mastered. Can Sam (Snap Judgm ent, 2017, etc.) safely assume that the man she loves is innocent? Tanner's disappearance makes Niko's position even more perilous, and the investigation Sam launches with Alex Medrano, her in-house private eye, bogs down in a series of conversations with defrauded investors, each of whom adds little or nothing to what they already know—until Tanner's sometime companion Angelina Poranova provides, not new evidence, but something even hotter: a request that they look into the abduction and rape of her kid sister, Eliza, as she left one of Angelina's world-class parties. This mystery adds some much-needed oomph to the flagging Gold Strike inquiries, especially once it entangles another man with close ties to Sam, and Clark succeeds in knitting the two cases together in a compelling though morally questionable way. The closing pages find the franchise heroine waiting with bated breath to learn whether she's been successful in compounding a felony. Vigilante justice runs rings around the system the heroine allegedly represents. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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