Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reckless Disregard by Robert Rotstein

When a notorious and anonymous video game designer's latest creation accuses a big-time Hollywood mogul of murder, it stirs up a hornet's nest of trouble that's been decades in the making. The mogul, William Bishop - aka William the Conqueror - is not one to stand idly by and watch his "good" name get dragged through the gutter. Nope. He hires the law office of Louis Frantz to represent him in a libel lawsuit against the game designer known as Poniard. And Poniard, well he wants none other that Parker Stern to be his defender. Problem is, Parker still hasn't overcome his debilitating stage fright. And yet, Parker agrees to take the case after all. 

In the game, a character based on actress Felicity McGrath appeals to players to solve her disappearance. Poniard believes Bishop is responsible and intends for the game to be used as a modern day investigation. As Parker investigates his client's claims, it becomes apparent that this is more than the paranoid delusions of a game addicted youthful mind. As the case progresses to court, threats become all out violence and Parker loses one of his own. Now there's no way a little thing like stage fright will keep him from going up against Frantz and Bishop!

When I reviewed last year's Corrupt Practices I didn't know quite what to expect. I knew Rotstein's debut was a legal thriller and I knew that Sue Grafton, one of my favorite authors, blurbed it as being "...a terrific book..." and that was enough to get me curious. I'm not a HUGE fan of legal thrillers, something I've admitted here in the past. I can blame it on an overabundance of lackluster reads in the sub genre too early in my reading career. And yet I'm well aware that beyond the disappointing ones, there have been quite a few legal thrillers by quite a few authors that I've quite enjoyed (quite!). Authors like Michelle Martinez and Lisa Scottoline, for example, and thanks to his fabulous debut, Robert Rotstein, have opened me up a bit more to the sub genre. All that's to say is that I was definitely looking forward to returning to Parker Stern and Reckless Disregard.

One of the things I find so unique about this series is Parker himself (yeah, we should be able to say that about every book, but it's not always the case). Parker has a twisted and interesting past: one time child star who's shed that image and tries to keep all connections between Parky and Parker nonexistent. His mother is a high up with a very well connected Hollywood based cult, and we learned more than a few details about just how nasty they were in Corrupt Practices.

Parker's involvement in this new case also leaves his Parky persona potentially up for discovery and pits him once again against the Church of the Sanctified Assembly as the cold case of Felicity's disappearance begins to connect to an old film seemingly scrubbed from everyone's memory (one Parky apparently made an appearance in).

Of course Parker's involvement also places him in danger as it becomes ever clearer that whoever is behind the disappearance of Felicity McGrath is willing to do whatever it takes to avoid discovery.

Rotstein's latest followed right in the footsteps of Corrupt Practices with an equally engaging and smart mystery and continued growth of Parker and the characters around him as well. Rotstein's series is perfect for fans who enjoy darker thrillers, whether they be of the legal vein or not :)

Rating: 4/5

(Don't forget, you can still enter to win a copy of Reckless Disregard through and of day June 8 - and you can read an excerpt here.)

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