David Myles Robinson is a wonderful writer who is able to create intricate stories while remaining accurate in his depictions of legal process and courtroom scenes. This is a rare talent that he puts again on display in his latest Pancho McMartin yarn, Tropical Deception. This is my second dive into this series and I love the carousel of colorful characters he brings to the table (or the Hawaii beach). This is recommended reading for fans of legal mysteries and particularly for lawyers who generally hate what authors do to the law in their fiction. This is enjoyable.
In this story, Pancho is hired by an arrogant businessman who is accused of killing his wife. The husband’s gun was the murder weapon, the wife was having an affair with the dead man, and the husband has no alibi. Tough case. There is also a $200 million real estate development, which the dead man (another lawyer) was trying to halt for environmental reasons. The court had just extended an injunction preventing the project from moving forward, but now the lawyer and plaintiff is dead. Everyone who had a financial interest in the project had a motive for murder, including some mob-connected investors from Las Vegas. There are several suspects with inter-woven relationships and motivations. This all makes for a lot that Pancho and his faithful investigator, Drew, have to track down before the trial. Will Pancho be able to find enough evidence to create a reasonable doubt?
At the same time, Pancho is dealing with a personal crisis. His father has had a stroke and Pancho travels to New Mexico to be with his mother. The emotions are raw and real as the family deals with the somber realities of aging and illness. It’s well-presented and woven well into the overall story.
Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that I was not entirely happy with the resolution of all the plot threads, although they are resolved. It’s unexpected, and I’ll give the author credit for creating a unique device that readers will not see coming. I would have given the book a 5-star rating at the 80% mark, but the not quite fully satisfying ending drops it down to 4.5-stars.
Overall, this is a quick and entertaining read that is definitely worth picking up. Mr. Robinson’s characters are worth caring about, and I’ll be looking forward to the next installment in their story.