Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, including the Harry Tate series, the Lucas Rocco series and the Marc Portman series. His latest books are ‘The Locker’ (Midnight Ink - Feb 2016) the first in a new thriller series, and ‘Hard Cover’ (Severn House - March 2016), the third of his Marc Portman novels.
For Rich Mauro, working as an ‘invisible’ in the print room of Olmstead & Taft, one of New York’s most prestigious law firms is a huge step up from working on a building site. Helped by his Uncle Jimmy, who brought him up following his parents’ death in a boating accident, and legendary litigator Max Seymour, who feels he owes Rich a debt of honour after he failed to win a compensation case that would have supported him growing up, he sees himself as one day joining the members on the hallowed upper floors of the building. Then he‘ll be able to marry his girlfriend Elyse, and prove to her snooty parents that he is worthy of her.
For now, though, he has to do the equivalent of ‘grunt’ work, running documents up and down in the elevator for the lawyers, while studying at night school.
With him in the basement hideaway are the other ‘invisibles’, Dylan Rodriguez, a reformed gang leader, ‘Vice’ Green, trying to bring up eight brothers and sisters on his paycheck, and Eddie Pisorchek, written off as a ‘retard’, but a wizard when it comes to working the print machines. All Eddie ever wanted to do was go to Disney World.
Then Rich meets feckless young lawyer Jason Spade, son of one of the senior partners of Olmstead & Taft. And Jason has a proposal about a scam that will make them very wealthy indeed. But it means stealing information provided by the firm they work for, and using it to do ‘insider’ deals.
It’s no secret (because the author tells us on the first page) that this will not end well. And it’s not merely Rich and Spade involved in the scam; the other basement worker bees have to be involved, too, each one of them having a secret number of digits which have to be fed in to make the thing work.
It’s all ridiculously easy, and in no time the invisibles are rolling in money, albeit quietly – for the most part. Now this should have everyone running for the hills. But people get greedy, and none more so than Jason Spade, who has a serious drug problem.
I won’t give away any more information, save to say that this story is one of human wickedness and lust for money, but undershadowed (if I may use that word) by good intentions. That’s not to say what they do is admirable or even worthy – it isn’t. But the characters each have a side to their nature which almost has you wishing they might get away with their crime.
All except Jason Spade, that is, who right from the start is clearly a bad egg of the worst kind.
I enjoyed this greatly (even after the warning on the first page). The characters are very well drawn yet never overdone, especially ‘Vice’ Green and Dylan Rodriguez, whom you feel do not deserve this horrible hand fate had dealt them. And Eddie, who could have been written as a cardboard cut-out savant in less skillful hands, is a real presence.
Tense, colourful and full of surprises, this is a great read.