cover image The Best Friend

The Best Friend

Adam Mitzner. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (338p) ISBN 978-1-542005-75-3

Mitzner’s middling third Broden legal thriller (after 2018’s Never Goodbye) opens in 1986 when lawyer Clint Broden’s best friend, Nicky Zamora, calls with the shocking news that his new bride, Carolyn McDermott, has drowned in the bathtub of their Mount Vernon, N.Y., home. The police investigation uncovers evidence that Zamora was having an affair and is the beneficiary of a significant life insurance policy on his wife. Despite the personal connection, Broden acts as Zamora’s defense attorney in his friend’s subsequent murder trial, which, thanks to Broden’s advocacy, ends in an acquittal. Flash forward to 2020, when Broden must again come to his friend’s legal defense. Mitzner does nothing of note with his lead’s struggle with what he wants to believe about Zamora and with what the evidence shows. Sloppiness about legal matters (a defendant’s waiver of his right to testify at trial isn’t the only time he’s directly questioned by the judge presiding over his case) doesn’t help. Mitzner does a better job in his standalones of combining courtroom drama and whodunits. [em]Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) [/em]