cover image Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf

Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf

Lawrence Block. Subterranean (, $30 (216p) ISBN 978-1-59606-667-0

The clients of Mephistophelean DA Martin Ehrengraf are always innocent, even when they recall committing murder, as shown in this collection of 12 dark, twisted tales from MWA Grand Master Block (Catch and Release). The urbane lawyer charges only if clients are exonerated—and they always are, though his hand is seldom seen. Apparent crimes of passion prove to be serial killings in “The Ehrengraf Defense,” which introduces the tie he wears to celebrate victories. Clients who try to renege on payment discover he’s a dangerous ally whose sinister ingenuity works as effectively against as for them, as miserly Millard Ravenstock learns in “The Ehrengraf Settlement.” In “The Ehrengraf Obligation,” the attorney represents penniless poet William Telliford, whose work he admires, but when freedom diminishes William’s creative output, the poet finds himself back in prison for murder. While Ehrengraf initially seems amoral, he follows his own code, far from socially sanctioned mores but sacred to him. Sophisticated, surprising, charming, and relentless, he’s a compelling antihero. (Sept.)