As the new Steve Martini book “Trader of Secrets” opens, everyone defense attorney Paul Madriani holds dear is in trouble.
His private investigator, Herman Diggs, lies suspended between life and death on a Washington, D.C., hospital bed.
His daughter, Sarah, is stashed with relatives on a farm in Ohio, supposedly hiding from the assassin who attacked Diggs. In reality, “Muerte Liquida” knows Sarah’s exact location and plans to a fatal ambush.
Sarah’s saving grace is an out-of-control Doberman named Bugsy, who ends up with Sarah and all the other players in the Mexican jungle.
Madriani’s law partner, Harry Hinds, is at the farm with Sarah, unaware that a killer has the place staked out.
Madriani and his girlfriend, lobbyist Joselyn Cole, have just spent a night being grilled by the FBI and the Metropolitan police.
It seems the people who hired Liquida had their sights set on blowing D.C. to smithereens, via a robotic device. Madriani, Diggs and Cole stopped the tragedy, but believe there is greater danger ahead. The FBI uses Madriani and company as bait to draw Liquida out into the open.
While Martini is brilliant with legal drama and courtroom scenes, he loses his way here.
Madriani, Cole and Hinds head off on an unsatisfying around-the-world manhunt, one step behind the vicious Liquida.
In the middle of the action, we’re introduced to two NASA scientists who plan to sell their doomsday secrets to enemies of the United States. They’re in Paris. They’re linked to Liquida through a man named Bruno. It’s a fatal attraction that is supposed to drive the plot forward, not into the ground.
“Trader of Secrets” is a hot mess. Martini is better than this. I hope he puts Madriani back in the courtroom and sticks to what he knows next time around.
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