Review of The Flinch Factor, by Michael A. Kahn

I picked up a used copy of The Flinch Factor, by Michael A. Kahn. He’s a local author, but I’ve never met him.

Description from Goodreads:
Several years have passed since we last saw Rachel Gold. The stunning and savvy attorney was then engaged to be married. Since, she’s become a mother, then a much-grieving widow, and now she is embroiled in a lost cause—the Frankenstein Case—where she represents a blue-collar neighborhood fighting a powerful developer intent on bulldozing their homes to erect a swanky gated community. Who’s pushing her here? Of course, her mother.

Rachel’s strategy will be based on the wild card that is the judge on the case—a judge so wacky he’s known to the St Louis Bar as The Flinch Factor (think the spawn of Judge Judy and Pee Wee Herman).

Plus Rachel gains another new client: Susannah, sister of Nick Moran, the heartthrob of every woman whose kitchen he remodeled. Nick has been murdered, found slumped on the front seat of his pickup along an isolated lane known to the vice squad as Gay Way, his pants unzipped, a coil of rubber tubing on the seat, an empty syringe on the floor. His female groupies are, to say the least, stunned. Gay? No way.

Although Susannah seems the classic blindly adoring younger sister, a skeptical Rachel agrees to check it out. To her surprise, she turns up facts and witnesses suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Nick’s death was staged as an overdose during sex. Then things rapidly grow darker in what increasingly becomes a realFrankenstein of a case….

I enjoyment this. While not really relevant to others’ experience of the book, part of what I liked so much was that the book is set in Saint Louis, where I live. I alway love seeing characters going to familiar places and enacting local quirks. Kahn did right by our fair city.

More widely relevant is how diverse the cast is. I always appreciate this. Rachel is Jewish (and fully adult, no 24-year-old heroine with a miraculous law degree here), her best friend is fat and successful in both his professional and romantic life, her legal partner is transgendered and hit on repeatedly (as well as being like 6′ 2″ and about 250lbs), the main police detective is old, one of her friends is gay, and the individuals Rachel encounters through the book came in a rainbow of races.

The mystery isn’t hard to figure out. In fact, it’s pretty obvious. But being a legal thriller, not a mystery, the fun is in Rachel figuring out how to prove it. I did think she took too long to put the pieces together, considering how smart she’s obviously supposed to be. But all in all, a good read.

An additional note: This is book eight in a the Rachel Gold Mysteries series. I’ve not read 1-7, but had no problem picking this one up and following it.

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