Clean Hands

Mysterious Book Report No. 411

by John Dwaine McKenna

High finance, billion dollar banks and a Wall Street law firm on the brink of disaster . . . combined with a talented fixer, a determined, urbane and experienced warrior woman known for her smooth style, velvet touch and iron fist . . . and you’ll have just a few of the elements of a recent thriller entitled: Clean Hands, (Grove Atlantic, $26.00, 277 pages, ISBN 978-0-8021-2953-6) by Patrick Hoffman.

Big mergers between mega corporations involve billions of dollars in cash, accounts receivable and debt.  They’re full of big risks, big paydays and big problems, that, once completed successfully, are cause for big celebrations as well as big congratulations.  It’s when things go wrong, right in the midst of negotiations however, that the crying starts and the heartache begins.  It’s when the recriminations, finger-pointing, denials and calls go out for “lawyers, guns and money.”  It’s also where the pulse-pounding Clean Hands begins.

The mega-merger between two multi-billon dollar banks has collapsed and a lawsuit has been filed, followed by an even larger counter claim.  It’s the most high-stakes lawsuit the prominent Wall Street law firm has ever filed in its entire history and survival—as well as the personal wealth of the partners—hangs in the balance.  A successful outcome is the only possible option.  So, when a junior associate loses his cellphone with a significant number of the firms secret case files on it, panic sets in at the highest levels.  Senior partner Elizabeth Carlyle, the lead lawyer, is under extreme duress to get the phone back . . . or else.  The threat of ruination is imminent, should the pilfered Iphone fall into the wrong hands.  Ms.  Carlyle needs help, and deniability, as fast as she can get it.  She calls an ex-CIA officer named Valencia Walker, a “high-priced fixer,” whose clients include governments, corporations and millionaire tycoons, all handled with the utmost discretion.  She retrieves the phone, but finds that it’s been copied, and now the law firm is being blackmailed.  Negative stories start to run in the press, a lawyer appears to have killed himself, and rumors begin to swirl about dark, and even darker deeds.

This fast-paced, electrifying thriller has it all: gangsters, hit men, shady lawyers, backstabbers, sneaky government agents, corruption in high places, super-patriots and enough bad-assery to fill up a ten-wheel dump truck.  It’ll keep you enthralled all afternoon during these hot August days of COVID-19 induced shut-in and strife.  Be well.  Stay well.  Enjoy this awesome new author and remember . . .

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