Skipjack Publishing (2014)
Reviewed by Michel Violante for Reader Views (3/2015)
“The Closing” by Ken Oder begins when Nate Abitt visits Kenneth Deatherage, an inmate on death row at a maximum security prison in the state of Virginia. Nate Abitt had been assigned to the case as legal counsel after 26 years of working with the county as a prosecutor. His over-drinking and shady doings finally caught up with him and he was asked to take a leave when he forced a faked confession out of a man with a mental disability, and the judge discovered it through a hidden recording. After a year and a half Nate went back to work with the county, this time defending the same people he might have sent to prison previously as prosecutor. Deatherage decided to take him as his lawyer as he professed his innocence and stated that he had been framed. But Nate walks out, with little or no interest in his new client’s innocence or guilt. As the story develops, Nate discovers that the previous counsel on the case, Stiller, who died of a heart attack, did not keep a case file. As he continues the investigation, Nate discovers that he might not have been the only one within the prosecutor’s office to be creative in order to get a conviction.
Oder presented the reader with horrible nightmare of being innocent on death row in this impeccably written crime fiction novel. The setting, characters, and dialogue feel true and genuine, which makes the plot credible and allowed me to immerse myself in the story from the beginning to the end. I could not help but to sympathize with Nate and root for him as he tried to get his life back in order after losing his job and his wife. He commits to uncover the truth behind Deatherage’s trial and conviction, hoping to somehow making amends for his own past mistakes. Oder’s writing style is captivating and takes the reader into the story right away.
Overall, “The Closing” by Ken Oder is a well written legal thriller that will hook the reader ‘til the end. A fast 5 star read that I will recommend to all crime books fans!