Think Michael Bay partnering with John Grisham and then they got some advice from Scorcese, ignored most of it, then penned a book about a lawyer. Now you pretty much have Steve Cavanagh’s book, THE DEFENCE, right there. Expect lots of action, put all forms of credible belief on hold and enjoy the crazy ride. THE DEFENCE is the debut novel from Steve Cavanagh and Kernel Fiona reviews this page turner sent to us from the folks at Hachette Australia. It is out now and you can buy it from most bookstores or you can buy it online HERE. It is available in paperback or eBook. Enjoy Fi’s review…..all the best…..JK. (NB: Photos sourced online – if you are the photographer and wish to be credited or prefer the photos removed please email





Eddie Flynn, ex con artist and drunk turned lawyer, finds himself embroiled with the Russian mafia when his daughter is kidnapped and he is forced to run a defence for one of the Mafia’s head honchos to ensure she stays alive. Told over a 48 hour period, Cavanagh effectively creates a tense courtroom drama complete with all the side action of guns and gangsters.

This book is the equivalent of watching an action movie with ample villains, car chases and crooked cops. While not as engaging perhaps as a Grisham, the tension created by the race against time factor ensures it’s a page turner.

Brought up on the rough streets of New York, Eddie Flynn learned a lot about running scams from his wayward father. After his father’s death, he decides to eschew the underworld and make something of his life and so becomes a lawyer. After marrying and having a child, Eddie finds himself working longer and longer hours and neglecting his family. The pressure of the workload leads him into alcoholism, destroys his marriage and lands him in rehab.

Eddie manages to claw his way out of his addiction and returns to the law. It is then he is abducted off the street by a group of Russian thugs who strap a bomb to his back and demand that he represent Volchek, head of the Russian gangsters and on trial for murder. The idea behind the bomb is that Eddie will successfully be able to smuggle the bomb through courthouse security because he is never metal detected or searched.

Volchek had previously ordered a hit on a Mario Geraldo. The hit was carried out by a guy called Little Benny. As it turned out Little Benny blabbed to the FBI and is set to give evidence at Volchek’s trial about who ordered the hit. Benny is well hidden by the Feds but will have his day in court and it is then that Eddie will place the bomb underneath Benny’s chair and it will be detonated. No more case, no more Benny and it will be Eddie who takes the fall as the bomber. The prosecutor will not have enough evidence for a retrial and so Volchek will go free.




In order to persuade Eddie that it is in his best interests to comply, they present him with a gym bag that contains the severed head of his former partner, Jack. Jack had refused to play ball and has wound up in pieces. To add some extra pressure to Eddie’s decision, Volchek’s crew have kidnapped Eddie’s 12 year old daughter, Amy. If he wants her to live he is going to have to carry out their orders.

And so begins Eddie’s epic quest to save his daughter from a gruesome fate whilst giving the best courtroom performance of his life. Knowing that the Russians will probably kill him anyway, rather than risk another snitch once the Feds get hold of him, he realises he can’t outwit the Mafia on his own. He enlists the help of a Federal Court Judge and old friend, Harry who just happens to be sitting in Night Court while Eddie is locked in a court room office nearby. Night Court? Litigation and crime statistics must be at an all-time high in NYC if they’re running midnight trials.

Cavanagh likes to shock the reader with outlandish scenarios and so of course it becomes necessary for Eddie to fearlessly swing out the window onto the side of the court house and then make a dramatic entry into Harry’s office. Never mind the fact that he is ten stories up and has nothing else to cling on to but The Lady – the blindfolded statue of a woman holding a sword in one hand and the scales of justice in the other.

Inevitably, it becomes necessary to seek help from the criminal world of Eddie’s past and so he contacts Italian Mafioso Jimmy who will provide the man power and the devices to take down the Russians and bring Amy safely home. This operation involves the use of gadgetry such as untraceable mobile phones, fake bomb detonators and concealable weapons.

As the story hurtles towards a dramatic conclusion, Cavanagh hits the reader with increasingly sensational and exaggerated scenarios that are so over the top, you could only find them in a Hollywood blockbuster. If you’re willing to suspend disbelief and embrace Cavanagh’s unrestrained style, then undoubtedly you will enjoy this fast paced action thriller.


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