Book Spotlight - Weave a Murderous Web by Ken & Anne Hicks.
WEAVE A MURDEROUS WEB
Anne Rothman-Hicks & Ken Hicks GENRE: Mystery
No good deed goes unpunished. Mark Samuels, a somewhat seedy matrimonial lawyer, is dead from an overdose of suspiciously pure cocaine. Jane Larson, a hotshot litigator for a large law firm in New York City, is sucked into the world of divorce and child support when her friend Francine asks her to help out one of Mark’s clients.
Jane quickly learns that the case is a complete loser and that her new client, Gail, is a demanding and unscrupulous prima donna. However, through some skillful legal work and a tip-off from a mysterious informant, Jane uncovers a safe deposit box where the deadbeat husband has been hiding a large chunk of cash.
She also attracts the attention of a fellow lawyer (Bryan) who is handsome and successful and an excellent protector from the threats to her life that suddenly start popping up with alarming frequency, along with murders of people related to the case—among them the deadbeat dad and an undercover cop.
It soon becomes apparent that Jane's discovery of the cash has only started to unravel a web of lies, drugs, and criminal activity. Ultimately, she is involved in a race to recover a suitcase of money that Jane hopes will help police catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.
I opened a drawer and pulled out a legal pad to record the names of mother and daughter.
“There’s just one thing maybe you should know,” Francine said.
My pencil poised in midair, and then wrote “one thing” with an exclamation point. I still have that piece of paper in the top drawer of my desk.
“Well, Carmen Ruiz has kind of taken an interest in this because of the women’s rights angle and what happened to Mark and all.”
“Carmen Ruiz? Last time I heard of her, she was spending time at a fat farm.”
This was code. Everyone knew that the ‘fat farm,’ as I had injudiciously put it, was also a place where people could lose other bad habits, such as drugs.
Francine winced again and swallowed hard. “That’s unkind, Jane.”
Chalk one up for the meek.
“You’re right, Francine. How is Carmen doing?”
“She’s got a new gig on cable. One of the local news stations.”
I nodded. I was safe from unkind remarks if I kept my mouth shut. At one time the cognoscenti had called Carmen the “female Wolf Blitzer” because she had enjoyed asking the hard questions, especially of men who were not used to being pushed around. The fact that she had the flashing good looks of a gypsy queen didn’t hurt, but now she was scuffling on cable news.
“She said she called you a couple of times.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve been busy.”
I was on the verge of getting back the advantage, never easy in a conversation with humanitarian types like Francine, especially if your mother always places such types on a pedestal, a very high pedestal.
Martha has not been affiliated with any organized religion since her mind began to function at age eleven. Still, she shares Jesus’ distrust of wealth and is fond of quoting both his advice to sell all you have and give it to the poor and his adage that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You don’t even believe in Jesus,” I argue.
“I don’t have to believe in Jesus as God to know he’s telling the truth,” she retorts.
When I had accepted the job at Adams & Ridge, Carmen had had some unkind things to say to mutual friends about my going for the gold. Her whole premise that Martha’s goodness had gotten lost in one generation to my grabbiness had cut a bit too close to the bone. I hadn’t forgotten.
“Carmen’s working on a series about children and the courts,” Francine said. “Kids falling into poverty are a very big problem.”
“I’m aware of the problem, Francine. I’ll skip over the question of what has made Carmen give a good hoot in hell about children all of a sudden. What does any of this have to do with that coke-head Mark?”
“Oh, nothing much. Nothing at all really.”
She was hedging, worried that the prospect of helping Carmen might have made me shut the whole thing down before it ever began.
“Go on, Francine.”
“It’s just... she knew Mark fairly well and doesn’t think his death was accidental. She says Mark did drugs too much to do something that stupid.”
“So she thinks he did it on purpose? Is that it? He committed suicide over the predicament of his client and child?”
“Not exactly,” Francine said.
In hindsight I can see clearly how nonchalant she wanted to seem, playing with the gold locket and dropping it inside her sweater, glancing in the direction of the window as if a pretty bird had alighted there.
“Carmen thinks Mark was murdered.”
A fast paced legal thriller.
Jane Larson takes on a divorce case at the request of a friend. She quickly discovers it is not only her client who is after her husband's assets and others are prepared to kill for them. With bodies dropping like flies around her, her own life is in danger as is the reputation of an ex-lover as she races against the police and an unknown killer to uncover the truth.
I've only visited New York once but this book brings to life the inhabitants along with the sights and sounds of the city exactly as I remember them. Jane Larson is a likeable if sometimes brash and prickly character who I could relate to. Suspense and intrigue builds but never at the expense of realism and the story and all the characters that play a part are totally believable.
Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks first started writing books together while Anne was a student at Bryn Mawr College and Ken was a student at Haverford College— a long time ago, when, as their children like to say, dinosaurs roamed the earth.
In 1973, they came to New York City while Ken attended law school at Columbia University and Anne worked as an editor in publishing. They have lived here ever since and do not intend to leave voluntarily.
They wrote their first novel together in 1976, hoping that it would be a success and Ken would not have to even start working as a lawyer. Alas, that book is still in on the upper shelf of their closet, but they kept at the writing business. In 1984, they published Theft of the Shroud, a novel, through Banbury books, distributed by Putnam. That same year they also published a series of 10 books based on the most popular names for boys and girls, as well as a book about the stars for children. Following these successes, Ken quit law for two years as he and Anne devoted themselves fulltime to writing and their children. However, children need to eat and be clothed and go to school, and these things all cost money, so Ken resumed the practice of law. Still, they continued to write, and rewrite, and rewrite some more.
Prior to the publication of Weave A Murderous Web, Ken and Anne wrote Praise Her, Praise Diana, (Adult thriller) Melange Books LLC, 2014, Kate and the Kid, (Adult mainstream) Wings ePress 2013, and Things Are Not What They Seem (Tween fantasy) MuseItUp Publishing 2014. Anne and Ken have also self-published two small-format photography books, which are available on the Apple iBookstore – Hearts (no flowers) Signs of Love in the Gritty City and Picture Stones.