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Blind Man's Alley: A Novelby Justin Peacock
Synopses & Reviews
I remember when I used to get things done. Simon Roth was already speaking as he entered the conference room. I went to a meeting, things got built out of it. Now I sit in conference rooms with lawyers and accountants all day. Number crunching this, produce documents-you fucking lawyers, you've made what you do so complicated and endless it's all anybody has time to do. The sideshow's taken over the stage.
Good to see you too, Simon, Steven Blake replied, standing to shake Roth's hand. Duncan Riley, who'd been sitting next to Blake as they'd awaited their clients' arrival, quickly rose beside him.
Duncan was a senior associate at Blake and Wolcott, where Steven Blake was both a name partner and the leading rainmaker. They were in a conference room at Roth Properties, there to update Simon Roth and his people on the various legal tendrils extending out from the previous year's fatal construction accident at the Aurora Tower.
Roth Properties was a private, family-owned company. Simon Roth, the company's founder and still its CEO, was in his late sixties, although as his deliberately over-the-top entrance demonstrated, he made a point of carrying himself with the angry energy of a much younger man. Simon had a full head of gray hair, every strand carefully lacquered into place, a perfectly tailored suit, a striped blue shirt with a white collar, and heavy gold cuff links. The only place his age clearly showed was in his craggy reddish face, like that of a sailor too long at sea.
A small contingent of Roth Properties executives had followed Simon Roth into the room: Roth's two children, Jeremy and Leah, both of whom were vice presidents, followed by the general counsel, Roger Carrington, and the CFO, Preston Thomas.
Leah and her brother were very young for their positions, not far north of thirty, although that was hardly unusual in a family- controlled private company. Jeremy was heavyset and jaundiced-looking, while Leah was thin and ascetic, both appearing older than their years, although in entirely different ways.
Carrington and Thomas were each well into their fifties. Carrington looked like an old-school WASP; Thomas was African-American. They were dressed virtually identically: both in dark pinstripe suits with pocket squares in their jackets and cuff links in their crisp white shirts.
Duncan took his turn shaking hands after Blake, offering his best bright-boy smile and hoping he didn't look ill at ease. Simon Roth was a notoriously demanding and prickly client, prided himself on it, and Duncan would have been perfectly content to leave the client interactions to Blake, though he'd dutifully feigned enthusiasm when tapped to come along. Duncan was on hand to be the details guy; as a senior partner, Blake had scant involvement with the nitty-gritty of a case.
Roth Properties was the developer of the Aurora Tower, thirty-six stories of luxury condominiums going up in the heart of SoHo. The cheapest apartment, a five-hundred-square-foot pied-à-terre, was listed at just under a million, while a top-floor penthouse was on the market at twenty-five. However, advance sales for the building had been only a trickle, not good news for a half-billion-dollar construction project. The luxury aura had been tarnished by the accident and the resulting flurry of investigations and lawsuits.
First up had been the Department of Buildings. Const
Defending a real estate tycoon from lawsuits stemming from a building collapse and suspected mafia ties, lawyer Duncan Riley finds the task complicated by his client's enamored daughter and a seemingly unrelated murder case. By the Edgar Award-nominated author of A Cure for Night.
From the author of the Edgar Award-nominated legal thriller A Cure for Night, an ambitious and compulsively readable novel set in the cutthroat world of New York real estate.
A concrete floor three hundred feet up in the Aurora Tower condo development in SoHo has collapsed, hurling three workers to their deaths. The developer, Roth Properties (owned by thefamously abrasive Simon Roth), faces a vast tangle of legal problems, including allegations of mob connections. Roth's longtime lawyers, the elite midtown law firm of Blake and Wolcott, is assigned the task ofcleaning up the mess. Much of the work lands on the plate of smart, cynical, and sea-soned associate Duncan Riley; as a result, he falls into the pow-erful orbit of Leah Roth, the beautiful daughter ofSimon Roth and the designated inheritor of his real estate empire.
Meanwhile, Riley pursues a seemingly small pro bono case in which he attempts to forestall the eviction of Rafael Nazario and hisgrandmother from public housing in the wake of a pot bust. One night Rafael is picked up and charged with the mur-der of the private security cop who caught him, a murder that took place in another controversialmixed income housing development being built by . . . Roth Properties. Duncan Riley is now walking the knife edge of legal ethics and personal morality.
BlindMan's Alley is a suspenseful and kaleidoscopic journey through a world where the only rule is self- preservation. The New York Times Book Review said of A Cure for Nightthat Peacock] heads toward Scott Turow country . . . he's got a good chance to make partner. This taut, topical, and socially alert thriller delivers on thatpromise.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
JUSTIN PEACOCK received an MFA from Columbia University and a law degree from Yale. His legal experience ranges from death-penalty defense to First Amendment cases to big firm litigation. He lives in Brooklyn.
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