We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

BookBrowse Reviews The Plea by Steve Cavanagh

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Plea

by Steve Cavanagh

The Plea by Steve Cavanagh X
The Plea by Steve Cavanagh
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2018, 368 pages

    Nov 2018, 544 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book



An innocent client. A wife in jeopardy. A locked room mystery. Who will take The Plea?

Turn to page one of Steve Cavanagh's legal thriller The Plea and buckle your seat belt. It's gonna be a deliciously bumpy ride.

It begins with a gun at point blank range, aimed at criminal attorney Eddie Flynn's chest. It appears that he has used up the last of his escape or fight back resources and is about to be dispatched to that great courtroom-in-the-sky. Of course, we know he survives. He has lived to tell the tale, hasn't he? But how? The ensuing story proves that even though Eddie lacks money, he possesses – and uses – an overabundance of resources. Whether by wit, wile or weight (including a tough associate called Lizard, among others), Flynn must employ them all to overcome impossible odds.

Backtracking forty-eight hours from the gun-pointing-at-chest-moment, Eddie's life takes a sudden turn. He is approached by federal law enforcement agents who want him to represent a young social media billionaire named David Child. Nothing too complicated there except that Child (Dickensian moniker and all) has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. Oh, and he's already being represented by counsel – a big time Manhattan law firm called Harland and Sinton, which, by the way, is hip-deep in money laundering (see Beyond the Book) using an algorithm Child innocently (he claims) designed for them. Which is why the Feds want to get inside Child's defense. They expect Eddie to convince the young man to accept a plea deal in exchange for turning Harland and Sinton over to the authorities.

It's a daunting task at best, and Eddie's instinct tells him to demur. But the next plot twist – that the Feds will arrest Eddie's estranged wife should he fail to complete the task – cinches the deal. Because Ms. Eddie Flynn, now known as Christine White, coincidentally works for Harland and Sinton and she could be swept up in the indictments. Needless to say, Eddie will do anything to spare the mother of his daughter. The only thing remaining is for Eddie to call on his every available skill and resource if only to save his wife.

There may be no better training for a criminal lawyer than a lifelong occupation as a grifter, and Eddie Flynn has that. As a second-generation con man Eddie cut his teeth on the game. "I'd been a con man, using my father's skills, keeping his code, taking down scores from the worst insurance companies, from drug dealers, from the vilest lowlifes that I could find. And I'd slept like a baby. It was only when I became a lawyer that I had trouble sleeping. The line was never clear." He no sooner gets Child's signature on a retainer that the line begins to fade even more.

Once Eddie has a chance to speak with David Child he's convinced the young nerd is innocent and has been framed. Eddie's conscience won't let David accept a plea deal, effectively ruining his life and allowing the actual murderer to walk. But this frame-up is a master work. Based on a mountain of seemingly irrefutable evidence – from security camera footage to eyewitnesses to forensic proof – David seems like the only one who could have possibly committed the murder. Luckily, or not, he has retained, perhaps, New York City's only attorney with – despite his con-man past – a true moral compass. Going against the very strict orders given him by the federal agents, Eddie is determined to both defend David and save Christine.

From here on the plot twists keep pages flying as Eddie attempts to unravel a case where anyone and everyone – with the exception of Christine – either is or can be guilty of murder. The courtroom scenes are terrific as Eddie carefully constructs his questions of prosecution witnesses, coming head to head with an ambitious and ruthless District Attorney. So who is pointing a loaded gun at Eddie? And why? Getting to the answers is the most fun I've had since reading any of Grisham's best.

Reviewed by Donna Chavez

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in March 2018, and has been updated for the January 2019 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Money Laundering


Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Plea, try these:

  • Confessions of an Innocent Man jacket

    Confessions of an Innocent Man

    by David R. Dow

    Published 2020

    About this book

    A thrillingly suspenseful debut novel, and a fierce howl of rage that questions the true meaning of justice.

  • Black Fridays jacket

    Black Fridays

    by Michael Sears

    Published 2013

    About this book

    More by this author

    Jason Stafford is a former Wall Street hotshot who made some bad moves, paid the price with two years in prison, and is now trying to put his life back together. He's unemployable, until an investment firm asks him to look into possible problems left by a junior trader who died recently in an accident. What he discovers is big - there are ...

We have 5 read-alikes for The Plea, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Steve Cavanagh
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Curse of Pietro Houdini
    The Curse of Pietro Houdini
    by Derek B. Miller
    Derek B. Miller's sixth novel, The Curse of Pietro Houdini, opens in the town of Cassino, Italy, in ...
  • Book Jacket: Our Moon
    Our Moon
    by Rebecca Boyle
    In Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us ...
  • Book Jacket: Neighbors and Other Stories
    Neighbors and Other Stories
    by Diane Oliver
    The history of American segregation, along with changes to it in the 1960s, is sometimes taught and ...
  • Book Jacket: Wild and Distant Seas
    Wild and Distant Seas
    by Tara Karr Roberts
    Tara Karr Roberts is a newspaper columnist who also teaches English and journalism. Wild and Distant...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Strong Passions
    by Barbara Weisberg

    Shocking revelations of a wife's adultery in 19th New York explode in an incendiary trial exposing the upper-crust and its secrets.

  • Book Jacket

    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)



Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.