Face Value (Rachel Gold Mysteries)

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9781464202797: Face Value (Rachel Gold Mysteries)
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St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold (The Flinch Factor, 2013, etc.) and waves of lesser detectives go after the person who threw a promising junior lawyer from a high-rise parking garage to the unforgiving ground below. There are so many good reasons to kill yourself when you're a junior associate--the long hours, the high levels of stress, the professional tunnel vision--that the cops see no reason to doubt that Sari Bashir committed suicide as she left the law offices of Warner & Olsen for the last time. But Stanley Plotkin, of the Warner & Olsen mailroom, begs to differ. And since Stanley's Asperger's syndrome, which renders him unsuitable for cocktail parties, has given him the concentration necessary to read the most minute emotional tells in witnesses' faces, he finds a ready audience when he explains to Rachel that Sari wouldn't have killed herself. How to harness Stanley's very specialized skills to an unofficial investigation? Rachel comes up with the idea of recording colleagues' reminiscences of Sari for a memorial video that will incidentally give Stanley the chance to study footage of the leading suspects' faces at his leisure. It's a clever idea that produces some regrettably boring chapters. The suspects are forgettable attorneys hiding not very interesting secrets that are flushed out with little ado by their reactions to some questions so leading they'd never be allowed in court. Eventually Rachel, along with Stanley, her old friend professor Benny Goldberg, Detective Bertie Tomaso of the St. Louis PD and several supporting sleuths tie Sari's death to a long-running criminal scheme, and that's that. The platoon of detectives muffles sprightly Rachel, and the mystery isn't lively or original enough to provide much compensation. Wait till next year.--Kirkus Reviews

At the start of Kahn's engaging ninth mystery featuring lawyer Rachel Gold (after 2013's The Flinch Factor), a security guard finds the broken body of Sari Bashir, a young attorney at St. Louis's Warner & Olsen law firm, in an alley. Did the demands of Sari's job drive her to jump off the top of a 10-story parking garage? Stanley Plotkin, an employee in the Warner & Olsen mail room with Asperger's syndrome, thinks that Sari was murdered. Stanley, a devoted student of the Facial Action Coding System, which allows one to read emotions from facial expressions, is sure Sari was agitated and upset right before her death, but not depressed or suicidal. Rachel agrees to investigate, and gathers a team to do so. Rachel and company soon uncover details about murky cases, financial improprieties, and not-what-they-seem coworkers. Ample humor and skillful dialogue--about legal, financial, and scientific matters--are a plus, as is the expertly evoked St. Louis locale.--Publishers Weekly

Kahn's St. Louis attorney, Rachel Gold, works hard maintaining her law practice and raising her son as a single parent. When Sari Bashir, a young associate at one of the city's major law firms, is found dead in the building's parking garage, the police declare it a suicide and close the case. This does not sit well with Stanley Plotkin, a genius with Asperger's syndrome who works in the mail room. Stanley has a hard time with social interactions since he cannot read facial expressions, but he uses a sophisticated facialrecognition program to help him communicate effectively. He is sure that Sari was murdered, and he asks Rachel to help him prove it. Rachel is reluctant to get involved, but, when Sari's father also asks her to pursue the investigation, she agrees. With help from Stanley, the firm's security guard, and her vulgar but brilliant law-professor friend, Benny, Rachel uncovers a major criminal scheme that is related to one of her other cases. Rachel's fans will enjoy her latest case, which highlights the consequences of greed as well as the abilities of the disabled.--Booklist

Reseña del editor:

As St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold knows firsthand, the grueling hours and demands of Big Law take their toll on young lawyers. Some turn to drugs, some quit the profession, and occasionally one quits altogether. According to the medical examiner, Sari Bashir quit altogether on that Thursday night. That’s when she fell to her death from the eighth floor of the downtown garage where she parked her car.

The police ruled her death a suicide. Stanley Plotkin, however, rules it a homicide. Stanley is the weird mailroom clerk at Sari’s law firm, but he is also a true genius. Among his obsessions is the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), a massive compilation that correlates hundreds of facial muscle actions with specific emotions and mental states. For someone like Stanley, whose Asperger’s Syndrome renders him incapable of intuiting emotions from facial expressions, his mastery of FACS has caused him to conclude that Sari did not kill herself.

Rachel had been close with Sari, who worked for her during law school. She also knows Stanley—and his quirkiness and his genius—because their mothers are friends. Thus when Stanley announces his conclusion to Rachel as she drives him home from Sari’s memorial service, she can’t simply dismiss it. And when Sari’s father pleads with Rachel to review the police file on his daughter’s suicide, she reluctantly starts down a path that will lead into the heart of a dark criminal enterprise in which Sari was simply collateral damage.

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