As their investigation exposes the role of their client jockey in a fixed race that leads to murder, Michael Knight and Lex Devlin become embroiled in a conflict between two Puerto Rican crime gangs. One of these gangs is aligned for the first time with Boston’s Italian Mafia in tapping into almost limitless profits from the illicit trade in exotic and endangered species of wild animals captured in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and smuggled through the shoreline of the Florida Keys.
“John F. Dobbyn’s thriller, Fatal Odds, does everything right: a nail-biting plot to keep you turning pages, characters that shine brighter with every twist and turn, and a ripped-from-the-headlines authenticity that will leave you shocked.”
“A very entertaining entry in what one hopes will be a long-running series.”
“Some writers are notable for their storytelling flair, some for their ability to bring characters to life, some for the lyrical quality of their prose. In John F. Dobbyn, all three combine.”
Dealings in blood diamonds involve both enormous profits and also grave human suffering. Child enslavement in Sierra Leone and mafia killings in Boston and Ireland involve Michael Knight and Lex Devlin deeply in the trafficking in these gems. The personal danger level is at an all time high, as they come between the Italian mafia in the North End of Boston, the Irish mafia in South Boston, and the criminal remnants of the IRA in Ireland. They are lured into conflict with the murderous child-army of the Sierra Leone rebels who smuggle these rough gems to trade for more weapons and drugs.
“DEADLY DIAMONDS takes you from mob strongholds in Boston to the diamond pits of Sierra Leone, in a plot twisty enough to leave skid marks on the page. A great read!”
Lisa Scottoline, New York Times best-selling author of SAVE ME says; “From its characters who go straight to the heart, to its intruiging settings, to its plot with more jolting twiststhan a Boston street, BLACK DIAMOND takes you on a non-stop ride that keeps you gripping the wheel.”Jeremiah Healy, author of THE ONLY GOOD LAWYER and A STAIN ON THE ROBE says; “John F. Dobbyn simply leaps forward in scope and intensity with each new legal thriller he writes. The opening chapter of BLACK DIAMOND earns a master’s degree in catch-your-breath excitement, and the compelling plot explores a criminal defense attorney’s worst nightmare: a growing conflict of interest, within the lawyer’s mind and heart, between the victim and the client accused of the crime. A terrific novel.”
“Dobbyn is a skillful writer who puts his expert knowledge of the legal system to work. Frame Up is the best kind of legal crime fiction, where the real stories come not from legal minutiae in the courtroom, but from human beings caught in the legal system’s fuzzy moral contours.”
“If you enjoy gritty legal thrillers, you will love FRAME-UP, the second novel in John F. Dobbyn’s series about young Boston lawyer Michael Knight. From the chilling first chapter to ‘negotiations’ with the Mob over the death penalty without benefit of the formal criminal justice system, the characters are drawn with depth and empathy, the action with crisp claps of interpersonal thunder. Settle back in your favorite chair for a polished book that will be compared to Dennis Lehane’s MYSTIC RIVER.”
“A poignant tale of brotherhood – torn and mended. A thrilling mix of foreign intrigue and Mafia mahem. A wonderful read. Don’t miss it!”
Frame-Up is a twisted tale of mafia gangsters and international intrigue providing an in-depth view of the criminal justice system.
The Big Thrill
This book is definitely a page turner reminding me of John Grisham’s legal thrillers and Robert Ludlum’s international crime thrillers.
Review the Book
Dobbyns is a talented writer, and this novel boasts subtle characterizations and a first-rate story.
A fantastic legal thriller that will keep you on the edge of your chair throughout.
Here is another fast-paced legal thriller from John Dobbyn, a former law professor, whose writing is decidedly nonacademic.”
Lincoln Journal Star
Frame-Up is a terrific character driven legal thriller. Fans will relish John F. Dobbyns’ superb tale.
Dobbyn writes with a skillful, unique deftness and I’ll be looking for more of his work.
Meanderings & Muses
An electrifying thriller. A murder mystery with a plot that is well-paced, replete with credible misdirection. Highly recommended.
“From the very first page, this legal thriller drags the reader into a world of lawyers and their mob-linked clients and keeps him there until the very last page.
A picture perfect example of what a legal thriller should aspire to be, Frame-Up gives any Grisham book a run for its money.
Frame-Up brings a good plot, starts with violence, and has fast moving action throughout the length of the book. Characters are well-defined, and history is fed in carefully on an as needed basis.
Sacramento Book Review
A fast paced legal thriller complete with excitement at every turn. Well written, well executed.
Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine
Frame-Up is hard to put down.
This quick and intricate legal thriller will keep readers in suspense and wanting more.
John F. Dobbyn serves up the well-written legal thriller, the thoughtfully tied up mystery, and the action adventure in unusual foreign locales.
Kicking Over My Traces Blog
Dobbyn has created a cast of engaging characters in this crime thriller. I would recommend this book to all mystery lovers.”
Review the Book
“This debut novel by law professor Dobbyn marks the first long-form appearance of legal eagles Michael Knight and Lex Devlin, who’ve starred in several of the author’s short stories… Dobbyn, who knows his characters like the back of his hand, is an engaging writer, and readers who have followed the adventures of Knight and Devlin in short stories will give a small cheer that they’ve finally made the leap to the hardcover novel.”
The First Devlin and Knight Mystery
This explosive first novel by veteran short story mystery writer Dobbyn brings to life the legal detective team of Michael Knight and Lex Devlin, who have been featured in a dozen short stories in such magazines as Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen ‘s Mystery Magazine. Amid the flash and din of Boston’s raucous Chinese New Year’s celebration an elderly man named Chen An-Yong is shot while watching the parade from his Tyler Street window. Anthony Bradley, the young son of an African-American judge is standing across the street at the time and is immediately arrested for the crime.
Michael Knight is a young lawyer who’s going places, but even he is surprised when Judge Bradley asks him to defend his son in such a high profile and politically delicate case. Luckily, Knight finds he has powerful support when a senior partner at his firm, the legendary Lex Devlin, gets involved. Once the foremost criminal defense attorney in Boston, Devlin has mysteriously withdrawn from defense work in recent years. As Knight and Devlin investigate the incident and prepare their client’s defense, the older lawyer’s passion and ability come to the fore, forcing Knight to wonder about and delve into the murky allegations that eclipsed his mentor’s career.
But before he can defend the young Bradley, Knight is forced to enter into the shadow world of gangland Chinatown, where Triads and Tongs rule through fear and intimidation. From the halls of Harvard to the streets of Chinatowns in Boston and Toronto, Knight doggedly pursues an investigation that involves drugs, prostitution, human trafficking and, ultimately, a corruption scandal that could bring down the most powerful people in Boston.
“Fans of the film True Believer will best appreciate law professor Dobbyn’s debut…”
“If you like full-speed ahead legal thrillers, you will love Neon Dragon. John F. Dobbyn has created an extraordinary hero in former prosecutor Michael Knight, an up-from-the-streets kid with two Harvard degrees behind his shingle. The dialogue exchanges crackle, and the humor is truly funny. Run—don’t walk to buy this terrific first novel.”
“Neon Dragon lit up my evening. This legal thriller had everything; people I cared for, suspense that kept me on edge, and the rich background of Boston’s Chinatown. A notable debut.”
In Boston Michael Knight works as a third year associate attorney at Bilson, Dawes, Leftbridge & Sykes law firm. Thus he is shocked when African-American judge Amos Bradley, expected to be named to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court soon, asks him to represent his son Anthony, who is accused of killing sexagenarian Mr. Chen An-Young during a New Year’s parade. The shooting has angered the Chinese-American community as Mr. Chen was a well respected grandfather.
Knight visits the incarcerated Anthony at the Suffolk County prison where he finds his client articulate and grateful. Anthony insists he is guilty of only agreeing to go with his friend Terry Blocher to attend the Chinese New Year gala. At the office, attorney Alexis “Lex” Devlin offers to help Michael with the case; Alexis was the top gun until a decade ago when a jury-tampering charge forced Lex into “hiding”. The case looks hopeless on the surface, but with Knight following clues that take him into nasty neighborhoods, he believes he can prove his client’s innocence that is if he stays alive long enough.
The protagonist knew nothing about government corruption or Chinese organized gangs in spite of being in the prosecutor’s office for four years before he joined his current firm and grew up in the city. Knight is a terrific protagonist who, with his mentor, makes for a delightful Bostonian joy ride. The story line is fast-paced and includes some fun references to Beantown literary sleuths. However, it is the courtroom that makes this a fine legal thriller as fans of the sub-genre will enjoy the teaming of Michael and Lex.
John F. Dobbyn is a Professor of Law at Villanova Law School and the author of numerous legal books and short fiction. A native of Boston, he received his J.D. from Boston College Law School and LL.M. from Harvard Law School. He practiced law at Burns & Levinson in Boston before going into teaching. This is his first novel.