TITLE: Fifty Fifty
AUTHOR: Steve Cavanagh
GENRE: Crime Thriller
MY RATING: 5/5
*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*
Two sisters on trial for murder. Both accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?
Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife.
Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom.
Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury.
But one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be.
You’d be wrong.
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So, I read a huge amount of thrillers, it is absolutely my favourite genre and my most read, and I have quite a few books from this genre that I have awarded five stars to over the years. But let me say not one of those books has been more deserving of five stars than this one. To say I loved it is a massive understatement – it has definitely taken the spot for my favourite book of this year (so far), and I would have to give it a place in my top 5 books ever. It’s going to be difficult to put into words how much I loved this book, but I’ll give it a go.
Firstly, let’s talk about the plot. It was original, refreshing and totally addictive. I read the book in two sittings, which had I not had to get up for work would’ve been one sitting. I couldn’t get enough of the unfolding story, and I felt desperate to know who the killer was, and the circumstances behind it. To give a general overview, there are two sisters (Alexandra and Sofia) who are both on trial for their father’s brutal murder. They both blame each other, with the two of them placing near identical 911 calls frantically accusing the other within one minute of each other. As the trial gets underway and more details come to light the identity of the killer remains a mystery – it really could be either one of them. But interestingly, the murderer has orchestrated the entire thing, right down to ensuring that she too would face a murder charge. Why? Well that’s for the two defence lawyers to work out, along with the identity of the killer of course.
The chapters are pretty short which lends itself well to the pace of the book, and they are structured to follow each of the defence lawyers, and the killer herself – referred to as SHE throughout the book. The author keeps us guessing right up until the final pages, with twist after twist to keep even the most die hard thriller fans (like me) entertained and second guessing.
The writing style is nothing short of superb, and it is clear that the author has a legal background – his expertise is evident in the unfolding tale. I am usually quite a slow reader but I was willing myself to hurry as I read this because I just wanted to know everything as soon as possible.
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The characters are brilliantly constructed, with a special mention to the two sisters on trial – Alexandra and Sofia. Both are flawed, both are unreliable, and both seem to fit the profile of the murderer. They, along with all the main and supporting characters, are wonderfully designed. You will remember everybody long after the book is finished, which I’m finding rare these days. I’ve read a lot of books where I’ve lamented the lack of detail or purpose of certain characters, and this book couldn’t be farther from that.
I thought I knew who the murderer was from quite early on, but I was conscious of the fact that most books in this genre throw a red herring or two, or ten, out along the way so I remained vigilant as the chapters progressed. Towards the end I changed my mind, and then changed it back again and ended up being wrong. I quite liked that I was wrong though, because I felt as though what I thought was going to be the outcome was a little too neat if that makes sense. What actually took place was far more explosive, and a much better ending than I had anticipated. I think the big twist is quite possibly the most important component of a thriller, and Cavanagh expertly presented his. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve read a better finish than the one he wrote here.
I was unaware before starting this book that it is number five in a series of crime thrillers following Eddie Flynn – a con man turned lawyer, but it can be read as a standalone. Having said that I am eagerly awaiting payday so I can treat myself to the other books in the series – I’m sure I’ll enjoy them as much as this one, and I’m confident that Steve Cavanagh will be an auto buy author for me going forward. There is just something about his storytelling that I find irresistable, and reading this book has absolutely cured me of my reading slump.
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It sounds so cliched but I really wish I could go back and read this again for the first time, as much as I know I will enjoy rereads, nothing ever lives up to that initial discovery of a new favourite book. It’s going to take a lot to top this one for me, and I expect to award it my favourite book of 2021 – unless I read another in the series that I like even more that is.
If you haven’t read this and you enjoy legal/crime thrillers then I cannot recommend this book enough, it is simply perfect! If you haven’t tried a thriller before then please make this your first one, because if you don’t like it then you can avoid the genre going forward. At this point I fear I’m at risk of waffling on about how much I love Fifty Fifty, and slowly making less and less sense so I’ll leave it here by saying that if I had to describe this book in one word I would use masterpiece.
Have you read Fifty Fifty? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!