New Mystery Reader welcomes Michael Diamondstein, author of the enticing legal thriller, Cloaked in Doubt!
Review and Synopsis:
Cloaked in Doubt by Michael J. Diamondstein
Publishers: iUniverse, 2006 ISBN: 0595384595
Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader
Remember the feeling you had when you finished reading Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow. The work is simply fantabulous. The book redefined what a legal thriller ought to be.
This same feeling, a feeling of reading and relishing a fantabulous work, was what I felt while reading Cloaked in Doubt. And I am not exaggerating Michael J. Diamondstein is the Scott Turow of this era and Cloaked in Doubt is the Presumed Innocent of 2007.
Jimmy DiAnno is the protagonist of this novel. He is the dedicated prosecutor of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. His girlfriend Alesa Wex has been found murdered. All evidence points to Jerry Savitch, the charming, suave, ‘the knight in shining armor’ Mayor of Philadelphia. A former prosecutor himself, Savitch maintains a stoic poise and loudly proclaims his innocence. He has a straight line of defence- he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Now DiAnno has the unenviable job of prosecuting Savitch for the murder of Alesa Wex. Putting aside personal sorrow and loss, DiAnno decides to go with the job full steam ahead so that he can secure justice for Alesa. The trial opens up a whole new can of worms, and DiAnno gets new information and a new insight into the actual demeanor and character of both the accused as well as the victim. The public mask, the façade the victim as well as the accused portrayed is slowly removed as new developments are brought to light.
What follows is a stunning courtroom drama with an end that’s simply mind- blowing. I enjoyed the novel and it is after a long, long time I am reading a juicy courtroom drama of the first order.
Highly, highly recommended. And to put it in a cliché- Diamondstein has hit diamonds in this debut work. Looking forward to more from this lawyer.
Attorney Michael J. Diamondstein is the author of Cloaked in Doubt- a debut work. A wonderful legal thriller reminiscent of the Scott Turow novels, I found the work to be an enthralling read.
I also had the good fortune to conduct this interview with Mr. Diamondstein, wherein we discussed abut Cloaked in Doubt, and forthcoming works of Mr. Diamondstein.
1. My first question, How did Cloaked in Doubt come into being?
****I never even dreamed of writing a book. Ever. But in 1997, I was an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, Pa and had a temporary assignment which forced me to work a lot of hours but also gave a lot of time off. It was a non-court assignment. Being a trial lawyer, I was dreading it. My wife - who was my girlfriend at the time - took me to see the show Rent. After seeing the show, I decided that I wasn't going to waste my four months in the temporary assignment. I decided to write a book. The idea popped into my head as I was walking out of the theater.
2. A standard, question in any lawyer- interview- Has your professional experience influenced the novel?
**** Absolutely. As a trial lawyer, I come face to face with a 100 great stories (and characters) a week.
3. I found a distinct Scott Turow touch in the narration, - were you influenced by Turow or any other author?
**** Scott Turow is certainly a great author. I read One L and Presumed Innocent when I was in college. I used to like Nelson DeMille. To be frank, I stopped reading fiction in the early 90s. With all of my trial work, I didn't find much time for pleasure reading. When I do pick up a book, it's usually a biography.
4. Do you still actively practice law or have you joined the bandwagon of former lawyer-turned-mystery author category?
*****I do still practice, I handle criminal matters and generally in court every day.
5. Could you tell us more about your future literary plans? Can we expect another DiAnno thriller in the near future?
*****I have a second book in the works. I wouldn't mind using Jimmy DiAnno again. Assuming he was up for it, of course.
6. Please do elaborate a little bit more about your next project?
****Other than saying it is a book, I believe that "discretion is the better part of valor."
7. Lawyer mysteries are a dime a dozen—and every other lawyer is writing thrillers. So where does Diamondstein and Cloaked in Doubt stand in this wide world of legal thrillers? Rather, how is your novel different from the other works in this genre?
****Since I don't read legal fiction, I can't really compare myself to other authors. I can say that since the book is written from the "first person" perspective you really get into the protagonist’s head. I think that the story has a really strong, realistic flavor to it. I write like a guy that handles criminal cases for a living. I hope that the realism comes through.
Thank You Mr. Diamondstein for this interview. Looking eagerly for your next novel.