Book Reviews

Fifty-Fifty by Steve Cavanagh Book Review.


  • Fifty-Fifty (Eddie Flynn #5).
  • Steve Cavanagh.
  • 368 pages.
  • Legal Thriller / Psychological Thriller / Mystery.
  • My Rating: Hellyeah Book Review.

fifty cav

Book Blurb.

Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

‘911 what’s your emergency?’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?

Book Review.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Fifty-Fifty starts with a snippet from a chapter that also appears later in the story where the jury has taken just forty-eight minutes to deliberate and reach a verdict on the high-profile murder trial where Eddie Flynn is defending one of two sisters accused of murdering their father. The story then jumps back in time to the beginning, to three months prior and the fateful night when the former mayor of New York City Frank Avellino was murdered in his own home.

Frank was brutally murdered, ravaged by multiple stab wounds that destroyed his face and body, rending flesh, shredding and tearing it to pieces like a predator ravaging its prey. Both sisters made separate calls to 911 on the night of the murder. Firstly, Alexandra saying that her sister Sofia has murdered their father and secondly, a minute later by Sofia saying that her sister Alexandra has murdered their father.

After their mother died Frank sent the two sisters to separate boarding schools and since then they have lived separate lives, they haven’t spoken in years and the animosity between them has festered, poisoned and they have come to hate each other. They have travelled down very different roads, one following the light and the other embracing the dark. Alexandra is stable, successful, whole and has lived her life. While Sofia is unstable, has mental health and addiction problems, is broken and has been left damaged by life. Whichever sister is found innocent will inherit Frank’s $49 million dollar estate.

Eddie has a code that he follows. He won’t take cases where he knows that the client is guilty and trying to get off by pleading innocence. If the client is innocent, Eddie will fight for justice and fight to prove their innocence. If the client is guilty and has admitted their guilt then Eddie will also represent them and help them tell their story in the trial as to what led them to commit the crime. But, if the client is guilty and pleading that they are innocent then Eddie won’t take the case and will walk away. Eddie cares, he has a conscience and wants to see the innocent go free and the guilty punished. He isn’t a lawyer who is in it for the money or the reputation he wants justice to be upheld and served and he is committed to helping the innocent and those who accept their guilt, not liars.

As an ex con-man turned defence lawyer his former profession means that Eddie is good at reading people, seeing things from a different perspective to most other lawyers and when accepting new clients he relies on his instincts that have so far never steered him wrong. His initial impression of Sofia when he first meets her is to believe her when she says that she didn’t killer father. Her words, her demeanour and her eyes all say ‘innocent’ to Eddie and his instincts tell him that she is telling the truth and so, he agrees to take on her case and defend her in the trial.

The trial is a joint trial with one jury and both sisters co-defendants facing the same murder charge. Both sisters can be placed at the scene of the crime at the time of the murder, there is forensic evidence and fingerprints from both are on the murder weapon. Due to the overwhelming evidence Dreyer, the DA is certain of a guaranteed conviction and is looking for either sister or both to be found guilty of murder. Eddie is representing the defendant Sofia Avellino along with Harper, his private investigator and Harry Ford, ex-judge and Eddie’s consultant on the trial. The newly qualified lawyer Kate Brooks is representing the defendant Alexandra Avellino along with Bloch, her childhood best friend, an ex-police officer who is now a private detective and who is acting as Kate’s private investigator for the case.

Eddie is a fantastic main character. He is tattered and in the past, he has made mistakes resulting in pain and loss for himself and for others. With every case that he takes on, he is trying, little by little to balance the scales and atone for those mistakes that have cost him dearly. He is a good guy, charismatic, likeable and the type of character that you find yourself easily rooting for. He doesn’t always play by the rules, he straddles the line between right and wrong using the associates, expertise and knowledge that he learnt during his time as a con-man to aid him and he is a brilliant lawyer.

Kate is also a likeable character and like with Eddie she is someone that you will root for. Her parents sacrificed to put her through law school and she has her own battles to face with misogynistic and sexist older male lawyers and their unwanted advances towards her. Like Eddie with Sofia, she truly believes that Alexandra is the innocent sister. Kate is cut from the same cloth as Eddie as she too cares, has a conscience and shares the same belief that the innocent should go free and the guilty be punished.

Both sisters paint a picture for their innocence and the sister that is the killer does a good job of hiding the monster, the evil within. Maintaining the mask of a human as she plays her deadly game sure that in the end she will be found not guilty, walk free and claim her inheritance while her sister goes to jail to wither away for the rest of her days.

The story in Fifty-Fifty is told through three main perspectives which are those of Eddie, Kate and ‘she’ with occasional journal entries from Frank Avellino spread throughout. The Eddie and Kate chapters move both their investigations and the trial forwards. The ‘she’ chapters focus on the killer and give you insight into their manipulative and twisted mind and the lengths that they will go to in order to bring their master plan to fruition. But which sister is it? Alexandra or Sofia? That is the conundrum that you are faced with and that you will be constantly trying to figure out. During the ‘she’ chapters there are many clues, hints and breadcrumbs laid out by Cavanagh, the master of misdirection as he toys with his reader leading you on a trail that makes you think that one sister is the murderer. Then you will read mention of something else that piques your attention, alters your perspective and that makes you think that no, you were wrong and it isn’t the sister that you originally thought but the other who is the murderer.

Cavanagh writes with flair and a compulsive and easy to read style that has you gripped to the pages. Fifty-Fifty is cleverly constructed and structured with the multiple perspectives used to keep the levels of tension high throughout keeping you on the edge-of-your-seat and continually guessing as to which of Alexandra or Sofia is the murderer. There are some descriptive passages that have a depth to them and moments of emotion and humour included too along with many intense and dramatic courtroom scenes as the trial unfolds and you see the cross-examinations of the experts, the witnesses and their testimonies as both Eddie and Kate fight to prove that their client is the innocent party.

Fifty-Fifty is the brilliant fifth book in the Eddie Flynn series. Full disclosure, I only started reading the series with the previous book Thirteen which ended up being one of the best books that I read on its release in 2018. Fifty-Fifty the latest instalment works perfectly well as a stand-alone and is another addictive, delightfully devilish and artfully plotted roller-coaster by Cavanagh that had me hooked from the start, that I devoured and that I absolutely loved.

Purchase Fifty-Fifty (Eddie Flynn #5) by Steve Cavanagh.

Amazon UK  Amazon US Book Depository

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26 thoughts on “Fifty-Fifty by Steve Cavanagh Book Review.

  1. Great review – I can see now why you enjoyed it so much. It sounds similar to He Said / She Said which I loved … so it looks like I’m now powerless to resist Fifty Fifty!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You didn’t mention if you guessed wrong but I suppose you did cos you certainly would have said otherwise haha.. I think we all need to read more of his novels to get better at guessing! Wonderful review Drew, I was late to the Cavanagh party as well but also thoroughly enjoy his novels now!

    Liked by 1 person

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