Contempt by Michael Cordell is a pretty good thriller. It is not perfect, and more on that later, but Contempt makes for a good, satisfying read.

The premise is brilliant real estate attorney Thane Banning gains his freedom after spending five years in jail for the murder of an assistant D.A. Banning then decides to defend a small-time second-story man for the murder of the detective that arrested Banning. For some reason, the D.A takes on the case himself.

Banning does like every detective or attorney in every mystery novel and gets himself some muscle as a sidekick. His name is Gideon Spence. Michael Cordell does a good job with Gideon as a secondary character. Another secondary character is Kristin Peterson. She is going to graduate law school in a few months and figures being Thane Banning’s assistant in a high profile case can only do good for her employment chances.

Cordell does a good job of moving the story along. Contrary to some mystery novelists, Cordell does not make the mistake of having so many characters the reader can’t figure out who’s who. There are also no chapters that read like filler or padding.

I have two problems with Contempt by Michael Cordell. The first is Thane Banning picks up the bloody knife next to the assistant D.A.’s body when he hears a noise. No attorney, be it real estate or not, would pick up a bloody knife next to a body. Few people would.

The second problem I have is the detective that gets killed, Gruber, kept things on diskettes and there is a missing one. Diskettes? Really? No matter how old or unkept the detective was, diskettes were no longer in use ten to fifteen years ago. Also, it is not as if he didn’t have the money for a better computer. As for the missing diskette, unless the thief had time to read all of them, how did he know which one to take?

The diskette thing made me think Contempt has been floating around the publishing world for a while and nobody thought about correcting that detail when it finally got published.

That said, if that is the case, I do not understand why it tood so long for this Michael Cordell mystery to get published. It is a good read and that’s all you want sometimes. Kudos to TCK Publishing for picking up Contempt.

Cool cover by the way.

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