Book Review: Face Value by Michael A. Kahn – Suicide or Murder?

face value

Face Value (a Rachel Gold Mystery)

By Michael A. Kahn

253 pages

Rachel Gold, attorney at law, knows being a lawyer can be tough. When her friend Sari Bashir left work and instead of getting into her car leapt to her death from the eight floor of the parking deck, Rachel was devastated. They met in law school; Sari worked for Rachel as a law clerk, and had landed a job with a prestigious firm in St. Louis.

Everyone at her memorial service rained accolades upon Sari. No one could believe they missed the cues she felt despondent, leading her down the path to take her own life. Perhaps she hid her sadness or became overcome with living the high stress life of a lawyer. On the way home from the service, Rachel was joined by Stanley Plotkin and Jerry Klunger, two of the mailroom workers for the law firm.

Stanley and Rachel’s mother are friends. He is a brilliant man who wears the stigma of  living with Asperger’s syndrome. Jerry helps smooth Stanley’s rough edges and makes sure he doesn’t have problems at work. This unlikely friendship has helped Stanley function in a society that often misunderstands him.

During the ride home from the memorial service, Stanley states that Sari did not kill herself, but was, in fact, murdered. Rachel doesn’t really know what to make of his revelation. He is not one to make things up, he lives by the truth no matter how his words affect those around him. After he starts laying out the evidence, Rachel realizes he could be right. So begins her journey to find out who and why someone killed her friend.

Most likely the killer is a member of the law firm. Rachel figures out a way to allow Stanley to observe each of them talking about Sari so he can use the facial expression recognition skills he has been taught to see who is lying or uncomfortable. This gives Rachel a high profile list of suspects.

Rachel soon uncovers a web of deceit that is bigger than she could have imagined. If she keeps pushing the killer, it might backfire, making her the second woman to die for uncovering the secret.

These characters are a hoot. All of them have great quirks, just like your co-workers or family members. The layers and depth makes them relatable, therefore likeable. Add them to the solid mystery, and you have a great read. Face Value has the perfect mix of humor, plot twists and smart, snappy dialog to make this a page turner with a satisfying end.

I can’t believe I have never read any of Kahn’s Rachel Gold’s mysteries. This is the ninth in the series, but worked well as a stand-alone novel. I plan to catch up on the series so I can get to know these crazy lovable characters better while enjoying Kahn’s writing along the way.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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