Posted by EPL patron and guest blogger, Irv S.
Michael Kahn can produce a well-written mystery, fun to read, and without the gore so common to the genre. Face Value (copyright 2014) is an excellent example. The death of a young, brilliant associate of a prestigious St. Louis law firm has occurred before the prologue. Very soon the police close the case as an apparent suicide. Stanley Plotkin, mail room boy at the firm suffers from Aspbergers syndrome. On the scantiest of evidence he opines that the death was a homicide. His amazing knowledge of Facial Action Coding, which provides some interesting reading, furnishes the keys to the proof and solving of the murder.
The characters, in addition to Stanley, include a Washington U. anti-trust professor, a former policeman working as a security guard, a clever female lawyer/investigator, her transgender partner (formerly a steel worker in Granite City), and two delightful Jewish mothers, all of whom are interesting, some quite complex. The principal characters are lawyers or employed by lawyers but this is not a courtroom novel, rather it is a fascinating whodunit.
The novel is replete with references to familiar St. Louis landmarks. It is a quick, enjoyable, and edifying read.