Book Review: The Rule of Nine by Steve Martini

51pqzJdT81L._SL250_I write this review on a day which the Indian Judiciary handed down a historical verdict…the death sentence to Lashkar terrorist Ajmal Kasab. Kasab was found guilty of act of war against the state- he and some other terrorists had attacked the Taj Hotel at Mumbai on 26/11/2008- which resulted in the death of 166 persons.  The day 26/11 is to India what 9/11 is to United States.  Death sentence has been awarded to the terrorist and the hard stand taken by the Indian judiciary has been hailed in legal circles…

It is in this context, I write this review. The Judiciary of a Nation is its protector, the last refuge of a citizen whose rights have been violated. But what would happen if the entire Supreme Court of a country is found to be the potential target of terrorists. This is the basic premise upon which Martini bases his new thriller “The Rule of Nine”.

“The Rule of Nine” is in a way a loose sequel to Martini’s 2009 bestseller “The Guardian of Lies.” That novel started with a gruesome murder by an international criminal who goes by the name M. Liqueda aka the Mexicutioner. Liqueda returns in this novel- and “The Rule of Nine” also starts with a murder at the hands of Liqueda. The criminal then places Martini’s visiting card in the victim’s pocket. The police soon questions Martini- and he is informed that the fingerprints reveal the hands of Liqueda. Madriani is warned- but soon becomes a part of the investigative procedure. Slowly it is revealed that a big conspiracy is going on- and that the evil guys plan to destroy the entire Supreme Court in one big strike. How Madriani and his colleagues avert the disaster forms the basic premise of the novel.

I am a big aficionado of Martini novels. Though I respect Madriani in his new avatar as an international figure…for me, I am more interested in Madriani going to the court as a small time defence lawyer, reading the regular Madriani works with nitty-gritty courtroom action. Might be, this is the small town lawyer in me speaking, but nothing can beat the thrill and excitement of what we read in books like “Undue Influence” and “Compelling Evidence”. That said, (this is just my personal, subjective opinion); I am not saying that this is a bad book…on the contrary “The Rule of Nine” is an excellent, gritty, international novel- catering to the taste of contemporary mystery and thriller lovers. And as usual this Madriani (to put it in a cliché) left me both shaken and stirred. Recommended, highly recommended

The Rule of Nine
Steve Martini
William Morrow, Harper Collins (2010)
ISBN 9780061930218
Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan for (05/10)

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