Toronto’s leading radio host Kevin Brace greets the newspaper deliveryman at the front door of his luxury condo, covered in blood, a confession on his lips.  His beautiful common-law wife lies dead in the bathtub. The crime appears to be solved before the first chapter is over, but the way the case unfolds makes Old City Hall, by newcomer Robert Rotenberg, an exciting addition to the legal thriller genre.  

Like Scott Turow and John Grisham, Rotenberg is a criminal lawyer turned writer with almost 20 years of legal practice behind him. Old City Hall is a tightly plotted thriller, but what lifts this book to the next level is the engaging cast of characters, from the legal workers right down to the Iranian doorman at Brace’s condo. And Rotenberg writes with relish of the neighborhoods, architecture, and multicultural population of his beloved hometown of Toronto. He is sure to have some avid fans by the close of this striking debut—which luckily contains signs of a sequel in the works.

This review originally appeared with the hardcover edition.

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