Legacy, by Bill Mesce Jr, opens with the brutal killing of a man at a minor league ball game. The incident is caught on camera and replayed on multiple media outlets. The perpetrator, a decorated veteran, appears as stunned as anyone about what he has done.
New York based forensic psychologist Dante DiMarchese is called in as a consultant. This is not his only case. He is also working with lawyers on an inheritance dispute between siblings contesting their father’s will. The old man is still alive but his son claims he did not have the mental capacity to make the pertinent changes.
Alongside this DiMarchese is under pressure from his publisher to pitch a book idea and then create the work by the end of the year. DiMarchese made his name, and a great deal of money, from his first publication, about a serial killer. Now the killer is threatening an exposure that could bring down the man widely credited with putting him away.
DiMarchese is not a likeable guy. He is vain, arrogant and contemptuous of those who do not emulate his affectations. He surrounds himself with carefully selected, expensive accoutrements, congratulating himself on his impeccable taste. He judges others on what they wear, where they eat and the decor in their homes. He is diligent in ensuring he cannot be found wanting in any of these areas.
DiMarchese’s determination to be cultured and stylish – never plebian – comes at a cost. He has few friends. Nevertheless he is good at his job for which he garners grudging respect.
As the cases he is working on progress chinks in the personal armour DiMarchese has built appear. He recognises something of himself in a woman he derides. He starts to question the human cost of his ambition.
This is not a morality tale but rather a peeling back of layers in a life carefully constructed. DiMarchese enjoys the fruits of his labours. In distancing himself from his background he has achieved his aspirations, but left behind those who would care for him. It is a sterile success.
The author has created an interesting protagonist. The cases are deftly presented and progressed with a supporting cast that add colour and depth. I felt expertly manipulated as my views on DiMarchese evolved, each freshly exposed layer of his character inviting increasing empathy. A proficient, enjoyable read.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Impress.