Steve Cavanagh’s stunning novel Fifty-Fifty is the fifth book in his Eddie Flynn series. In this story, with our favourite ex-conman turned lawyer, we are taken on a emotional rollercoaster where nothing is what it seems. It keeps you guessing all the way through and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, it throws a curveball.
A powerful story that makes you question everything, including your own gut instinct, Fifty-Fifty knocks it out of the park as one of the most compelling courtroom drama novels.
Two sisters on trial for murder. Both accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?
Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife.
Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom.
Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury.
But one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be.
You’d be wrong.
Cavanagh is such a powerful crime storyteller. His Eddie Flynn novels are just absolutely incredible and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to get wrapped up in a good series.
It’s not easy to write five books surrounding the one character and keep them different and engaging, but Cavanagh has mastered it.
I loved Fifty-Fifty. It was a bit different from the rest of the series, I thought. Following in the same style as it’s predecessor, Thirteen, it is written from multiple points of view. This didn’t bother me, because I liked reading it from other characters. If you didn’t you would have lost that element of suspense. You wouldn’t have saw the other sides, and you might not have liked the characters of Kate and Bloch as much.
It’s also different in other ways, I felt there was less action-drama in this story. Don’t get me wrong, it is packed with plenty drama and unexpected twists. It keeps you unsure all the way through. As soon as you think you know who the killer is, everything turns on its head.
What I mean by less action-drama is that it takes us through a more powerful, emotional journey than the other stories.
In Fifty-Fifty, Cavanagh weaves very strong themes throughout the entire story. Themes of justice, grief, loss, sexism, sexual harassment, gut instinct, and trust.
Eddie is going through a really difficult emotional time. I won’t say why, because that will spoil it, but he’s dealing with a lot of grief and it clouds his vision. He can’t see properly through this level of pain. Normally he can take pain and adrenaline and turn it into an asset. But this time it cripples him.
He starts to see people and things differently, and in doing so, Cavanagh takes us though this emotional journey where we get to see the depth of humanity.
Eddie has always believed in the good in people. Even those who do wrong or who are wrong, he still sees something good and something redeemable in them. It’s his gift.
But the events of the novel make him question his outlook.
At the beginning of the novel Eddie tells us:
“I’d met and fought with men and women who did evil things, but I put it down to purely human weaknesses – greed, lust, rage, or desire. Some people were sick, too. In the head.”– Steve Cavanagh, Fifty-Fifty
But he then explains that this might not be true, and we see the shift in him, the toll that pain and grief and doubt have taken on him.
“There is such a thing as a good person. Someone who does good things because they enjoy it. When, then, can’t the opposite be true? Why can’t a person just be evil because they enjoy it?”– Steve Cavanagh, Fifty-Fifty
When we go through this journey with Eddie, by the end of the novel we learn the important lesson that I believe Cavanagh was setting us up for. Which is this: no one is solely good or purely evil, people are layers and layers of everything – we are complicated, flawed creatures with poor memories and great hit for self-destruction. But we are also capable of love, of forgiveness, and it’s worth looking for the good and fighting for those who deserve it.
At the end of the novel, Eddie comes to a realisation:
“Justice is not about right and wrong. People make mistakes. Criminals and jurors alike. Verdicts are often flawed because people are flawed.”– Steve Cavanagh, Fifty-Fifty
The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. No one is born evil or sigs up to be a monster.
It happens to people, seemingly ordinary people, and they make questionable choices, for what they might feel to be very good reasons. They make choice after choice, and it adds up. But the person doing it will believe they have noble reasons and valid explanations for doing so. No one is ever the villain of their own story.
What we can’t forget to do is always look for and see the good in people. That’s what makes all the bad stuff in the world worth it.