Old City Hall – Robert Rotenberg


Kevin Brace, Canada’s most famous radio personality, stands in the doorway of his luxury condominium, hands covered in blood, and announces to his newspaper delivery man: “I killed her.” His wife lies dead in the bathtub, fatally stabbed. It would appear to be an open-and-shut case.

The trouble is, Brace refuses to talk to anyone—including his own lawyer—after muttering those incriminating words. With the discovery that the victim was actually a self-destructive alcoholic, the appearance of strange fingerprints at the crime scene, and a revealing courtroom cross-examination, the seemingly simple case takes on all the complexities of a hotly contested murder trial.

In the tradition of defence lawyers turned authors like Scott Turow and John Grisham, Robert Rotenberg delivers a legal thriller rich with his forensic skill and insider knowledge, taking readers on a tour of Toronto from the Don Jail to the towers of Bay Street and into the shadowy corridors of the Old City Hall courthouse.

I really loved this book and it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. The plot is imaginative, intricate, and there were some amazing characters introduced in this novel.

This book takes place in Toronto, which was an aspect I really enjoyed. Even though I’ve never been to Toronto, I’m still oddly sentimental about books that take place in Canada. The book starts off strong with an introduction to some supporting characters before the murder is mentioned. The plot of this novel is such a surprise and it shocked me on a number of occasions. There was nothing clichéd or predictable about this mystery.

Even though the murder mystery aspect of this book is central, the part I enjoyed the most was the characterization. I’ve read a lot of books this year, but this had the best characters out of any of them. They were well-defined and unique, which is a really big change from the rest of the books I’ve been reading. What I appreciated the most was that not only did we learn about the main characters and get a complete idea about their personalities, but we also get to learn about the secondary characters as well. Everybody who was even slightly important to the plot was fleshed out with a rich back-story.

The only thing I was a little irritated by was the ending. The resolution of this book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and it could have been less open-ended. However, it makes sense since this is the starting book to a series. I’m such a fan of Robert Rotenberg now that I’ll be checking out all his other books as well. This is an excellent mystery novel and I highly recommend it.


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