Face Value – A Rachel Gold Mystery
As St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold knows firsthand, the grueling hours and demands of Big Law take their toll on young lawyers. Some turn to drugs, some quit the profession, and occasionally one quits altogether. According to the medical examiner, Sari Bashir quit altogether on that Thursday night. That’s when she fell to her death from the eighth floor of the downtown garage where she parked her car.
The police ruled her death a suicide. Stanley Plotkin, however, rules it a homicide. Stanley is the weird mailroom clerk at Sari’s law firm, but he is also a true genius. Among his obsessions is the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), a massive compilation that correlates hundreds of facial muscle actions with specific emotions and mental states. For someone like Stanley, whose Asperger’s Syndrome renders him incapable of intuiting emotions from facial expressions, his mastery of FACS has caused him to conclude that Sari did not kill herself.
Rachel had been close with Sari, who worked for her during law school. She also knows Stanley—and his quirkiness and his genius—because their mothers are friends. Thus when Stanley announces his conclusion to Rachel as she drives him home from Sari’s memorial service, she can’t simply dismiss it. And when Sari’s father pleads with Rachel to review the police file on his daughter’s suicide, she reluctantly starts down a path that will lead into the heart of a dark criminal enterprise in which Sari was simply collateral damage. to Rachel as she drives him.
About Michael A. Kahn (St. Louis, Missouri Author)
Michael Kahn is a trial lawyer by day and an award-winning author at night. He wrote his first novel, Grave Designs, on a challenge from his wife Margi, who got tired of listening to the same answer whenever she asked him about a book he was reading. "Not bad," he would say, "but I could write a better book than that." "Then write one, honey," she finally said, "or please shut up." So he shut up for a long time, and then he wrote one.
A former elementary school teacher, Mike is the author of The Dead Hand and 9 other Rachel Gold novels; a legal thriller, The Mourning Sexton, under the pen name Michael Baron; and The Sirena Quest (2015), a stand-alone novel that he describes, in Hollywood jargon, as "a Baby Boomer version of 'The Big Chill' meets 'The Maltese Falcon.'" His latest novel, Played!, features, as Booklist wrote, "the same sharp dialogue, wit, and clever plotting his fans have come to expect." He is also the author of numerous short stories, including the three collected in A Handful of Gold.
In addition to his day job as a lawyer, he is an adjunct professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches a class on censorship and free expression. Married to his high school sweetheart, he is the father of five and the grandfather of, so far, five.