Robert Tanenbaum’s legal series, the Karp-Ciampi collaboration to rid the world of criminals, sociopaths, and all around bad guys, continues with the next installment, Immoral Certainty. At this point, our legal duo is happily ensconced in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, fighting the good fight for the citizens of New York City, while fighting an even bigger fight against the bureaucratic meanderings of their politically machiavellian DA. Ever vigilant in their need to dispose of cases through plea bargains to up their closer rate, our champions of good, still actually even manage to exact a little justice for the People of New York County, while also managing to come to a conclusion to their own personal futures.
Our story unfolds with a look at the old world of New York. The reader is privy to the goings-on of the Mafia controlled underworld of hit men, made-men and capo-de-tutti-capos. A world that for all intense and purposes no longer really exists, but one that ruled parts of New York City for generations.
It took a concerted effort by law enforcement to bring down the Mafia families. Eventually through the combined efforts of the Manhattan DA and the US Attorney’s Office they were able to do it. So here the reader has a straight from the headlines impetus for Butch Karp’s deep dive into the world of the Italian gangster.
A hit gone wrong, with a wheel-man knowing that his only alternative to “sleeping with the fishes” is talking to the DA. It all coalesces with a trip to California, outrunning the Mafia, and a return to Manhattan. We are kept enthralled with this latest adventure. Yet it is with what happens upon Butch’s return from his sojourn, that leaves the reader understanding that the Mafia was not the epitome of the “bad guys.” We learn that in some corners of the world lurks actual true unadulterated evil. A storyline also taken from headlines of that era.
It begins nonchalantly with an off-handed discussion by Marlene with a typist about how odd her child is behaving. Always vigilant, something strikes Ciampi as simply not right, and she is determined to find out what is really going on at the typist’s day care center. This center, a charitable institution located at a local church, is run by a doyenne of the upper crust social registry. But nothing is as it seems.
With this kind of crime, nothing ever is. Marlene is then led into a world, that in today’s day and age has not disappeared, but remains in the shadows of the Dark Web. A world that unfortunately has not been choked off along with the hold on New York City by the Mafia families. A sinister world, which may actually be more far-reaching today than ever before.
True evil exists, and we are taken into that story. It is disturbing, dark and gruesome. It is the destruction of innocence and childhood. And the realization that evil hides itself behind money, power, a smile, and a piece of Belgian chocolate. That needy, neglected children are the most defenseless among our population, and that predators exist out there in society who gladly take advantage of the misbegotten. People are targeted that evil thinks no one will ever miss. People are targeted that evil thinks are expendable.
As usual the court room scenes are top-notch. Allowing the reader to place themselves in the trial as if they were witnessing the real thing first hand. The law is interesting, explained, and triumphant. There is a comeuppance. There is justice. The world is left a little safer.
But there is more to this story, than the courtroom deflections and parries. This time we are taken into a world of survival of the fittest. One where justice is not so kind, but also luckily not blind.