Sons whose fathers had troubled pasts intersect in a high-profile drug trafficking trial in Manhattan federal court, dubbed by the media “The Safe Sex Sausage Caper” because the drugs were concealed in condoms inside sausages.
These sons – defense lawyer Corbin Flame, accused drug dealer Ricardo Robledo, prosecutor Jaxon Bjornsten, Judge Justin Kendall, private eye Bart Viella, and mob lawyer Nick Annunzio – confront the sins and shortcomings of their fathers in a dark scenario featuring disguises, duplicity, offshore bank accounts, sailplanes, sex, treachery, and trial action rendered convincingly by an author who has been both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.
Not since The Bonfire of the Vanities has a writer shone so realistic and compelling a light behind the scenes of a criminal case.
Set primarily in Manhattan, Misguided also takes the reader to upstate New York, the Jersey shore, the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Salamanca and Jerez, and to the Pyrenees, where its plot begins and ends in the tiny principality of Andorra. In this journey readers will savor more than the twists and turns of an exciting plot built around a criminal case, for Misguided is a serious novel that explores the psychology of its characters, without heroes but with hubris as a villain. How their personalities and actions were influenced by their fathers supplies a trans-generational dimension invoking the ancient admonition: “The gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children.”
Primary among these characters is Corbin Flame, a former Manhattan Assistant D.A. now turned criminal defense lawyer, whose egocentricity rivals that of Sherman McCoy in The Bonfire of the Vanities. He is self-absorbed, narcissistic, obsessive, and conflicted about his parents, Holocaust survivors suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, whose over-protectiveness he blames for having deprived him of a normal childhood.
Misguided features characters flawed by their fathers’ propensities who – as the novel builds toward its stunning climax – suffer fates proportionally, much as the miscreants in Dante’s Inferno are consigned to Circles of Hell commensurate with their sins.