Picks and Pans Review: Undue Influence

updated 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Steve Martini

Beach Book of the Week

BEING BLURBED BY JOHN GRISHAM "A master of the genre" is pretty good even for Martini, whose thrillers (Compelling Evidence, Prime Witness) have almost 4 million copies in print, Martini isn't as fluent as Grisham, and his grammar and syntax are shaky. But he knows how to grip a reader. The hook here is a hotshot lawyer honoring his dead wife by defending her wayward sister, charged with murdering her ex's new spouse. Martini, a former trial attorney, is fascinating on legal strategy. His plot within a plot stars that durable villain the federal government. The ending sputters, but even then the obligatory shoot-out and twisty revelations do not seem as silly as they might. (Putnam, $22.95)

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