FeaturedLegal Thriller

Dead By Proxy


Loved it! 😍

High-octane action and rich characterizations power this skillful weft of intrigue, suspense, and legal thriller. I couldn’t put it down!

Most people don’t get to attend their own funeral. Or hear their eulogy. But criminal defense attorney Byron Douglas does both in this gripping legal thriller by Manning Wolfe. Indeed, it’s a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire for Byron Douglas in this riveting read that expertly teams courtroom drama and legal maneuvering with imminent danger, spine-tingling suspense, a touch of romance, and non-stop action. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

Byron Douglas is a New York defense attorney. He’s counsel for Irish mobster Killian Tyrone. Tyrone is accused of murdering a confidential FBI informant at the say-so of his mobster boss, Tua Dannon. When the jury returns a guilty verdict for Tyrone, Dannon and” his gang” blame Douglas for the verdict. And they aim to settle the score. Permanently. Byron thinks he’s in the clear because Tyrone has fired him and secured other legal counsel. So Byron’s no longer the attorney of record.

Not so fast. Or easy.

Unbeknownst to Byron, Dannon has placed a bounty on Tyrone “in the furtherance of self-preservation.” With Tyrone out of the way for good, the Gaffer’s next target is Byron. And Bryon knows it. When Byron’s lawyer associate and dear friend, Michael, is gunned down in apparent hit on Byron gone awry, Byron realizes the Irish mob is playing for keeps. If he wants to survive, Byron better come up with a plan. A Real Doozy. Fast.

So Bryon fakes his own death by diving off a ferry into the icy waters of the Hudson River. Almost everyone thinks the lawyer is dead. Almost.

Resurfacing later, Byron reinvents himself. Living under an assumed name with a new ID, Byron flees West, planning on earning moola by gambling, his “second best skill.” When it seems his cover is blown in Reno, he flees to his roots in Houston, Texas – and assumes the identity of a longtime friend and fellow attorney, Quinton Bell.

It seems Bell practiced law in Florida before getting involved in the drug trade. Bell fell in with some pretty unsavory types. After his law license is yanked, Bell drops out of sight and is presumed dead. In fact, Bell’s father, a Houston judge, positively ID’s the body. Sort of. What happens next is sheer genius – or insane – when Byron takes over Quinton Bell’s identity with the help of the judge.

But the plot thickens. With just enough foreshadowing to keep you guessing. And turning pages. Tip: Don’t start this book late at night. If you do, you’ll be turning pages into the wee hours to find out What Happens Next! (Don’t ask how I know that. I also missed dinner. Just sayin'.)


Will Byron be able to fool the Irish mob? What about the FBI? His new law firm in Houston?  Quinton’s jilted girlfriend, Joanne West? And oh yeah. Byron/Quinton soon finds himself as defense counsel in another murder case. This one hits close to home. Too close.  And without giving too much away, let’s just say there’s more than meets the eye with Judge Bell.

In the meantime, Tua Dannon and the Irish mob haven’t forgotten about Byron. They’re not buying his death by drowning disappearance in the Hudson River. They’re also wondering: If they didn’t kill Byron and West didn’t kill him, then who did? It’ll take all of Bryon/Quinton’s prodigious legal skills to find a way out of this quandary. Because he’s up to his proverbial eyebrows in near misses, dead ends, and desperation.

Tightly written and as tense as a wound watch spring, this book runs on high octane from chapter one to the last page. Wolfe’s expertly crafted descriptions and word pictures draw you in from the get-go. For example, the descriptions of Riker’s Island and the lifers incarcerated there will have you checking shadows and watching your rear-view mirror.

Readers are also pulled into Byron’s emotions, mental state, and desperate race against time as he tries to stay one step ahead of the Mob. There’s also adrenaline fatigue, disguises, acute vigilance and raw fear.

Masterfully told, Dead by Proxy features sturdy writing, a brisk pace, and crisp, credible dialogue. Ditto an agile plot and full-bodied characters, all with richly textured back stories. (Think Ben Matlock, Dr. Richard Kimble, Jake Brigance or Mitch McDeere.)

Finally, reading this book is like jumping into a Maserati and going ninety miles an hour with your hair on fire. From start to finish. So you might want to buckle up. Additionally, Dead by Proxy has more plot twists and turns than San Francisco’s Lombard Street. Any way you slice it, Dead by Proxy is one heckuva barn burner.

Adult fans of John Grisham, David Baldacci, or Marcia Clark will enjoy this skillful weft of action, intrigue, suspense, and legal thriller. I couldn’t put it down! I’d grab a copy now, ’fize you - preferably before dinner.

One more thing. The door is left open for a sequel. Yes, please!

My Rating: 4.5

Reviewed by

Lifelong bibliophile. Library Board Member. Select book reviews featured on my blog and Goodreads, etc. I'm a frank but fair reviewer, averaging 400+ books/year in a Wide Variety of genres on multiple platforms. Over 1,000 published reviews.

Chapter One

About the author

MANNING WOLFE writes fast-paced thrillers and suspense, and was featured on Oxygen’s Accident, Suicide, or Murder. * Manning’s legal thriller series features attorney Merit Bridges. * Her new Proxy Legal Thrillers Series features attorney Quinton Bell. * Co-author of 13 Bullet Books Speed Reads. view profile

Published on September 18, 2023

Published by Starpath Books, LLC

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Legal Thriller

Reviewed by