Independently Published (2022)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (06/2022)
“Automatic Stay” is the second installment in the 3J series by Mark Shaiken. The novel can be read as a standalone novel and ping-pongs from beguiling to riveting very quickly as it follows Kansas City bankruptcy lawyer Josephine Jillian Jones—3J, with her mentor and colleague, Pascal, as they solve a new case and mystery.
The Rapinoes started their business career as real estate developers, acquiring and operating shopping and strip centers throughout the Midwest. They later turned their attention away from the centers, to develop a combination of fine dining and live music concepts in the Kansas City metropolitan area. When Covid hits, their business is heavily affected and they turn to a private ending outfit owned by Phillip Dewey, an antagonistic and eccentric man who has a well-earned reputation for cutting no deals.
Things do not work out as expected and when an anonymous social media campaign trying to discredit jazz clubs and fighting hard to see their failure breaks out, they turn to 3J and her team, who must race against time to save the collapsing vibrant music industry. A lot is working against them. There’s a chance for justice, but to achieve it, the cost might be too much for some for them to bear.
Mark Shaiken has written a solid and intricately plotted tale that reflects the rich jazz music culture of Kansas City. 3J is a strong female lead and her professional confidence is perceptible throughout the tale.
Phillip’s backstory too, also holds attention. His childhood seeps into his present and explains a lot about his demeanor. Shaiken adeptly blends legal details such as creditors, default payments, lawyers, clients, legal dilemmas, and a propulsive plot with affecting discussions surrounding societal themes such as friendships, relationships, and rectitude.
The author has cleverly used his experience as a lawyer to carve out a coherent legal thriller. The unyielding and vivid prose enlivens even readers who are new to this genre. “Automatic Stay” is a 5 star novel that swiftly moves along with readers navigating its rapines to the end. “Automatic Stay” by Mark Shaiken is a welcome volume for fans of legal fans.