John F. Dobbyn
Oceanview, Mar 1 2010, $25.95
Best friends John McKedrick and Michael Knight graduate from Harvard Law with each accepting a professional position with a legal Bostonian legend. Michael works for his mentor trial attorney Lex Devlin; John becomes an associate of notorious mob lawyer Benny Ignola.
Michael is worried about John as the longer one is associated with the lawyer to mid mob management, the more difficult it would be to practice law in cleaner circumstances. Michael’s fears for his buddy prove underestimated when he awakens in the hospital having survived the car bomb blast that killed John, mob style. The police arrest Peter Santangelo, son of the Mafia chief Dominic. Lex asks his junior partner to defend Peter as the former muses how three friends four decades ago, (Lex, Dominic and Father Matt Ryan) chose diverse paths, but are brought back together due to two friends choosing different paths.
Mindful of Cagney-O’Brien in Angels with Dirty Faces, Frame-Up is a terrific character driven legal thriller that is at its best when the focus is on two generations of best friends going down diverse paths. The story line remains exhilarating, but loses some of the profundity of comparing decisions of seemingly similar people when Michael follows clues re illegal art sales to Amsterdam. Still fans will relish John F. Dobbyn’s superb tale with plenty of dirty rats, beautiful women, but no grapefruit.