An authentic Stradivarius violin turns up in Romania. A Stradivarius is rare enough, but this one is even more special. It is thought to hold the code disclosing the location of a treasure hidden in the fifteenth century. The violin is steeped in haunting mystique: it is believed to have been hidden by Vlad Dracula, whose historic tyranny led to the fabrication of the myth of vampirism. Russian, Chinese, and Romanian gangs centered in Boston want the code and all of them are hot on the trail. Violence is their language―brutality, their technique. And who is hired to see that the treasure lands in the rightful place? None other than Michael Knight with a little help from his senior law partner Lex Devlin and his crony, Billy Coyne, Boston’s deputy district attorney.
Michael uses the thin leverage of his knowledge about the violin to keep each of the three gang leaders at bay, while he follows the chain of historic clues from a violin shop in the Carpathian Mountains to a gangster-infested nightclub in Bucharest, to a university in Istanbul, and back to the gang headquarters of the three competing criminal organizations. Secrets from the past and present collide along the perilous shuttle between Boston and Romania. In the end, what is the righteous solution?
Best-selling author John F. Dobbyn, a graduate of Harvard College, Boston College Law School, and Harvard Law School, is a former professor of law at Villanova Law School where he taught criminal, constitutional, and corporate law. Prior to his teaching career, Dobbyn practiced criminal and civil trial work. He is a frequent contributor to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and he is the author of five award-winning legal thrillers featuring Michael Knight and Lex Devlin. High Stakes is his sixth book in the series. Dobbyn is a Boston native and now resides in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Lois.
An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam’s only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten...
Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada’s life was full of the rich culture of Berlin’s interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna—though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited.
What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope—the ending of which is yet to be written.
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As their investigation exposes the jockey’s role, they become embroiled in a conflict between two Puerto Rican crime gangs. One of these gangs is aligned for the first time with Boston’s Italian Mafia in tapping into almost limitless profits from the illicit trade of exotic and endangered species of wild animals captured in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and smuggled through the shoreline of the Florida Keys.
Working to free their client and to prevent the brutal abuse of these vulnerable animals, Michael and Lex find themselves squarely in the crossfire of rival organized crime gangs from the barrio of Jamaica Plain, Boston, to the gang-dominated streets of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.