Conviction by Michael Cordell

Publisher: TCK Publishing

Date of publication: November 14th, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Series: Thane Banning

Contempt—Book 1

Conviction—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

Goodreads Synopsis:


He orchestrated a murder. Now he must defend the man charged with the crime.

Thane Banning is ready for a fresh start. He survived 5 years in Forsman Prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and now he’s started a law firm to defend the innocent. But the past won’t stay buried for long.

Kilo Miller, a violent felon who tried to kill Thane in prison, is charged with Joseph Crowell’s murder, and Thane agrees to take the case. Thane knows for certain that Kilo didn’t kill Crowell—because Thane knows who did. It’s a secret he must protect in order to keep his family safe, but LAPD’s top detective is getting closer to the truth.

When strong evidence surfaces implicating Kilo in the murder, Thane discovers that conspiracy runs deep in L.A.’s court system. But proving Kilo’s innocence could reveal Thane’s own dark history and send him back to death row.

With help from his colleagues Gideon and Kristen, Thane must uncover who is framing Kilo and targeting his associates before he loses the case—and even his freedom. His conviction to represent the innocent forces him to face the ultimate test:

Is he willing to let an innocent man go to prison to avoid his own life sentence?

First Line:

When the shiv plunged into his side, Thane didn’t even realize he’d been stabbed.

Conviction by Michael Cordell

When I read the blurb for Conviction, I was intrigued. While I read many books (and stress a lot), I rarely read legal thrillers. So, I accepted the invitation, and I am glad I did. This book is an important book to read.

Conviction is the second book in the Thane Banning series. Unlike most other books in other series, readers can read this one as a standalone. The author briefly explained what happened in book one and brought up other characters/events. But the book primarily focused the what Thane, Kristin, and Gideon were doing for their current clients.

The plot of Conviction was intriguing. Thane Banning is a lawyer who had spent five years on death row, convicted of a murder he didn’t do. After being released, he started a law firm to defend people falsely accused of crimes. Almost simultaneously, two cases come across his desk. One case involves Gideon’s nephew. Arrested after delivering a package to a house for a friend, Gus is held in prison. But a dirty cop threatens to send him to jail for a long time if he doesn’t tell him what he wants to hear. The other case involves the inmate who tried to kill Thane. He had been arrested for the murder of Thane’s mentor. Thane knows that he is innocent. Why? Because Thane knows who killed his mentor. As the lawyers work with their clients, they realize that the corruption of the police and DA’s office runs much deeper than they initially thought. Can they prove the innocence of their clients? Or will their clients go to jail on false charges?

Conviction takes place entirely in Los Angeles. The author didn’t bring Hollywood or the actors up. Instead, he focused on the everyday people that live there-the good, the bad, and the morally gray people. I enjoyed it.

The author amazingly wrote the main characters in Conviction. There was depth to them that I wasn’t expecting. And the secondary characters added an extra oomph to the storyline.

  • Thane: I enjoyed his character. He was as morally gray as a character could get. He understood what it was like inside prison. He also emphasized with the family members whose loved ones were falsely accused. I also liked his investigation style. It was a little unorthodox but never crossed the line where the evidence would be inadmissible in court.
  • Gideon: I enjoyed his scenes. I don’t know why he was in prison or how he got out (it was probably explained in book 1), but I do know, from what I read, that it was justified. Gideon had no issue using his size to intimidate people into giving him information (thinking of his nephew’s friends).
  • Kristin: I wouldn’t say I liked her character as much as the other two. She was almost too abrasive in some scenes and weak in others. She did hit her stride, though, during Kilo’s trial. Her takedown of that detective was muah (chef’s kiss).
  • Gus: I was enraged for him. He was done dirty by his friends (mostly Jamie but also Andre, to an extent). I couldn’t believe what I was reading when he was arrested and held in jail. He wasn’t even allowed a phone call, which ticked me off. And then to listen to the detective say what he did. My blood boiled. I know this is a reality of POC daily, and it sickens me.
  • Kilo: OK, so when Kilo was introduced, and Thane agreed to take his case, I had the same reaction as everyone else in the office. Why? But only some things are what it seems with Kilo, and I was surprised at what was revealed., and I was surprised at what was revealed. I loved how dedicated his wife was to him. I was rooting for him to be found not guilty.

The secondary characters, as I mentioned, were just as well-written as the main ones. I did have my favorites. I loved the saucy (and snarky) Letitia. She had me nodding my head during her scenes. So much of what she said is true. Cricket was my other favorite. She was a ten-year-old hacker Thane was representing for free and was terrific. She stole the scenes every time she appeared. I loved that she was repentant for what she did and told Thane that she would keep doing it. I hope she is made more of a main character in upcoming books.

Conviction fits very well into the thriller genre. I was kept on edge the entire time and didn’t know what would happen from one chapter to the next. That is the way someone should write a legal thriller. There was a point where I thought Kilo wouldn’t get off. I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to know what would happen.

The author amazingly wrote the main storyline. It was a twisty, turny storyline that (along with the thriller angle) kept me glued to the book. I had doubts that Thane could keep himself from being implicated in his mentor’s death, and the author did nothing to dissuade me from thinking about that.

The secondary storylines were just as good as the main one. They added additional information and background on several secondary characters and the main ones.

The end of Conviction was a nail-biter. As stated above, I worried for Kilo and Gus. But, after a major twist (I saw it coming and relished it), the author had an ending that I enjoyed and loved. I cannot wait to read book three when it comes out.

Three things I like about Conviction:

  • The characters (primary and secondary). They were believable and well-fleshed out.
  • The social justice issues that the author addressed.
  • The storylines. They were all well-written.

Three things I disliked about Conviction:

  • Detective Malone. He was as slimy as they come, and I hope he gets what is coming.
  • Stick (Andre’s brother). He was an evil man, and I hope he gets what is coming.
  • The ex-DA. He kept showing up on Thane’s runs. It gave me stalky vibes.

I would recommend Conviction to anyone over 21. There is moderate violence, language, and sexual situations. There is also a scene where Kristin is physically assaulted in her apartment.

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