Danny Renko is not your normal crime novel protagonist. Out-of-shape, cerebral, and somewhat of a nerd, he never-the-less resonates as a normal guy stuck in a difficult situation. How he goes about addressing this situation is what makes Death of a Prosecutor so enjoyable.
Renko is a numbers guy. He sits and goes through accounting ledgers to ferret out crimes. He is not the gun-toting cop nor even the clever courtroom lawyer. He is good at what he does, but there is not much glamor to it. When his best friend, a fellow assistant attorney is killed in an auto accident, something doesn't quite sit right with him, and when his friend's wife asks him to look into her husband's death, he agrees. This leads him down the path where secrets abound and puts his own life into jeopardy.
Characterization in this novel is superb. Each character is well-developed and has his or her own voice. Renko is smart, but his wife is smarter. He imagines snappy comebacks and even violent reactions to those who tick him off, but he never acts on them. He lusts a bit after his dead friend's wife, but then goes into spasms of guilt for even thinking about her in that way. In short, he is just like all the rest of us: complicated, yet real.
Some scenes are quite frankly funny. A most enjoyable chase scene, if I can call it that, is when Renko is being chased by a criminal. Both men are out-of-shape, and each man has to stop regularly to catch his breath, hands on knees and doubled over.
There were a few issues with mistakes made about military units and jargon as well as with survival techniques, but while I am no expert in the office of the DA, all of what I read had the feeling of accuracy. Given the author's background, though, I would expect that he would have that aspect of the story down pat.
One aspect I really appreciated was the author's ability to put in side stories and anecdotes which gave fullness and color to the story without detracting from the pace. I have the feeling that many of these were based on actual events witnessed by the author in the course of his career. Real or completely fictional, they really did add to the novel and made for a much more enjoyable read.
I had a minor issue with Renko's conversations with himself. To me, they read too much like an actual, verbal conversation with another person with actual cadence, word choice, and construction. I don't believe people are that structured in their thoughts. It might have helped if his thoughts were set off in italics, as in most novels, rather than in the same quotation marks used in actual dialogue with others.
My biggest issue, though, is with formatting. I read this on a Kindle, and paragraphs were neither indented nor separated by an empty line (as in this review.) Each and every line in this novel went to the far left margin, and each new line, to include the first line in each new paragraph, immediately followed the line preceding it. This felt quite awkward to me and made it harder for me to organize the flow of the story in my mind. If this story gets republished, I would heartily recommend either indenting each paragraph or at least skipping a line between each one.
Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable book. I hope there are more tales in store of Danny Renko.