Mike has published three stand-alone novels–Played!, Sirena Quest, and The Mourning Sexton–along with ten novels in his Rachel Gold mystery series. They are:
Every law firm has its backroom bench of brilliant workaholic nerds ferocious in their commitment to the law and to their clients. Such a player is Milton Bernstein of Abbott & Windsor. He’s highly valued by the partners for his skills, but untested in the courtroom.
Milton’s younger brother, Hal, is his polar opposite-strikingly handsome, a high-school baseball legend in St. Louis who was on his way to the major leagues until he destroyed his prospects in a motorcycle accident. Hal had been, and still is, the adored Bernstein brother–worshipped by his mother, his aunts, and the rest of his family, plus all the high school and college cheerleaders. Milton has learned to live with his lower star-power while Hal unabashedly admires Milton’s career and happy marriage.
Neither brilliant nor driven, Hal has to face up to earning a living. For now he’s killing time as a lifeguard at an exclusive country club. His days at the pool are mostly filled with women, kids, and fantasies about the hot babe called Cherry.
But the lives of both brothers are about to change. Cherry, the bombshell third wife of St. Louis’ most shark-like litigator, Leonard Pitt, unexpectedly turns Hal’s advances around. They become lovers. Coincidentally, Milton becomes the attack dog behind litigation to nail Pitt for running an insurance scam on his injured clients.
Tangling with the Pitts is a game-changer for both brothers. Everyone is a tool of someone else. The players’ roster widens to include a judge who’s nursed a 30-year grudge against Pitt, the judge’s astute clerk, and a crooked cop. Then Milton suddenly finds himself fielding Hal’s arrest for kidnapping and murder.
Played! is fast-moving, fun and, at its core, a story of brotherly love and loyalty. And baseball.
“… the spectacle of these ornaments of the Missouri bar attacking, undermining, and double-crossing each other provides brisk, sprightly entertainment, and the hapless defendant’s baseball background comes into play just when it’s most needed.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Readers who enjoy legal procedurals will find the complex reasoning involved in these cases satisfying. Kahn, a lawyer with a good sense of humor, uses a light touch to make complicated points of law accessible and even enjoyable as mystery fare.” — Booklist
Purchase Played! now.
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“Dead hand” is the English translation of the Latin term “mortmain,” which the law dictionary defines as “the influence of the past regarded as controlling the present.” For Rachel Gold, a more accurate term would be “zombies.” In particular, the wealthy zombies who seek to control the living—and especially their families—from the grave through legal documents prepared before they died.
“Both cases spring gorgeous plot twists that keep recasting the hapless litigants in new and ever more unflattering roles. Both are ripe with the promise of legal and ethical complications that Kahn (Sheer Gall, 2015, etc.) seizes with unholy glee … A high-water mark in this inventive, ebullient series.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Kahn’s signature diverting and snappy banter is a plus.” —Publishers Weekly
Buy The Dead Hand now.
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The New York Times Sunday Magazine piece famously opened: “She has pouting lips and high round breasts. Thousands of men have dreamt of her. Hundreds have chased after her. Two have died in pursuit. Her name is Sirena, she weighs 193 pounds, and she vanished in 1959. Without a trace.”
Barrett College’s legendary Greco-Roman sculpture’s fate was still a hot topic in 1970 when four roommates began their freshman year at the New England school. They’ve gone their separate ways for years. But as the 1994 commencement approaches, they are about to reunite to meet a challenge thrown down by a Class of ’59 hedge-fund billionaire. He has pledged a $25 million endowment plus a $3 million purse to her finder(s) if Sirena is restored to Barrett by June 17th, the date of his 35th reunion, the college’s sesquicentennial celebration—and our foursome’s 20th class reunion.
Although they are not alone in their pursuit—groups of alumni, including a pair of aggressive and highly-financed classmates, are running down leads across the world—St. Louis lawyer Lou Solomon and his crew come upon an obscure but intriguing clue. It leads them to Chicago where a young lawyer called Rachel Gold may hold key information. As the men race to crack the Sirena puzzle, their quest will transform their lives in unexpected ways.
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As St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold knows firsthand, the grueling hours and demands of Big Law take their toll on young
lawyers. Some turn to drugs, some quit the profession, and occasionally one quits altogether. According to the medical examiner, Sari Bashir quit altogether on that Thursday night. That’s when she fell to her death from the eighth floor of the downtown garage where she parked her car.
The police ruled her death a suicide. Stanley Plotkin, however, rules it a homicide. Stanley is the weird mailroom clerk at Sari’s law firm, but he is also a true genius. Among his obsessions is the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), a massive compilation that correlates hundreds of facial muscle actions with specific emotions and mental states. For someone like Stanley, whose Asperger’s Syndrome renders him incapable of intuiting emotions from facial expressions, his mastery of FACS has caused him to conclude that Sari did not kill herself.
Rachel had been close with Sari, who worked for her during law school. She also knows Stanley—and his quirkiness and his genius—because their mothers are friends. Thus when Stanley announces his conclusion to Rachel as she drives him home from Sari’s memorial service, she can’t simply dismiss it. And when Sari’s father pleads with Rachel to review the police file on his daughter’s suicide, she reluctantly starts down a path that will lead into the heart of a dark criminal enterprise in which Sari was simply collateral damage
“Ample humor and skillful dialogue—about legal, financial, and scientific matters—are a plus, as is the expertly evoked St. Louis locale.”–Publishers Weekly
“Rachel’s fans will enjoy her latest case, which highlights the consequences of greed as well as the abilities of the disabled.”–Booklist
Purchase Face Value Now
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A RACHEL GOLD MYSTERY #8:
Several years have passed since we last saw Rachel Gold. The stunning and savvy attorney was then engaged to be married. Since, she’s become a mother, then a much-grieving widow, and now she is embroiled in a lost cause—the Frankenstein Case—where she represents a blue-collar neighborhood fighting a powerful developer intent on bulldozing their homes to erect a swanky gated community. Who’s pushing her here? Of course, her mother.
Rachel’s strategy will be based on the wild card that is the judge on the case—a judge so wacky he’s known to the St Louis Bar as The Flinch Factor (think the spawn of Judge Judy and Pee Wee Herman).
Plus Rachel gains another new client: Susannah, sister of Nick Moran, the heartthrob of every woman whose kitchen he remodeled. Nick has been murdered, found slumped on the front seat of his pickup along an isolated lane known to the vice squad as Gay Way, his pants unzipped, a coil of rubber tubing on the seat, an empty syringe on the floor. His female groupies are, to say the least, stunned. Gay? No way.
Although Susannah seems the classic blindly adoring younger sister, a skeptical Rachel agrees to check it out. To her surprise, she turns up facts and witnesses suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Nick’s death was staged as an overdose during sex. Then things rapidly grow darker in what increasingly becomes a real Frankenstein of a case….
“Interesting and quirky characters. Michael Kahn is a wordsmith with some great turns of phrase, humorous descriptions and catchy dialogue. A lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the law, and the skinny on how it’s done. Kahn shows the inside seam on the underbelly of real estate development, deceitful developers and their ravenous lawyers. The Flinch Factor is a great read. Pick it up, but only if you can afford to lose a night’s sleep, because you won’t be able to put it down.” (Steve Martini)
“The Flinch Factor is another welcome addition to the wonderful Rachel Gold series, a clever engrossing legal thriller punctuated by sharp humor and many unexpected developments.” (Scott Turow)
“Both tough-minded and kind, Rachel Gold struggles with two difficult cases in Kahn’s enjoyable eighth mystery featuring the St. Louis attorney (after 2002’s Trophy Widow). First of all, Rachel is representing residents of a comfortable middle-class neighborhood in their hopeless fight to keep a ruthless real-estate developer from bulldozing their homes to build a gated community. Second, she agrees to help the grieving sister of Nick Moran, a contractor she knew whose death the police have written off as a drug overdose. A trial lawyer himself, Kahn handles the legal details briskly. Even better, as the investigations begin to overlap, Rachel’s tense skirmishes with antagonists are balanced with warm interactions with her family and friends—and zany encounters with notoriously eccentric judge Howard Flinch. Rachel may cite Raymond Chandler, but this relaxed, cheerful novel has few traces of noir.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Legal mystery aficionados will be pleased to see St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold back again after a long absence. This is the eighth outing (after Trophy Widow).” (Library Journal)
Purchase The Flinch Factor Now
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A RACHEL GOLD MYSTERY #7:
Rachel Gold has had her share of celebrity clients, but none with the stature of her newest, Angela Green, the most famous former housewive in America, and surely the only one to receive special awards from Ms. magazine and the NAACP while serving time in prison for the brutal murder of her powerful husband. Angela’s highly publicized murder trial made her a media star and a folk hero. And now, with a lucrative book deal and a major motion picture in the works, she finds herself at the center of another legal controversy. As Rachel prepares to represent Angela in the lawsuit, she starts to uncover questions that were never answered in the murder trial. Is it possible–is it even conceivable–that Angela was framed? And if Angela is really innocent, then the murderer is still at large, and ready to kill again.
“Kahn’s likeable characters and well-managed plots make this entertaining read a solid addition to its series” (Publishers Weekly)
“Trophy Widow might be Kahn’s best novel. The dialogue is realistic and witty; the characters full-bodied and believable.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“Totally enthralling and believable. The plot is so complex and multi-layered that the audience won’t have a clue whom the guilty party is until the author chooses to reveal it. Trophy Widow is a must read for anyone who likes a top-rate thriller.” (Midwest Book Review)
“It’s a treat to see Rachel back . . . and working on such a meaty case as this one.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Purchase Trophy Widow Now
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RACHEL GOLD MYSTERY #6
Savvy attorney Rachel Gold wanted no part of any age discrimination case against Beckmann Engineering–a corporate powerhouse known both for its good deeds and its nasty pack of litigation pit bulls. But, when pressured, Rachel reluctantly agrees to represent her mother’s best friend Ruth, who was fired by Beckmann just shy of her 63rd birthday.
As Rachel feared, things get ugly fast as Beckmann’s lawyers try every dirty trick possible to tarnish her client’s reputation. But Rachel discovers that Ruth had stumbled upon a dark secret, or at least the possibility of one, during her years at Beckmann–a secret that just might even in the odds in the lawsuit.
Soon the lawsuit mutates into something far more sinister. Skeletons–both in and out of the closet–start piling up as Rachel digs deeper into a mysterious conspiracy that may span decades of treachery and murder. As witnesses die and dangers increase, Rachel finds herself confronting a shadowy cabal from the past with a deadly grip on the present.
“Bearing Witness grips you from the start. If you have not read Michael Kahn’s terrific legal thrillers before, you are in for a treat. If you are a fan like me, this is one of the best.” (NY Times bestselling author Philip Margolin)
“In this compelling thriller, Kahn makes good use of historical material and offers a revealing look at Orthodox Judaism. Rachel Gold and her eclectic entourage deserve more attention.” (Booklist)
“Bearing Witness take the reader on a tense journey . . . This well thought-out book should appeal to mystery fans everywhere.” (St. Louis Post-Disptach)
Purchase Bearing Witness Now
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RACHEL GOLD MYSTERY #5
Rachel Gold’s passion for justice is ignited by what seems a compelling but straightforward case of sexual abuse. But within days of taking on the case for fellow attorney–and abused wife–Sally Wade, her new client is murdered. The prime suspect is her estranged husband, Neville McBride, a blue-blooded, untouchable member of the city’s elite. But as Rachel turns her sights and her anger on McBride, she discovers that he may not be the cold-blooded killer she imagined. Nor, as her investigation reveals, was Sally the innocent lamb.
Soon Rachel is moving into a dangerous labyrinth of deceit and betrayal that stretches from the neon nightlife of a secret sexual underground to the lethal corruption of a blue-chip law firm. As Publishers Weekly wrote, “There’s a lot of bad blood around and not all of it on the slaughterhouse floor when St. Louis trial attorney Rachel Gold wades into the rough and tumble world of kinky sex, meatpacking and high-priced attorneys in her fifth adventure (after Due Diligence).”
“Sheer Gall has it all. Rachel Gold is one of the great characters in contemporary fiction.” (Tulsa World)
“An intricate, suspenseful story.” (Publishers Weekly)
“The combination of lawyerly wisdom, first-rate writing, and a compelling plot.” (Legal Times)
“A sheer delight! Fast and funny. I couldn’t get enough. Fans of Rachel Gold rejoice!” (Tamar Myers, bestselling author)
Purchase Sheer Gall Now
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Rachel is on top of the world. She has a wonderful new lover and a full caseload in her flourishing St. Louis law practice. Nothing could seem less threatening to her state of personal bliss and professional prosperity than a phone call from a CPA named Bruce Rosenthal. But the straight-arrow accountant takes a brutal wrong turn on his way to an appointment in Rachel’s office and winds up the victim of a fatal accident too awful to be true.
Still, Rachel refuses to do the police’s work for them — until violent death pays another visit, this time claiming a victim too near and dear to Rachel to let her turn away. The blood is barely dry when Rachel finds herself on a bizarre trail that leads from a multinational pharmaceutical merger to the presidential campaign of Rachel’s political hero: the charismatic U.S. senator from Missouri, Douglas Armstrong. What had the slain accountant discovered, buried deep in the books of the drug company, that involved the senator? How could Douglas Armstrong, whose honesty and integrity make him the last, best hope of American politics, be connected with any kind of crime?
Teaming up again with her best friend Benny Goldberg, Rachel will seek her own measure of vengeance. Her pursuit will take her from the upper strata of St. Louis society to an elaborate network of limestone caves beneath St. Louis, where answers to the mystery await her arrival–along with the murderers themselves.
“A clever, high-spirited thriller . . . Rachel’s first-person narration is intelligent and breezy, and she’s supported by a memorable secondary cast.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Quite definitely addictive . . . a must-read, written with wit and humor and peopled with multidimensional characters. What more could a reader ask for? I love Rachel Gold — her independence and tough-mindedness, intelligence, and wit.” (Mary Balogh, bestselling author)
“A wild romp. Very sharp-eyed observations of the legal community.” (Mystery Lovers Bookshop News)”An intricate plot, witty dialogue, and memorable characters . . . fine reading.” (Booklist)
Purchase Due Diligence Now
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After the death of her father, attorney Rachel Gold has returned to her hometown of St. Louis to spend more time with her mother. The savvy and beautiful Rachel, who made a name for herself in complex corporate litigation in Chicago, finds herself enmeshed in Landau v. Landau, a high-stakes divorce case far nastier than any of her former lawsuits.
And, as she will soon discover, far deadlier.Rachel’s client is Eileen Landau, the best friend of her sister Ann. Eileen and Ann are just two of many wealthy, bored housewives who get their kicks three days a week in an aerobics classes conducted at an upscale gym by the handsome fitness guru, Andros.
Eileen, however, gets some additional kicks once or twice a week with Andros at a secluded motel. Shortly after her latest tryst, though, Andros is found dead. The coroner determines the cause of death was cyanide poisoning. The trail of clues leads not to Eileen but to Ann, Rachel’s sister, who was having her own affair with Andros.
Suddenly, Rachel has a personal stake in the case. But as she works her way through the list of angry wives seduced and scorned by Andros, she realizes that sex may not have been the motive behind his seductions. Indeed, Andros may have been doing the bidding of a puppet master far more dangerous—someone with few qualms about eliminating a semi-incompetent accomplice and none about eliminating a competent lawyer whose investigation threatens a multi-million-dollar criminal enterprise.
“Rachel remains one of the more engaging sleuths on the mystery scene.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Good narrative and a great read” (Library Journal)“Clever, wonderful, delicious…don’t miss it.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“Chicanery, avarice, sexual happenings and big city life…fast moving.” (Mystery News)
Purchase Firm Ambitions Now
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The smart and savvy Rachel Gold has established herself in Chicago legal circles as a tough litigator when the case calls for moxie and a discreet counselor when a client is faced with what the chairman of her former firm, Abbott & Windsor, labels an “awkward situation.”
The odd disappearance and messy suicide of Stoddard Anderson, the managing partner of the St. Louis office of Abbott & Windsor, certainly qualifies as an “awkward situation,” especially when the firm learns that the only way Anderson’s widow can collect the full life insurance proceeds is to prove that his death was an accident, and the only way a suicide can be an “accident” is if the decedent was clinically insane at the time of his death. The law firm is, to say the least, reluctant to argue in court that its managing partner was insane.
And thus Rachel is retained to represent the widow in what all hope will be a quick resolution of a straightforward matter. But Rachel soon discovers that the supposedly stodgy Stoddard Anderson was into some decidedly unstodgy activities, sexual and otherwise. Incredibly, he may have actually obtained possession of one of the most sought after archaeological treasures of all time.
With her best buddy Benny Goldberg in tow, Rachel sets off in pursuit of the treasure and a trail of evidence that suggests Anderson’s death was actually a homicide.
“A fresh-voiced heroine, down-and-dirty legal detail, and more honest detection than you’d expect make this a winner.” (Kirkus Review)
“Chicanery, avarice, sexual happenings and big city life…fast moving.” (Mystery Times)
Purchase Death Benefits Now.
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Graham Anderson Marshall III of Abbott & Windsor was the archetype of the powerful senior partner at a major corporate law firm. But then came his bizarre death, the kinky details of which his firm tried to squelch.
After his funeral, other curious details of his private life surfaced, the most troubling and potentially embarrassing of which, at least for his former firm, is a codicil to his will establishing a large trust fund for the care and maintenance of a grave at a pet cemetery. The issue? Neither Marshall nor anyone in his family ever owned a pet, much less one named Canaan. The conflict? If the trust gets broken, all the funds are paid to the law firm.
Abbott & Windsor turns to Rachel Gold, the savvy young attorney who left the prestigious firm to open her own law office. They retain her to find out what is in that mysterious grave at Wagging Tail Estates. Amused and bemused, Rachel assumes she will be able to wrap up the assignment in a few days. By then, however, the grave has been robbed. All that’s left is the gravestone with the mysterious name CANAAN etched in marble.
(Original hardcover title: The Canaan Legacy)
“A Ludlom-esque thriller . . . an imaginative, fast-paced winner . . . twists to keep you hanging on to your seat.” (San Antonio Express-News)
“With an ear for intelligent, breezy dialogue and clever plotting, Kahn spins an engrossing yarn.” (Publishers Weekly)
“An absorbing page-turner.” (Jewish Light)
“An engrossing plot, credible characters, and an abundance of sparkling wit . . . a delight.” (Anchorage Times)
Purchase Grave Designs Now
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The beautiful and savvy Rachel Gold is a lawyer’s lawyer, a gutsy advocate who has made a name for herself in seven critically acclaimed novels. As the book critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote, “If I needed a lawyer, I’d want one like Rachel Gold. She’s smart, determined and creative.”
Some of Rachel’s most unusual cases, however, have unfolded in short stories. This collection gathers together for the first time three of those stories: the award-winning “Bread of Affliction,” the mysterious “Truth in a Plain Brown Wrapper,” and “Beyond the Grave,” a new story Michael A. Kahn wrote especially for this collection. All three feature the witty dialogue, suspense, and courtroom drama that are hallmarks of the Rachel Gold works.
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This novel by Michael Kahn, writing under the pen name Michael Baron, is a tale of the struggle for redemption by a deeply flawed man. As described in the review in Booklist:
“Hirsch was managing partner of a prestigious St. Louis law firm until he was convicted of embezzlement and sent to federal prison. He had also been involved with drugs and accused of sexual harassment. After serving his time and regaining admission to the bar, he is eager to make a fresh start and reconcile with his estranged daughter. In doing so, he has returned to Judaism, participating in an Orthodox minyan. When one of the elderly men in the congregation asks him to investigate his daughter’s death, he reluctantly agrees.
“While researching the case, he finds that murder may be behind a routine product-liability matter. As he digs deeper, he discovers major corruption in high places, endangering his life. His desire for atonement and justice demonstrate both commitment to basic Jewish values and a return to the true practice of law. This debut novel by a pseudonymous St. Louis attorney will appeal to Scott Turow fans.”
“A brilliant splash on the legal thriller scene . . .Author Michael Baron, an attorney himself, has no trouble making the legal aspects of the story sound authentic. The courtrooms come alive in his deft hands, with rich characters that texture THE MOURNING SEXTON with a lush feeling of realism.” (Book Reporter)
“There is a maxim in the legal profession that the law does not concern itself with trifles, and Michael Baron, in his wonderful story, does not concern himself with trifles. The Mourning Sexton shows what the law is really supposed to be about—morality, atonement, responsibility, and redemption. A truly original legal thriller by a fresh, new voice.” (Nelson DeMille)
“An intelligent, provocative novel of suspense.” (Curled Up with a Good Book)
“This book is well worth placing on your summer vacation reading list.” (The Colorado Lawyer)
Purchase The Mourning Sexton Now