'Never Goodbye': Attorney/author releases latest legal thriller


Adam Mitzner, an attorney turned author, earned his law degree from the University of Virginia.

By Kurt Anthony Krug

Legal News

After Adam Mitzner’s previous legal thriller “Dead Certain” — the main character of which was a woman named Ella Broden — was published, he received a lot of e-mails from readers saying that they didn’t know the author was a man until they finished the book.

“That emboldened me to write ‘Never Goodbye’ in the first person voice of two female narrators,” said Mitzner, 53, of New York City.

“Never Goodbye” (Thomas & Mercer $15.95) features the return of Ella and her boyfriend, Detective Gabriel Velasquez.

A former assistant prosecutor for New York City’s Special Victims Bureau and a former criminal defense attorney working for her father Clint Broden, Ella solved her younger sister Charlotte’s murder in “Dead Certain.”

At the end, she abandoned her law career to pursue her lifelong dream as a singer.

However, Ella returns to the legal profession in “Never Goodbye” when her mentor Lauren Wright is found murdered.

She joins forces with Dana Goodwin — the other narrator in the story — who is the SVB’s newly appointed deputy chief. Like Ella, this case is personal for Dana. Unlike Ella, she’s harboring a few secrets.

“I wanted to tell a story from differing perspectives, and explore how people experience the same things in such vastly different ways depending on their perspective. And I wanted to continue telling Ella's story. To deal with what happens in someone's life in the aftermath of her loss,” explained Mitzner. “You always hear about how after some tragic event or even just a personal setback, people say that they want to get back to normal, by which, I think, they mean to go back to the way their life was before. I wanted to explore how difficult, maybe impossible, that truly is because who you are is fundamentally altered by tragedy.”

Originally, Mitzner saw Dana as an older version of Ella. However, as he started writing, he realized Ella will never become Dana because she will not make the same choices as Dana.

By the same token, he saw that Dana was changing from his original conception of her because of these choices.

“The alternating narrators meant that Dana and Ella had to have equally compelling stories,” said Mitzner.

He said his initial fear “was that the reader would be much more interested in one rather than the other. I hope that isn’t the case. I personally don’t have a favorite storyline.”

According to Mitzner, he based Ella on his two daughters Rebecca, 20, and Emily, 14.   

“They are much younger than Ella, but my initial thought was to imagine them in their 30s, and that became the start of Ella. My daughters are both singer/actor types, and even at their age they’re already struggling with the decision about whether to pursue their passions professionally or consider a Plan B that’s more secure,” he explained.

“And, in a way, Ella’s dilemma on that point was also my own, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve been practicing law for 30 years, but writing for only eight,” Mitzner said. “But once I have the general framework of a character, he or she really takes on attributes of their own. At the end of ‘Never Goodbye,’ Ella is much more complex than I had originally
envisioned her.”

Mitzner didn’t plan on writing a sequel.

“Before writing ‘Dead Certain,’ I had the strongly held belief that a novel should stand on its own with the character’s arc (completed) on the last page,” recalled Mitzner. “With Ella, however, I thought there was so much more to her story than was told in ‘Dead Certain.’” He did explain the pros and cons of using recurring characters.

“A sequel was different because you don’t get that experience of meeting people for the first time — both as a writer and a reader. The trade-off is that you get to know these characters even better, and dig a little deeper into what makes them who they are,” said Mitzner. “In a way, it’s not all that different from real life. I like meeting new people; there’s an excitement about that. But it’s also exciting to get to know the people in your life on a deeper level.”

However, Mitzner said that using recurring characters wasn’t easier when writing “Never Goodbye.”

“There’s a constraint in a sequel that the characters are already established personalities, and so you can’t have them do things to propel the plot that the reader wouldn’t expect them to do,” he explained. “In a stand-alone, you can tweak the character to make him or her do what you want if it necessary for the story. But I can’t go back to ‘Dead Certain’ and change Ella to make her do what I want her to do in ‘Never Goodbye.’ I found that, in a sequel, the story has to follow the characters more than in a standalone.”

Born in Brooklyn, Mitzner grew up in New Jersey. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in politics – both from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.

From there, he earned his juris doctor in law from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Va.

Mitzner has been a practicing attorney since 1989. Currently, he is the head of the litigation department at Pavia & Harcourt, LLP, a prominent New York City law firm.

Anthony Franze, who previously spent several years as an adjunct law professor at the Michigan State University College of Law and author of several acclaimed legal thrillers, is a big fan of Mitzner’s work.

“There’s a lot of lawyer-turned-novelists out there, but Mitzner is one of my absolute favorites,” said Franze. “Mitzner had a blockbuster last year with ‘Dead Certain,’ one of Amazon’s biggest sellers on Kindle for the year, and I suspect the sequel ‘Never Goodbye’ is gonna kill it too. He’s a major talent and deserves all the success.” 

Mitzner’s next book, “A Matter of Will,” is a standalone thriller that debuts June 25, 2019. He has tentative plans to use Ella’s father, Clint, a prominent criminal defense attorney, for the one after “Will.”

“(‘Will’) focuses on how a good person can become slowly corrupted until he's no longer a good person at all, and whether there’s any way back from that,” said Mitzner.

One ongoing subplot that’s run through Mitzner’s books since “Losing Faith” involves Nicolai Garkov, a Russian businessman widely believed to have pulled the financial strings behind a terrorist bombing.

He’s been under house arrest since “Losing Faith” and his storyline hasn’t been resolved. Mitzner stated it will be soon.

“Maybe in the Clint Broden book that I’m thinking comes after (‘Will’),” said Mitzner. “Garkov has been under house arrest a very long time, indeed. There’s also some interest in turning this world into a miniseries, and that would certainly be a storyline.”

For the foreseeable future, Mitzner has no plans to leave law and pursue writing full-time. “I plan on doing having the dual careers for a while longer,” he said. “At least until my youngest child graduates from college, so I have 2025 on my calendar.”