Category Archives: Legal Thriller

A Review of Gone Again by James Grippando

Gone Again (Jack Swyteck #12)

by James Grippando

Mr. Grippando completes the circle with Gone Again. Jack Swyteck is back where he started in the first book in the series, The Pardon. He is back at the Freedom Institute. He says that he isn’t joining the team, just renting an office, but he gets drawn back into a death row case, when the victim’s mother, Debra Burette, talks to him when everyone else is down at the Florida State Prison. She is convinced that the man who is scheduled to die for her daughter’s rape and murder shouldn’t be executed because she is sure that her daughter, Sashi, is alive.

This is just the beginning of a book that is full of twists and turns. Many of the people in this book have secrets, and just when you think that you have them figured out something else happens to change your mind. As the story progresses, layer after layer of lies are torn away, until you reach the truth, a truth that you never expected, and could not have anticipated.

I like the Jack Swyteck series. I read The Pardon a long time ago, and I’ve read another couple since then. I like the Freedom Institute members. I hope that Jack sticks around there. He is a good fit. You don’t need to read this series in order, since each of the books stand on their own; but once you read Gone Again, you probably will want to read some of the earlier books.

I give Gone Again 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up. If you like multilayered legal mysteries, I think you will really like Gone Again.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Gone Again by James GrippandoIn this electrifying and fast-paced tale of suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Cash Landing, Cane & Abe, and Black Horizon, Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck takes on his first death-row client since The Pardon in a case as twisty as it is shocking.

Sashi Burgette vanished three years ago on her way to school. The night after the teenager’s disappearance, ex-con Dylan Kyle was stopped for drunk driving. An article of Sashi’s clothing was found in his truck, and a police videotape of his drunken explanation under interrogation sealed his fate at trial. Now, just days from Kyle’s execution, Sashi’s mother visits Jack Swyteck, doing pro bono work at the Freedom Institute, and delivers shocking news: “Sashi called me.”

The police dismiss the call as a cruel hoax. The State Attorney refuses to consider the new evidence, insisting the case is closed. The governor has already signed the death warrant. An innocent man may be executed and time is running out—unless his lawyers can locate Sashi.

A man of principle who believes in justice, Jack jumps into the investigation. But the deeper he digs the more he discovers that nothing is what it appears to be. Not the victim. Not her alleged killer. And definitely not Sashi’s parents, whose grief ruptured their marriage, each openly blaming the other for what happened to their daughter.

As their gut-wrenching and hopelessly conflicting version of events unfolds in a Miami courtroom, it becomes clear there is something even more difficult to find than a long-missing girl . . .

The truth.

Book Details

Series: Jack Swyteck Novel
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062368702
ISBN-13: 978-0062368706
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Monica Hopkins photography
Monica Hopkins photography

James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels. He was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and now serves as counsel at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP. He lives in South Florida with his wife, three children, two cats, and a golden retriever named Max who has no idea that he’s a dog.

A Review of The Enemy Inside by Steve Martini

The Enemy Inside (Paul Madriani #13)

by Steve Martini

I’m really starting to like reading the works of Steve Martini. He uses his books to disturb your thoughts. He brings out ideas that have been hiding at the back of your brain, and makes you examine what you didn’t want to face. In The Enemy Inside, his theme is government corruption. He makes you wonder how extensive it is, and what are the long-term effects of it. How many politicians are owned by foreign interests? What will happen if they are exposed? Will our country be able to survive their exposure? Will the economy collapse once the world knows that our legislators are up for sale to the highest bidder? Mr. Martini asks these questions, but puts them all into a fast-paced, exciting mystery thriller. You stop to think about the fate of the world, but them are thrown right back into the heat of the action. Quite a lot of fun.

The Enemy Inside is a very complex book. The author uses many points of view, with multiple story lines. They twist and tangle together, and sometimes you have to stop reading, just so that you can take inventory and make sure that you understand everything that is going on. Some of the stories needed to be enlarged upon; they feel hurried, and not quite filled out, and maybe even just a sketch of a plot. Everything pretty much comes together at the end, but just barely.

I give The Enemy Inside 4 Stars out of 5. I’m really going to have to start paying attention to Steve Martini’s books. He has a lot to say, and I think we all need to listen.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

The Enemy Inside Lg Defending an innocent young man, defense attorney Paul Madriani uncovers a morass of corruption and greed that leads to the highest levels of political power in this electrifying tale of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Steve Martini.

One of the most successful lawyers in the country, Olinda Serna is a master at managing money as well as her influential clients. After years of fierce combat in the political trenches, Serna knows all the dirty secrets, where the bodies are buried, and how deeply they are stacked. When she’s killed in a roadside crash in the high desert of Southern California, powerful heads in Washington begin to panic, worried that their secrets may not be safe anymore.

Alex Ives, a friend of Paul Madriani’s daughter, is accused of vehicular manslaughter in Serna’s death. Ives claims he had only one drink on the night of the accident, yet he can’t remember anything between the time he left for a party north of San Diego and the moment he woke up in a hospital the next morning. He’s still dazed and a little bruised, but also obviously very afraid. After all, a woman is dead, and he’s sure he didn’t kill her.

To save an innocent young man’s life, the brilliant defense attorney must uncover everything he can about Serna and her clients—no matter how unsavory—a search that will lead him into a vortex of corruption, and at its center, a devious killer poised to strike again.

Book Details

Series: Paul Madriani (Book 13)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 12, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006232893X
ISBN-13: 978-0062328939
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

Steve MartiniSteve Martini was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. An honors graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, he holds a law degree from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law.

Martini’s first career was in journalism. He worked as a newspaper reporter in Los Angeles and as a correspondent at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, specializing in legal issues. In 1974 he entered private law practice in California, where he appeared in both state and federal courts. During his legal career, he worked as a legislative representative for the State Bar of California, served as special counsel to the California Victims of Violent Crimes Program, and was an administrative law judge and supervising hearing officer.

In 1984 Martini turned his talents to fiction, quickly earning positions on bestseller lists. All but his first book spent time on the New York Times Bestsellers list. To date, he has authored twelve novels, including eight featuring his popular lawyer alter ego, Paul Madriani.

In 1996 Undue Influence aired as a four-hour miniseries on CBS, followed by The Judge on NBC in 2001.

 

A Review of The Fall: A Novel by John Lescroart

The Fall: A Novel

by John Lescroart

John Lescroart knows how to manipulate your thoughts. He is telling a story, but is able to tell that story in such a way that you begin to have doubts, even before there should be any reason that you are thinking that way. There is just something that doesn’t sit right, so therefore you start looking for things that support your ideas. They keep showing up. What a great way to write a story.

This is probably my favorite book in the Hardy series. Maybe because this is Rebecca (The Beck) Hardy’s first case. It’s fun to watch her discover the problems and unexpected things that can happen when she is working on her first murder case. She is coming into her own and will probably be featured more prominently in future books in this series.

Even though this is a book from a well established series, it works well as a starting point since most of the book takes place from “The Beck’s” point of view. There are some references to previous books, but Mr. Lescroart doesn’t pummel you with events from prior books. There was nothing that you needed to know in order to fully understand this book.

I really enjoyed The Fall, and could hardly put it down. I give it 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and A Big Thumbs Up! I look forward to reading more books in this series featuring Rebecca Hardy.

I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

The FallFrom New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart, a riveting new novel of legal suspense featuring Dismas Hardy and his daughter, Rebecca, now grown up and an associate in Hardy’s law firm.

Late one night, a teenage African-American foster child named Tanya Morgan plummets to her death from the overpass above San Francisco’s Stockton tunnel. But did she fall…or was she pushed?

Rushing to produce a convictable suspect in the glare of the media spotlight, homicide inspectors focus their attention on a naïve young man named Greg Treadway. Greg is a middle school teacher and he volunteers as a Special Advocate for foster children. At first, the only thing connecting him to Tanya’s death is the fact that they shared a meal earlier that night. But soon enough, elements of that story seem to fall apart…and Hardy’s daughter, Rebecca, finds herself drawn into the young man’s defense.

By the time Greg’s murder trial gets underway, Dismas and Rebecca have unearthed several other theories about the crime: a missing stepfather who’d sexually assaulted her; a roommate who ran a call girl service; a psychologically unstable birth mother; and a mysterious homeless man who may have had dealings with Tanya. Or Greg Treadway himself, who is perhaps not all that he first appeared. But how will they get these theories in front of a jury? And if they can, what price will they have to pay?

With signature suspense and intricate plotting, The Fall puts Dismas Hardy and his only daughter in the middle of one of John Lescroart’s most complex and thrilling cases yet.

Book Details

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (May 5, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476709211
ISBN-13: 978-1476709215
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces

About the Author

john_press1John Lescroart (/lɛsˈkwɑː/; born January 14, 1948) is a New York Times bestselling author known for his series of legal and crime thriller novels featuring the characters Dismas Hardy, Abe Glitsky and Wyatt Hunt. His novels have sold more than ten million copies, have been translated into twenty-two languages in more than seventy-five countries, and sixteen of his books have been on the New York Times bestseller list.

Lescroart was born in Houston, Texas, and graduated from Junípero Serra High School, San Mateo, California (Class of 1966). He earned a B.A. in English with Honors at UC Berkeley in 1970. In addition to more than twenty novels, Lescroart has written several screenplays. He appeared as a contestant on the game show Tic Tac Dough in 1979, as well as on Joker’s Wild, Blank Check and Headline Chasers. Under Crow Art Records, Lescroart has released several albums, including a CD of piano versions of his songs performed by Antonio Gala. He has for some time been writing and living in Davis, California.

He is an original founding member of the group International Thriller Writers.

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A Review of Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

Killer Ambition

by Marcia Clark

 

Killer Ambition is the third book in the Rachel Knight series. I have already reviewed the first two, so I won’t rehash them. This book takes a different tack, and concentrates on gathering evidence and witnesses for a trial, and then continues on to the trial. In the first two books, Ms. Clark is more concerned with finding the person who committed the crime, and then arresting them. That part takes up the first quarter of this book, and the evidence is pretty sparse. In fact, when the prosecution rested, I thought that if I was on the jury, I would be voting to acquit.

Killer AmbitionSo Killer Ambition is really more of a courtroom drama than a police procedural. Since Ms. Clark is a lawyer and prosecutor, this book probably feels more natural to her. The story of what happens behind the scenes rings true. You feel like Ms. Clark is letting you in on something that you don’t get to know about unless you are a member of some secret society. Like she is telling some stuff that you aren’t supposed to know about.

Once again the writing is excellent, the dialog feels quite real, and all of the events believable. I’m not a big fan of courtroom dramas, I prefer a mystery, but I think that Ms. Clark did a good job of this one. I’m curious about whether the next Rachel Knight book, The Competition, will be a mystery or a courtroom book, or maybe something else.

I give Killer Ambition 4 Stars out of 5. I recommend it to people who like courtroom drama, but suggest that you start with the first book in the series, Guilt by Association. This book relies heavily on the previous books, and therefore you will understand all of what is going on if you start with the first book.

I received this book for free from NetGalley.

Book Description

When the daughter of a billionaire Hollywood director is found murdered after what appears to be a kidnapping gone wrong, Los Angeles Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller find themselves at the epicenter of a combustible and high-profile court case. Then a prime suspect is revealed to be one of Hollywood’s most popular and powerful talent managers–and best friend to the victim’s father. With the director vouching for the manager’s innocence, the Hollywood media machine commences an all-out war designed to discredit both Rachel and her case. KILLER AMBITION is at once a thrilling ride through the darker side of Tinseltown and a stunning courtroom drama with the brilliant insider’s perspective that Marcia Clark is uniquely qualified to give.

Book Details

 

Series: A Rachel Knight Novel
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books (June 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316220949
ISBN-13: 978-0316220941
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Marcia Clark began practicing law as a criminal defense attorney. She became a prosecutor in the L.A. District Attorney’s Office in 1981, and spent ten years in the Special Trials Unit where she handled a number of high profile cases prior to the O.J. Simpson case, including the prosecution of stalker/murderer Robert Bardo.

In May of 1997, her book on the Simpson case, Without a Doubt was published and quickly rose to #1 on the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers lists.

Marcia has published three novels which feature Los Angeles Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight: Guilt by Association, Guilt by Degrees, and Killer Ambition. TNT has optioned the books, and a drama series is currently in development. Marcia is attached as an executive producer.

The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Killer Ambition