Violent Crimes: An Amanda Jaffe Novel
By Philip Margolin
Attorney Amanda Jaffe, the heroine of a series of legal thrillers by Philip Margolin, faces a serious ethical dilemma in this latest adventure. When the senior partner of a Portland, Oregon law firm is found dead and his son confesses to the crime, it appears to be an open and shut case.
Brandon Masterson is a dedicated environmentalist and claims he killed his father because he made millions representing oil and coal interests at the expense of the environment. Hired to represent Brandon, Amanda doesn’t buy the young man’s admission of guilt but rather sees him as willing to be a sacrificial lamb to draw attention to the eco movement.
Then there’s the issue of a previous murder of one of the other members of the law firm. Although there is also a suspect in custody, in this case there are some doubts about this crime as well. Is this only a coincidence or are the two murders linked? Amanda thinks there is obviously a connection of some sort.
As Amanda begins to sift through the evidence and seek answers to some very nagging questions about motives and the business practices of the law firm, she’s going to stumble into a hornet’s next that will force her to do some soul searching and make some very difficult professional decisions.
Legal thriller fans will find “Violent Crime” a riveting read and one that looks at the motivations of those who often come forth to confess to serious crimes they did not commit.
All Day and a Night
By Alafair Burke
He has been serving a life sentence for the serial murders of six women eighteen years ago but now Anthony Amaro’s case is about to be revisited after the recent violent death of psychotherapist Helen Brunswick.
Defense lawyer Carrie Blank and NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher will be drawn into the investigation of this new homicide and the attempt to exonerate Amaro. For Carrie this will be an emotional assignment since Amaro was implicated in the death of her older sister.
Along with her partner, JJ Rogan, Hatcher is also going to have to set aside some personal baggage as they reassess the investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction.
With both a team of lawyers and the police sifting through reams of conflicting evidence and testimony, the search for the truth and the unmasking of the true killer will take everyone back to Carrie Blank’s hometown and the secrets buried there.
Some clever twists and unexpected surprises are combined with some multifaceted characters to make this thriller one even the most sophisticated reader will find difficult to set aside. If you think you have seen it all in criminal suspense, you haven’t read Alafair Burke yet!
Gone Again: A Jack Swyteck Novel
By James Grippando
Convicted for the rape and murder of Sashi Burgette, a beautiful teen who went missing three years ago, Dylan Reeves has just learned that the governor has signed his death warrant. Although the girl’s corpse was never found, DNA traces and a drunken confession were enough to garner Reeves, an ex-con, a murder conviction.
Now Sashi’s mother has intervened with an amazing claim. She believes her daughter is not dead and she wants Jack to try to find the girl and save her accused killer from receiving a lethal injection.
The police don’t buy the distraught woman’s odd claim but Jack believes it has merit. He is willing to try to find the adolescent and forestall a grave miscarriage of justice, but besides the challenges this case presents, an additional the problem is that none of the principal characters involved are completely credible.
In this instance arriving at the truth will demand the lawyer to use all his courtroom skill and also require a modicum of luck. Along the way the reader will encounter the twists and surprises one expects to discover in any James Grippando novel.
Blood Flag: A Paul Madriani Novel
By Steve Martini
In interviewing their new client the lawyers learn that days before his death Emma’s father received a mysterious package from a member of his World War II unit. The container’s contents included a key and a slip of paper that Emma is convinced is somehow connected to her father’s murder.
When a young legal assistant of the law firm is found dead days after being sent to the Brauer home on a routine errand, Madriani believes there is a link to the case he’s working on. Now with even a more personal reason to find out what really happened to Robert Brauer, Madriani is determined to dig even deeper into the dead man’s military past and what he discovers is quite troubling.
Other members of Brauer’s military unit have died under odd circumstances and the unit seems to be linked to the discovery of the “Blood Flag,” a bloodstained Nazi flag that Hitler used as a talisman. The flag vanished after the war but a number of unsavory people, including some extremist groups, would love to get their hands on the flag.
For Madriana, proving his client’s innocence and discovering who killed her father and his staff member are two tasks wrapped up in learning the flag’s secrets, its whereabouts and who is willing to kill to possess the Nazi memento.
Having practiced law in California on both the state and federal levels and served as an administrative law judge, Steve Martini is well versed in the legal profession. The author has been able to translate this firsthand knowledge into a very realistic bestselling series of novels.
By Laura Lippman
Following in her father’s footsteps as Maryland State’s attorney, Lusia “Lu” Brant takes the opportunity to enhance her legal reputation by trying a homeless man accused of beating a woman to death. As she prepares for the trial Lu must confront some painful memories that date back to her youth when her brother saved a friend with a lethal act of what was deemed to be self-defense.
Through a series of flashbacks, Lu mulls over the past, her family and memories that now, viewed from a different vantage point, suggest some rather shocking family secrets.
As some readers have suggested, this novel is somewhat reminiscent of the iconic blockbuster novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” There are some interesting similarities, so the reader will have to decide how indebted Lippman is to Harper Lee.