9780399145360 / 0399145362

The Attorney (Paul Madriani, Book 5)


Publisher:Putnam Adult



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About the book:

Sleuthing California defense counsel Paul Madriani lands one of his twistiest cases to date. His client, sport fisherman Jonah Hale, won $87 million in a lottery but lost his heart. Jonah's got custody of his eight-year-old grandkid Mandy, because his daughter Jessica is a cokehead party animal. Sprung from jail, Jessica demands cash. Jonah says no. So Jessica and Mandy disappear, with help from marital-rape-victim-turned-fanatical-activist Zolanda Suade. Suade's group, Vanishing Victims, specializes in thwarting courts and bashing rich males.

Madriani tries to reason with Suade, who almost pulls a gun on him, then taunts him with a press release: Suade's going public with Jessica's charge that Jonah molested Mandy. Madriani's girlfriend works in Child Protective Services, so he gets a tidbit or two of inside info--the charge is phony, but because CPS can't comment on cases, the smear will suffice to ignite a media firestorm. When Suade turns up dead, media interest does not subside. In court, circumstantial evidence forms a tightening noose around Jonah's neck, and Madriani starts wondering whether Jonah did kill Suade. Also, underworld types who may know Jessica and/or a Mexican drug lord start stalking Madriani, and more corpses pop up.

Martini, who covered the Manson trial, then became a lawyer and a bestselling novelist, is great at realistic, ingenious courtroom suspense, media-circus scenes, and dramatizing the impact of office politics on legal proceedings. His characters and prose are workmanlike but sturdy. Always grouped with lawyers-turned-writers Scott Turow and John Grisham, Martini thinks Turow's a better writer (in terms of character and dialogue), and Grisham's a natural-born storyteller who towers over all, but that he, Martini, is a better storyteller than Turow and a better writer than Grisham. The Attorney is evidence that he may be right. --Tim Appelo

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