Steve Martini, Author . Putnam $25.95 (291p) ISBN 978-0-399-14672-5

Lean, speedy and packing a wallop of a plot twist at the end, the latest Paul Madriani legal thriller shows why Martini remains one of the form's most popular practitioners. Madriani, still struggling to establish his law practice in San Diego, is defending Dr. David Crone, a brilliant genetic researcher accused of killing colleague Kalista Jordan: her strangled and dismembered body was found washed up on a beach. Not only does all the evidence point to Crone, but his lies and deceptions are starting to test the patience of Madriani and his partner, the quick-tempered Harry Hinds. There may be motives aplenty—was Jordan stealing trade secrets about human genome research from Crone's clinic and taking them to a rival company? Was Crone a spurned lover of the strikingly beautiful African-American Jordan? Did he catch her trying to sabotage his research because he previously had conducted controversial studies about the intellectual capacities of the different races? Unfortunately for the prosecution, the main witness who can shed light on motive is found dead the day before he is scheduled to testify. Not only does the apparent suicide break the prosecution's momentum, it throws the whole case into chaos. In his sixth Madriani novel, Martini (The Attorney) takes the moving parts of a standard plot and spins them for maximum effect. His secondary characters, while filling stock roles, are memorable in quirky ways, and a subplot about genetic illness in the family of one of Madriani's friends is executed with skill. Fans will happily overlook the frequently awkward, listless prose—the most glaring drawback in what is otherwise one of Martini's best novels to date. (June 25)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
Mass Market Paperbound - 336 pages
Open Ebook - 291 pages - 978-0-7865-1743-5
Paperback - 494 pages - 978-1-4104-0051-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4178-0281-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-1794-2
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-0-7862-2954-3
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-7862-2953-6
Paperback - 405 pages - 978-0-7472-6609-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-04695-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7865-2683-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-6368-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-0391-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-234067-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-0392-4
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