Dudley W. Buffa, Author . Warner $24.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-446-52737-8

Inventing a perfectly odious victim and an obvious killer with the perfect alibi, Buffa cooks up a convoluted legal thriller littered with plot-twist land mines that explode when least expected. Toss in a poignant midlife romance and an innocent, put-upon defendant, and you have a novel with wide appeal. So few people grieve when loathsome circuit judge Calvin Jeffries is stabbed to death and gutted in the courthouse parking garage that it comes as a shock when the confessed killer is revealed to be a homeless man with no apparent ties to the victim. When a second sharp-tongued judge is killed the same way in the same spot, the cops call it a copycat killing and arrest a retarded homeless man on an anonymous tip, finding him with the murder weapon. Seasoned defense attorney Joseph Antonelli, himself a particularly maligned target of the venomous Jeffries, is persuaded to take the case and becomes convinced that both murders were planned by the same brilliant criminal—one Antonelli is particularly familiar with, since the man once shot him. Antonelli's investigator, disbarred lawyer and recovering alcoholic Howard Flynn, sees his own dead son in the retarded defendant and throws himself wholeheartedly into the case. Unfortunately, Antonelli's suspect has been in the state home for the criminally insane for the past 12 years and could not possibly have committed the crimes. Meanwhile, bachelor Antonelli's high school sweetheart re-enters his life after a bout with manic depression and a rough divorce. Buffa (The Prosecution) once again produces a fast-spinning tale that jolts and veers enticingly off-track, but always stays comfortably in sight of the main objective. Well-developed characters and the rich Portland, Ore., milieu add depth to this excellent thriller. Agent, Wendy Sherman. Major ad/ promo; author tour; audio. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-58621-102-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58621-064-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58621-065-6
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-446-61124-4
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7595-4331-7
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-7595-6329-2
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 432 pages - 978-0-7595-9364-0
Hardcover - 659 pages - 978-0-7862-3330-4
Ebook - 978-0-446-40591-1
Ebook - 978-0-7595-2343-2
Hardcover - 227 pages - 978-0-446-58817-1
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