John Martel, Author Bantam Books $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-05247-3
Martel, a seasoned corporate trial attorney, sets this enjoyable, though largely unsuspenseful first novel at Smith, Parrish & MacAllister, an elite San Francisco law firm feeling the pinch of hard times. At the helm of the foundering ship is Austin Barrington, chilly senior managing partner and acknowledged leader of the ``Table of Three'' that makes all the weighty decisions at SP & M. Desperate to keep the firm from going under, he takes on a class-action suit against a Mafia-backed company accused of poisoning its employees with toxic chemicals. Rachel Cannon, a sharp and beautiful associate hoping to become a partner, and her inamorata Kevin Stone, a much-admired trial lawyer who never loses a case, are part of the litigation team. When three plaintiffs in the suit die in mysterious circumstances, crack homicide inspector Dan Conti begins sniffing around SP & M, where avarice rules. The courtroom shenanigans are a pleasure to read, and Martel excels at building motivation. It's doubly disappointing, therefore, that the melodramatic finale spins utterly out of control. 60,000 first printing; $60,000 ad/promo. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-27807-1
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