Trial

Clifford Irving, Author Summit Books $19.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-66422-0
The courtroom scenes are breathtaking in Irving's ( The Angel of Zin ) new novel. Warren Blackburn practices criminal law in Houston, in the same Harris County courthouse where his late father was a respected judge. When he executes a perjurious affidavit on behalf of a client whom he foolishly trusted, Warren is suspended from practice for a year. Upon his return, he is relegated to the detritus of criminal defense work, until he suddenly becomes counsel to two defendants in murder cases, one celebrated. Warren discovers that one of his clients was likely the actual murderer in the other case, but lawyer-client confidentiality prevents disclosure, and he is trapped in a Kafkaesque dilemma. Although the plot holds few surprises, Irving's development of the trial-related issues is masterful, providing gripping suspense. Similarly, while some of the extralegal parts of the narrative (Blackburn's marital problems, his predictable affair with a court stenographer) are rather contrived, the court proceedings, strategy and testimony are authentic and first-rate; and the cross-examination of the one pivotal ``eyewitness'' is riveting. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Mass Market Paperbound - 374 pages - 978-0-440-21017-7
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