Defense

Dudley W. Buffa, Author Henry Holt & Company $20 (322p) ISBN 978-0-8050-5307-4
Belying its generic title, this debut novel is an ingenious, riveting legal thriller about an Oregon criminal attorney whose defense of a child rapist unleashes life-changing events. Prominent Portland attorney Joseph Antonelli is asked by his friend, Judge Leo Rifkin, to defend Johnny Morel after Morel is accused of raping his young stepdaughter. Despite overwhelming odds and the knowledge that his client is almost certainly guilty, Antonelli gets Morel acquitted. The implications of his defense resurface, however, when Morel is murdered and the evidence points to his wife, Denise, a seductive drug addict who uses her sexuality to try to enlist Antonelli's services. Antonelli refuses to defend Denise and she is convicted of the crime. But the cloud of deception and duplicity that trails the couple soon darkens Judge Rifkin's formerly impeccable reputation when Denise is murdered in Rifkin's apartment after she's released from prison. The high-profile murder trial, in which Antonelli defends Rifkin, tests the lawyer's considerable talents as well as his belief in the legal system, and the surprise ending packs a powerful punch. Although its plot is compelling, what distinguishes this novel from standard genre fare is the depth of the characterizations, from the thoughtful, Plato-quoting Judge Rifkin to Antonelli's win-at-all-costs mindset and the worldly musings of his African American legal rival and confidant, Howard Woolner. Buffa, a former Oregon criminal trial lawyer, has crafted a fast-moving, thoroughly gripping entertainment that has the moral and emotional authority of a literary novel. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56740-751-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-449-00399-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56740-262-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 8 pages - 978-1-56740-551-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56100-772-1
Open Ebook - 322 pages - 978-1-4668-6058-2
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