Book Description

Amazon.com Review Penzler Pick, : First-time author David Ellis captures the imagination from the very first page with the voice of Marty Kalish, an investment banker in a tony company. Marty recounts the night that led to the murder of Dr. Derrick Reinhardt, the abusive husband of Rachel, with whom Marty is having an affair. The highly original premise of this story is masterful. Although Marty tells us his involvement in the murder, we don't know exactly what that involvement is. Did he murder or did he cover up? Marty is a hard guy to believe. Like most people, he doesn't always tell all there is to know, so when he is charged with murder and employs the best defense lawyers in the city, he changes his story more than once to insure that he comes out in the best light possible. This both exasperates and earns the respect of his lawyer (as well as the reader), because every story that Marty tells is plausible. He tells us that he meets with a PI, but we won't know why until the last page, and indeed the story does not come together completely until that moment. In the meantime, Marty takes us on quite a trip. The courtroom scenes in this novel are among the very best. From jury selection to witness interrogation to sidebars with the judge, the scenes and dialogue crackle with authenticity. The only false note in the story is that although Marty is charged with murder, he remains free on his own recognizance both before and during the trial. There must be precedents here, but it seems odd. However, I was happy to overlook that for the sake of an otherwise convincing and spellbinding story. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to the Audio CD edition. Read more From Publishers Weekly Despite elements that strain belief, Chicago attorney Ellis's debut succeeds as a wicked courtroom thriller featuring a devious main character who finds ways to manipulate the legal system to suit his needs. Investment banker Marty Kalish stands accused of killing Dr. Derrick Reinhardt, whose abused wife, Rachel, was Kalish's lover. Kalish, the police allege, shot Reinhardt so he could have Rachel all to himself as well as put an end to her physical torment. A devilishly subversive thinker, Kalish hires the best lawyers in town, asks them what his strongest defense would be, then fashions his explanation for the killing to suit that strategy. His tactics work well until it becomes apparent that the police and prosecutors are not quite as gullible as he expects them to be. No problem. Kalish simply changes his story, adding another twist involving one of Reinhardt's neighbors. In the end, Kalish finds out that even more cunning minds than his were churning away as he scrambled to convince the jury of his version of events. Ellis's fine use of the first-person narrative brings out the full flavor of Kalish's personality and helps drive the plot into areas of character where courtroom thrillers rarely venture. He stretches credibility at a few points--for example, Kalish, who faces the death penalty, is allowed to remain free throughout his trial--but the exciting payoff proves ample compensation. (Feb. 19)Forecast: Ellis comes on strong here, writing a twisty, spellbinding story with a subtext: that our legal system is vulnerable to producing results that defy both logic and the facts. Expect healthy sales from thriller readers eager for a fresh voice and a cynical point of view--if they are alerted that Ellis offers those in spades.Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition. Read more See all Editorial Reviews

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