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This is a terrific book. It's really too bad that so few readers have found it, because it is full of enjoyable characters, a terrific plot, and an ending which will truly shock you. Matt Fielder, the lawyer who represents Jonathan Hamilton, is a fine lawyer who sticks to his beliefs and will not give up for any reason. Jonathan is being charged with the gruesome murders of his grandparents, with whom he lives in an old mansion on Flat Lake, in Ottawa, New York. This is very upstate. Gil Cavanaugh is the DA who is charging Jonathan with first degree murder, with the death penalty as a possible sentence. The case draws a great deal of attention in the small towns in the rural area. Matt is the primary character in the book, and he is very likable. He has taken on a difficult client. Jonathan is quite disabled, perhaps retarded, perhaps autistic, but in any case he is uncommunicative in the extreme. Matt knows virtually no one in the community, and so he has to work very hard to get to know all of the people and the factors involved in defending his client.
The book slows down a bit toward the and, but not all that much. I won't spoil the ending for you, as it is just flat-out fantastic. No one I know could possibly predict it with any confidence, but it is very satisfying. Great endings are very hard to write, and many good books falter at the end. This one does not.
Matt assembles a good team. The DA is a terrific politician, whose re-election depends on the outcome in this case, so he pulls no punches in trying to convict Jonathan. The atmosphere is also terrific: It is winter in northern New York State, and the elements combine to make Matt's job even harder than it otherwise would be. Both the author and the narrator are gifted. The book held my interest very well. There is no trial, which is a good and rare thing in the world of legal thrillers: most books in this arena spend way too much time on the details of a trial, which are actually as boring as they can possibly be. The book focusses on the pre-trial maneuvering, which is quite suspenseful.
I recommend this book very highly. Mr. Klempner deserves a much bigger audience. I hope that more Audible readers find him. You will not be disappointed.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
This is my forth Joseph T. Klempner book and for now my last one on Audible (I hope there are more). I thoroughly have enjoyed all of his books.
This is a very good book with a very difficult subject to review without giving anything away. Basically there is a very wealthy dysfunctional family. Dad is uninvolved, mom is closet alcoholic. Now add three beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed children, the youngest showed signs of fetal alcohol effects with intellectual deficits. Include guilt, isolation, incest and a pregnancy and you have one gritty story that kicks off right from chapter one.
The two older children leave home as soon as they are able. There is a suspicious fire and the parents die. Then the grandparents are brutally murdered and the youngest son is arrested. Enter the protagonist Matt Fielder, who is a very nonjudgmental attorney whose ethics ride an internal roller coaster.
This book deals with some uncomfortable topics and unfortunately it has that "truth is stranger than fiction" feel to it. Very good book with an ending that is slightly predictable but well worth a listen.
George Newbern does a very good job narrating. I especially liked his interpretation of Matt when he questions his own judgment.
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16 of 20 people found this review helpful