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All evidence points to Jonathan - their mentally handicapped twenty-eight-year-old grandson - but Matt Fielder, his appointed defense lawyer, isn't convinced. While Fielder is pretty sure Jonathan committed the killings, Jonathan's childlike understanding of the world renders it nearly impossible for him to have done it out of greed or malice. Now Fielder must fight the prosecution's campaign for the death penalty, but as he scours Jonathan's past for anything that will help their case, he uncovers a cache of dark family secrets that turn the case in a shocking and unexpected new direction.
When his first novel, Felony Murder, was published, Publishers Weekly called Klempner "a writer to watch." Now, Klempner is better than ever - that rare novelist with both an insider's knowledge of the world he writes about, and a talent for intelligent, compelling storytelling.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Richard Delman on 10-11-17
Way more people should read this book.
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.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Wayne on 04-16-18
A haunting murder mystery
Flat Lake in Winter, first released in 1999, is a murder mystery that contains far too little action and suspense to be classified as a thriller. But it is an interesting and compelling story of damaged siblings from a horribly dysfunctional family. I did not enjoy the novel, but it is not intended to be enjoyed. There is a major plot twist at the end, but that cannot be a major surprise considering the family dynamics. People who like very dark psychological mysteries are most likely to find this novel to fit their taste. Narration is excellent.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful