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The Judgment
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D W Buffa served as a defence attorney for ten years. He has a doctorate in political science and currently lives in the Napa Valley.

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Inventing a perfectly odious victim and an obvious killer with the perfect alibi, Buffa cooks up a convoluted legal thriller littered with plot-twist land mines that explode when least expected. Toss in a poignant midlife romance and an innocent, put-upon defendant, and you have a novel with wide appeal. So few people grieve when loathsome circuit judge Calvin Jeffries is stabbed to death and gutted in the courthouse parking garage that it comes as a shock when the confessed killer is revealed to be a homeless man with no apparent ties to the victim. When a second sharp-tongued judge is killed the same way in the same spot, the cops call it a copycat killing and arrest a retarded homeless man on an anonymous tip, finding him with the murder weapon. Seasoned defense attorney Joseph Antonelli, himself a particularly maligned target of the venomous Jeffries, is persuaded to take the case and becomes convinced that both murders were planned by the same brilliant criminal one Antonelli is particularly familiar with, since the man once shot him. Antonelli's investigator, disbarred lawyer and recovering alcoholic Howard Flynn, sees his own dead son in the retarded defendant and throws himself wholeheartedly into the case. Unfortunately, Antonelli's suspect has been in the state home for the criminally insane for the past 12 years and could not possibly have committed the crimes. Meanwhile, bachelor Antonelli's high school sweetheart re-enters his life after a bout with manic depression and a rough divorce. Buffa (The Prosecution) once again produces a fast-spinning tale that jolts and veers enticingly off-track, but always stays comfortably in sight of the main objective. Well-developed characters and the rich Portland, Ore., milieu add depth to this excellent thriller. Agent, Wendy Sherman. Major ad/ promo; author tour; audio. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Buffa served as a defense attorney before he became a writer and has a brilliant grasp of the legal process. The Judgment is a thrilling book about the perfect crime, which simultaneously entertains and informs. Two judges are murdered just weeks apart. They seem to be open-and-shut cases involving random acts of violence until attorney Joseph Antonelli manages to uncover a suspect who links the two, a suspect who seems above the law. Reader Dennis Predovic dramatizes this devious trail of obsession and retribution with increasing urgency as the plot builds to a resolution. In sum, it's a superb recording, recommended to mystery lovers everywhere. James L. Dudley, Westhampton, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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