Tag: courtroom

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

December 7th, 2022 — 10:45pm

KNOW MY NAME by Chanel Miller

A young woman goes to a party on the Stanford University campus and gets drunk and passes out at the party. While unconscious she is sexually assaulted and raped in a nearby park. Two witnesses identify the guy who did it and there is eventually a trial.

The book gives us a graphic description and insight into the buildup to the courtroom scene, interactions with the district attorney, the story of the perpetrator, all the motions, appeals, background, etc. It is written with great insight, magnificent descriptions, and understandable emotions.

The book is a page turner as we go through the dramatic courtroom scenes, the cross examinations, the plan of the defense attorney, and the numerous characters. Because the author is skillful and insightful, we are able to relive her experience. From the waking up in the hospital, the police interrogations, the pretrial, the trial, cross examination, the witnesses, but most important she gives us a tremendous insight into her own emotions and gut feelings.

You don’t need to just have my recommendation. The book is already a best seller and has been receiving wide acclaim.

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Where The Crawdads Sings by Delia Owens

June 30th, 2019 — 1:25pm

Your comments are welcome at the end of the review

Where the Crawdads Sings by Delia Owens

The story takes the reader to a place I would not usually choose to visit- the wild nature land in North Carolina. A young girl is gradually abandoned by her siblings and parents and grows up alone in the marshland. She has her dad’s motorboat and she can fish and collect mussels et cetera and sell them in the local town in order to get gas for the boat and the essentials of life. She is known by the town folks as the wild marsh girl. While living a very isolated lifestyle, she has on occasion to meet two local young men. One of them teaches her to read and she ultimately over many years becomes a renowned expert in writing and painting the local nature life. Since the author is a well-known expert in nature writing, her depictions are quite beautiful and fascinating.

The marsh girl is attracted to both young men and one does not treat her very well. There is an incident where one of the young men dies under mysterious circumstances. So, there is intrigue and ultimately a courtroom drama, which is, as interesting and well-written as any literary courtroom scene that you might encounter

So, we have sensitive novel about living in the wildlife with all the beauty and mysteries of nature. We also have a sensitive depiction of a naïve young woman who feels her yearnings, as do all the creatures of nature. On top of all these, we have a mysterious death and a murder trial. For me, half of the time this book was a page turner, the other half, I was turning the pages to get through the book. I conclude by giving it a mixed review. (2019)

If you wish to purchase this book on Amazon please click here


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Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini

March 31st, 2016 — 11:56am

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 8.40.10 AMCOMPELLING EVIDENCE  – by Steve Martini

Published in 1992

A friend of mine mentioned that he is a big fan of Steve Martini who has written 13 bestselling novels in which the main character is a lawyer and has some very exciting courtroom scenes. Since I have enjoyed a few of John Grisham’s novels and I am always drawn to a movie or a TV program with a good courtroom action, I decided to explore this series. I chose Martini’s second novel and the first one in the 13 published books that has this main character, attorney named Paul Madriani.

Compelling Evidence was published in 1992. It did not disappoint me. The author opened the story with a detailed and what appeared to be a very knowledgeable description of a prisoner being executed in a gas chamber as a death penalty was being carried out.

The story progressed as the reader was introduced to Paul Madriani. It was through his eyes that we view this captivating story. It puts the legal profession front and center as just about all the characters are lawyers. The victim of the current case in point is Ben Porter, a honcho of a large successful law firm. His wife, Talia is his accused murderer of him. We learn early in the story that Mr. Madriani had once worked at the Porter Law Firm and even had an affair with Talia. Mr. Madriani ultimately becomes her chief defense attorney and so the plot develops.

All the characters and details of this story are woven together quite skillfully. Although there is a lot of “lawyer talk”, the readers’ knowledge and background is never taken for granted. Through the narrative and the dialogue, we are always kept in the loop and are well-educated. We meet the district attorney and his staff and we clearly understand their role as well as the role and obligation of the police who had investigated the crime. When we are introduced to the judge, we not only appreciate his role and obligations but also get insight into his personal issues (he does not want anything to go wrong because a mistrial would reflect badly on him). We are not only given a good description of what is happening when there are various motions but we gain insight into the various opposing forces of this legal battle and what they are trying to accomplish. We come to understand the basic legal tenets of why no one accused of a crime is expected to take the stand to testify and how a jury is strictly instructed not to hold such a refusal against them.

Reading this novel is like taking a class in law school except we are caught up in the plot that rivals a TV courtroom or movie story. I must admit that we also were given a dose of cynicism from the author’s experience. For example the statement that popped up at an appropriate place threw me for a loop. Cases are won or lost not on the truth but in the predominance of perjury attended by witnesses on the stand who lie with impunity and then walk away. Shortly later, the author stated The law is no instrument for divining the truth.

In the end, I had a very enjoyable and educational experience. This 1992 novel was Steve Martini’s first novel in this series and I understand the fourteenth book is due out in May of 2016, I cannot help wondering if the author may have even raised his game with additional novels under his belt.


To obtain of copy of this book from Amazon, please click here

1 comment » | FL - Fiction Legal, FM - Fiction Mystery, Uncategorized

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

July 25th, 2010 — 2:31am

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's NestThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third of a trilogy of books written by Mr. Larsson and in my opinion the best of the trio. It is a continuation of the first two books, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. You will best appreciate it if you have read the others and be familiar with the main characters and the ongoing storyline.  However, this last book is the one to read if you only reading one, as there is an attempt to summarize some of the previous plots but this will not capture all the intrigue of the earlier books. In the third book there are some new nefarious villains and lots of police types, some good and some not so good. There is a complicated plot, several murders and a great courtroom scene. The reader learns about Sapo, a secret law enforcement agency and an ultra secret component of that agency, as well as a special government agency mandated to prosecute threats to the Swedish constitution. It all seems unfamiliar but ultimately understandable as the plot unfolds. It might be the same if a non-American reader were reading a novel with a convoluted plot, which involved the FBI, secret components within the CIA and actions by the Attorney General of the United States. We would understand the organizations, might believe that they could do secret horrific things depicted in the book but yet also realize that we are most probably dealing with the imagination of the author.

One of the main characters is Mikael Blomkvist a crusading journalist who was an editor and one of the founders of the magazine Millennium with whom the author perhaps identified. An Internet search about real life author Stieg Larsson reveals that he was a journalist who founded the Swedish magazine Expo and was a life time opponent of fascists, neo Nazis and the extreme right wing in Sweden. He gave lectures about right wing extremists at Scotland Yard and lived under constant threat from right wing violence. When neo-Nazis murdered a labor-union leader in his home in 1999 in Sweden, the police discovered photos of and information about Larsson and his lifetime companion Eva Garbrielson in the murderer’s apartment. It was reported that the reason Larsson and Garbrielson never married or registered as a domestic couple was because they would have to officially report their address and might be endangered by doing so Larsson also wrote a book for the Swedish Union of Journalists of instructions on how journalists should respond to threats. It is easy to see that many of the experiences Mikael Blomkvist in Larsson’s novel could have come from the author’s experience or concern’s about what could really happen to a crusading journalist.  Another reason I suspect Larsson identified with his character of Blomkvist and might have wanted to be like him, because he is depicted as a very smart cool guy with the highest journalist ethics. Also, quite a few of the women characters in this book and the previous two were very attracted to him and ended up in bed with him.

While not the  main focus of the book, there are clear themes of sexual freedom  and feminism  which reflect the more openness in Sweden in dealing with all  aspects of these issues. Berger an important woman editor in the book is very comfortable having a sexual relationship with Blomkvist although she is happily married with a very good sexual relationship with her husband who accepts her attraction and frequent beddings with her fellow journalist. A “muscular” but very attractive policewoman is an important lover of Blomkvist. There are descriptions of people comfortably in lesbian, gay and threesome relationships, which come up as side issues although not driving the story. Trafficking in young girls was an important part of the plot of the second book and derivatives of this situation continue into the final book of the trilogy. The “Girl” is Lisabeth, is a thin small boned young women, who has been sexually abused, is bisexual but yet constantly overcomes powerful men by her brain and her physical prowess. This is a young woman triumphing over her own abuse, which is a victory for herself, all women and obviously for a better society.

Whether it is the characters themselves, the enormity of the plot or the complicated mysteries that need to be solved by the police and the journalists, Stieg Larsson has captured the imagination of more than 20 million readers in 41 countries. In 2008 he was the second best selling author in the world. His untimely death by a heart attack in 2004 at the age of 50, before any of his novels were published, robbed the world of a talented author. Although he may further live on through his work, as I understand that there were some unpublished, unfinished manuscripts in his computer when he died, which might have the making of at least one novel and maybe more.

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