Books by Barry Reed

Released: May 1, 1997

Dan Sheridan, one of the slicker members of Boston's criminal bar (The Indictment, 1994), accepts a civil suit that pits him against the city's legal, medical, and religious powers in another arresting case-history of health care gone wrong from old pro Reed (chairman of the Massachusetts Trial Lawyers Association). Donna DiTullio, a stressed-out tennis prodigy who attempts suicide at age 22, sustains massive paralytic injuries in the wake of a five-story fall from an atrium balcony at St. Anne's Hospital. The maimed girl's distraught parents retain Sheridan to sue the hospital, its owner (the Roman Catholic Archdiocese), and her physician—Dr. Robert Sexton, a world-class psychiatrist. Mother Church quickly calls in heavy-hitting Charles Finnerty to defend its financial interests. With help from partner Tom Buckley, the undaunted plaintiff's counsel begins digging into the backgrounds of everyone connected to his client's near-fatal plunge. In the course of these inquiries, Sheridan unearths disturbing evidence that Sexton's top-drawer credentials mask a dark past. While the opposition gets the better of preliminary courtroom skirmishes, Sheridan (a resilient Vietnam vet) soldiers on, even managing to establish rudimentary communications with voiceless Donna. The game gets appreciably rougher as the determined advocate presses for answers to the question of why a vulnerable mental patient was left unattended in an open area, and hHe eventually comes close enough to the truth to draw potentially murderous fire from an anonymous assailant while jogging. Before the proceedings are fairly under way, however, Sheridan risks all to engineer an ethically iffy, out-of-court confrontation that ensures approximately appropriate forms of justice for all parties. Although a seemingly pivotal character (a psych-unit nurse) drops out of sight early on and Sexton's use of a Prozac-like medication turns out to be a red herring, Reed once again makes the machinations of big-time attorneys immensely entertaining. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 5, 1994

Reed (The Choice, 1991, etc.) varies the David-and-Goliath scenario that's worked so well in his previous legal thrillers by making David just a little more powerful and setting him an even tougher goal. Maverick defense attorney Dan Sheridan's job is not just to get the client off, but to avoid the indictment that will destroy his livelihood and good name. Did prominent surgeon and IRA supporter Dr. Christopher Dillard kill his frequent companion, Angela Williams, and dump her body miles from her opulent apartment? The police and the DA's office (senatorial hopeful Neil Harrington and his avid top prosecutor, Mayan d'Ortega) say he did; a lie-detector test that Harrington and d'Ortega refuse to accept or duplicate says he didn't. No sooner has Sheridan, already no friend of Harrington, taken Dillard's case than the DA enlists the Feds in an attempt to link Sheridan and Dillard to Boston kingmaker Sonny Callahan in a series of indictments for conspiracy, bribery, and racketeering. An old friend in the DA's office manages to warn Sheridan that his phones are tapped, but not that his new legal secretary, Sheila O'Brien, is actually an undercover FBI agent. Watch Harrington and Co. cook up scheme after scheme to catch clean-cut Sheridan taking a bribe. Watch Sheridan and O'Brien falling for each other as she sees what he's made of. Watch d'Ortega convene a grand jury that'll rule on the merits of the prosecution's case without the benefit of any evidence or cross- examination by the defense. And watch (Reed's hallmark) the pressure mount on two lone innocents, the cop who finds out a fix is in at the DA's office and the green pathologist who slowly convinces herself that her alcoholic boss is lying about the cause of death. Although the IRA apparatus is unconvincing and the ending drags, eavesdropping on these legal eagles trying to one-up each other to death is still sinfully entertaining. Read full book review >
THE CHOICE by Barry Reed
Released: Aug. 1, 1991

Francis X. Galvin, the down-at-the-heels lawyer who so memorably took on the establishment in The Verdict (1980), has become part of the establishment now: he's about to land a partnership in a top Boston firm when fledgling attorney Antonia Alvarez asks him to help prosecute a suit against Gammett Industries, whose miracle drug for heart disease, Lyosin, has produced birth defects in the children of her Portuguese clients. Not only is Galvin obliged to turn down the case, since his firm already represents Gammett, but he's forced to defend the suit against Tina and the allies he's rounded up for her, including his old partner, Moe Katz. There's no mystery about guilt: Reed reveals early on that Chip Hovington, son of Galvin's boss, has advised Universal, Gammett's multinational parent corporation, to backdate changes in Gammett's incorporation papers to shield itself from an American lawsuit, and that Sabrina Bok-Sahn, the brainy Burmese whose family's research is behind Lyosin, has suppressed evidence dating back to 1902 of the side-effects of the drug's active ingredient. But suspense mounts as we watch Galvin maneuver within his fraternity of well- tailored sharks for advantages he doesn't think Gammett deserves, even as he gradually realizes that key witnesses—the letter carrier who allowed Universal to avoid the serving of legal documents, the down- home lawyer who tried to blackmail Universal into a rich retirement, and finally repentant Sabrina herself—are getting killed, and he's the logical next victim of his own client's desperate greed. Not even a massively predictable finale can spoil what may be the best novel of legal infighting ever. Eat your heart out, Perry Mason. Read full book review >