This novel certainly doesn’t skimp on twisty plot turns, but retains an understated, authentic approach to the law.

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The Inevitable Witness

From the Bobby Earl series , Vol. 1

A Los Angeles lawyer defends a professional safecracker accused of murder in Rucker’s debut legal thriller.

Criminal defense attorney Bobby Earl gladly takes a case when the public defender is unavailable, especially after a judge assures him that he’ll be paid. Sydney Seabrooke is facing a murder charge, and evidence points to his presence at a Chinese restaurant where the body of LA cop Terry Horgan was found. Seabrooke professes his innocence, but the fact that he was at the scene of the crime in order to break into a safe doesn’t look good. But Earl is inclined to believe Seabrooke, who says he was pulling the job for bondsman Johnny Aradano in exchange for bail for an earlier, unrelated arrest. It also turns out that Horgan wasn’t an upstanding officer; although the cop didn’t own the restaurant, he did own the safe inside it, and Earl suspects that its contents—bulky stacks of cash—may have been the spoils of Horgan’s involvement with drug dealers. Before the trial begins, there’s a break-in at Earl’s office, and jailhouse snitch Jake “The Snake” Snyder claims that Seabrooke confessed to the murder. The attorney’s investigation into the seedy world of drugs provokes some dangerous people, but he still hopes to find a witness for the defense—or maybe even a killer. Rucker’s muted thriller steers clear of convention; there’s no glaring piece of evidence, for example, that guarantees that Earl will save his client. The story acknowledges its realism with humor, including nods to the TV series Law & Order (“most young women DA’s had chosen to emulate the female television prosecutors on ‘Law and Order,’ which meant exuding a toughness just short of announcing ‘mine are bigger than yours’ ”). Earl faces some other hurdles before and during the trial: he unintentionally irks television personality Thomas Glass (aka “The Thumb,” who has a knack for tipping scales of opinion one way or the other), and someone else threatens and takes a few shots at the lawyer. Overall, Earl’s a shrewd, worthy protagonist, surrounded by exceptional characters, including reliable investigator Manny Munoz and second-chair district attorney Samantha Price.

This novel certainly doesn’t skimp on twisty plot turns, but retains an understated, authentic approach to the law.

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9913274-7-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: Chickadee Prince Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2016

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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