OUTRAGE by Henry Denker


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Old-fashioned courtroom drama--with familiar criminal-justice issues. Late-middle-aged warehouse clerk Dennis Riordan cold-bloodedly shoots Cletus Johnson outside a Harlem bar, then turns himself in, confessing voluntarily on videotape. Why? Because a year or so earlier Johnson rape/murdered Riordan's daughter--but got off scot-free when Judge Lengel threw out his confession and evidence on technicalities; furthermore, Riordan's wife died a half-year later from sheer despair and disgust. So now Riordan has no interest in being saved from a Murder Two charge--which means an uphill fight for young lawyer Ben Gordon. He picks away at witnesses, hoping to work on the jury's sympathy, but is barred from introducing Johnson's rape-murder as evidence. Then, however, the prosecutor introduces the video tape of Riordan's confession, with its references to the Johnson case; so Gordon subpoenas Judge Lengel as a defense witness to explain the contents of the videotape. And though Judge Lengel is a hostile witness, he eventually goes over the legal issues from the controversial Johnson case. Finally, then: the jury battles for days to find the legal system guilty. Some sparky dramatic courtroom moments--but the plot and its law-and-order theme are drably old-hat, with wall-to-wall stereotypes.
Pub Date: June 3rd, 1982
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1982


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