DEATH’S WITNESS by Paul Batista

DEATH’S WITNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The murder of a high-profile lawyer places his curious widow in jeopardy.

During his evening run in Central Park, defense attorney and former Heisman Trophy–winner Tom Perini is joined by another jogger who shoots him in the head. His widow, Julie, with toddler daughter Kim, tries to stay strong through the resultant media flurry and Manhattan funeral full of famous faces. At the time of his death, Tom was on a team of lawyers defending Congressman Danny Fonseca on a charge of bribery; additionally, Tom alone represented Selig “Sy” Klein, the elderly (alleged) mobster charged with bribing Fonseca. Julie is questioned by FBI Special Agent John McGlynn, who determines that she knows almost nothing about her husband’s business affairs. Shortly after, the reader learns that McGlynn hired the hit man who killed Tom. Julie returns to her career as a broadcast journalist—a move that emboldens her to dig for answers about Tom’s murder. She makes the mistake of contacting McGlynn with her concerns, which alerts him to Julie as a potential problem. Julie’s digging for information runs parallel to the unfolding trial and Tom’s possible role in wrongdoing. Julie meets with Sy Klein and, not long after, he’s also murdered. It’s only when Julie calls McGlynn again to talk about Klein that she begins to understand that he won’t be helping her; the darker truth about his involvement remains for her to discover. When the FBI makes a move to seize all of Tom’s personal papers, Julie appeals to his partner and friend, Vincent Sorrentino, a standup attorney leading Fonseca’s defense team. Meanwhile, a journalist informs the skeptical Julie that New York magazine is about to publish an exposé on Tom’s activities. Julie and Sorrentino team up to uncover the truth. Can they do it in time?

With the exception of some engrossing scenes of complex legal maneuvering, Batista’s fiction debut is fairly ordinary and predictable.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 2006
ISBN: 1-4022-0665-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2006