DOUBLE JEOPARDY by William Bernhardt


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 A rookie Dallas attorney who's a whiz in the courtroom has to take his show on the road when his lowlife client busts out of jail and implicates him in a three-ring circus of mob violence. Handed the unenviable task of defending Alberto Moroconi on charges of rape and aggravated assault, hotshot ex-cop Travis Byrne burns the midnight oil preparing a defense, despite pressure from the victim's family and a beating from a pair of hooligans who want Moroconi to remain in jail. But Moroconi won't stay put, despite the promise of Byrne's clever defense. Following the blueprint drawn up by a turncoat FBI agent who's in his pocket, he breaks out, killing one of his guards. When Byrne gets a midnight phone call summoning him to a rendezvous with his client, he doesn't call the police, because he plans to turn Moroconi in himself (a little naãve there, maybe?), but the meeting turns into a bloodbath, and now Byrne has to take it on the lam too, hunted by (1) Mario Catuara, who's battling Moroconi for control of the local mob; (2) the enforcer who killed Moroconi's last lawyer; (3) the treacherous FBI agent; (4) a mysterious sniper loaded with high-tech killing gear; and (5) the client himself, who's not happy about the way the defense has been going. With his friends under scrutiny by the police, the mob, the FBI, rogue FBI agents under contract to the mob, guys just pretending to be FBI agents, and guys who just like to shoot, Byrne naturally goes to ground with Laverne Cavanaugh, the state's attorney he's been humiliating in court, and the two of them hunker down for a pleasantly interminable series of face- offs, impersonations, and double-crosses. Bernhardt (Perfect Justice, 1994, etc.) serves up a fine farrago of nonstop, nonsensical action evidently intended for audiences who think lawyers don't get enough exercise and fresh air. ($100,000 ad/promo)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-345-38683-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995


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