IN THE PRESENCE OF ENEMIES by William J. Coughlin

IN THE PRESENCE OF ENEMIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A precariously placed Detroit lawyer with no trial experience finds himself thrust into the courtroom defense of a billionaire client's will. When Jake Martin videotaped banker Augustus Daren's latest will, it seemed a routine precaution; despite a stroke, the old man was clearly in full possession of his faculties when he decided to vest voting control of his controlling interest in giant Hanover Square Bank in his third wife, Elizabeth, instead of splitting the power with his two children as well. But now that foreign banks are sniffing around H.S.B. hoping for a merger or a buyout, whiny Chip and cautious Gussie, despite the millions they're sure to inherit, are trying to keep control of their shares--and the fabulous power they confer--by claiming their father was incompetent at that signing. Jake, who's up for a partnership in prestigious Sperling Beekman, is confident of victory only because he doesn't know that (1) Elizabeth's neighbors in upstate Eagle County, where he plans to enter the will for probate before a jury, would love to see her lose the case; (2) Chip's insider at H.S.B. has turned the two witnesses to the signing against Jake; (3) Chip's insider at Sperling Beekman has stolen both copies of the tape; and (4) the all-star litigator who's supposed to be trying the case for Sperling Beekman is about to pull out. As Jake struggles to hold his own in the often riotous courtroom scenes, his wife is suing for divorce, luscious Elizabeth is coming on to him, and Chip's suave veteran trial lawyer T.G. (Tiger) Sage is quietly turning the local newspapers against him. Guess how it all turns out. Less assured than Shadow of a Doubt (1991) and Death Penalty (1992); the ending comes too easily despite too many unresolved subplots. But Coughlin, who died early last year, keeps you burning the midnight oil up to the very end.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-08818-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993




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