THE HEART OF JUSTICE by William J. Coughlin


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 A legal slugfest over control of a Microsoftish firm puts the heat on all interested parties, including the presiding judge and his bride. Jordan Crandell, sharklike head of Summit, Inc., wants to reach across America to buy nerdy Eric Lynch's Cinderella corporation Starware, Inc. So does Crandell's equally ruthless competitor Lew Valentine. Crandell nails down the first meeting with Lynch and the first offer; Valentine counterattacks by offering more money and insinuating that Crandell's financing is shaky. When Lynch, who's harbored a grudge against Valentine for 20 years, accepts Crandell's tender offer, Valentine's hired gun, Bernard Odette, a takeover expert dubbed the Michigan Assassin, sues Summit and Starware, filing an injunction to halt the offer. Although Paul Murray, a rookie federal judge hungry for experience and publicity, is delighted when he's assigned to hear the case, he'd be sleeping a lot less soundly if he knew that (1) Crandell secretly put him forward for the federal bench as a wedding present to his wealthy society wife, Hope; (2) Crandell's now hired a private eye to dig up any dirt that could be used to blackmail Murray; and (3) half a billion of the dollars Crandell's put up for Starware have been sneaked out of Hope Murray's trust fund by her impecunious uncle. So Murray has every reason to rule in Crandell's favor. Wonder what will happen if he doesn't? Unlike most of Coughlin's crudely effective courtroom thrillers (In the Presence of Enemies, 1993, etc.), this posthumous novel offers little in the way of courtrooms or thrills; it's a soapy saga in which you end up rooting for the judge but wish all the charmless litigants would lose. (First printing of 125,000; $125,000 ad/promo)

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-11534-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1994


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