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Criminal Intent Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Reprint edition (July 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345441753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345441751
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #908,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
CRIMINAL INTENT by William Bernhardt
Ballantine Books, 2002 $23.95 0-345-44173-7
Ben Kincaid, a defense attorney in Tulsa, is asked for help by a friend. A priest, Father Beale, known to Ben since childhood, is accused of murder when two of his parishioners are found dead. One of them was found dead on Father Beale's desk. Ben is now in a position to defend Father Beale against these charges and possibly save his life. However, there is more than meets the eye with the priest and these surprises very much threaten Ben's defense.
William Bernhardt is quite adept at writing the courtroom thriller. Most of the action does, in fact, occur in this arena. The trial, itself, propels the book forward as the well sketched characters battle it out. A conclusion that highlights a flaw in the legal system, is a bit unsettling. However, the book is a pleasant enough diversion on a hot summer day.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First, and most important, this is a cracking good story, with surprises right up to the end. Even if you have never read anything about Ben Kincaid before, you can start with this one and enjoy it tremendously, but it is all the more fun if Ben, Christina, Jones, Loving, and the others are old friends.
William Bernhardt created several likable and interesting series characters in addition to Ben Kincaid, and as the series has progressed, some have ben dropped and some have been added. In "Criminal Intent," Paula, one of the more recently added characters, marries Jones, but, as you might expect, their wedding is marred by murder. One of the mysteries is the lack of any fingerprints on the presumed murder weapon other than those of Father Beale, who is charged with the murder. Ben is unshakably (and correctly) certain that Father Beale did not murder anyone, but the D.A. is absolutely determined to convict him.
Ben comes up with an ingenious explanation for the lack of fingerprints, but misses an obvious possibility that I was expecting, because Bernhardt himself didn't think of it until I mentioned it in an e-mail to him. (I found the address of Bernhardt's web site on page 390 of the paperback edition.)
The observations Father Beale tells Ben about on pp. 384-5 may (one hopes) lead to developments in the next novel, "Death Row," that we fans of Ben and Christina have been hoping for for some time.
A very welcome development in the most recent Ben Kincaid novels, especially including this one, is an involvement with social issues. Bernhardt doesn't preach; he just presents a situation involving controversial ethical choices, and lets that situation speak for itself.
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By Rockinbald on Aug. 29 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my introduction to this author and his apparently recurring cast of characters, and it will be my last look in their direction. The characters are almost cartoonishly overdrawn and the plot is not horribly interesting, nor original. Life is much too short to waste time reading bad fiction. It may be that Mr. Bernhardt is capable of better, but I intend to avoid his writings like the plague.
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Format: Hardcover
You'd never guess from the title that the defense lawyer, Ben Kincaid, is going to be up to his neck in religious shenanigans...but he is. Unfortunately, in this case he is disappointed to find out how too fallible his religious guide/priest/whatever is. Bernhardt nicely involves a lot of different Christian denominations in this book...without saying anything nasty or prejudicial about them.
Many people might think the little extracurricular activities that Father Holbrook engages in and also gets his congregation to engage in is not likely to happen. Unfortunately, during the 70's it happened probably all too often. Our church did not have a building of it's own so we borrowed other churches buildings (when they would let us). One time, my mom went into the current building we were using and came out all flustered because we were going to have a children's meeting, and said we couldn't do it. I won't name the denomination, but let's just say the took the idea of 'sensitivity sessions' too far, and my modest mother who was the head of the children's organization had to wait outside and tell everyone to head home. Needless to say, we changed buildings after that!
So Bernhardt's idea isn't crazy, but it didn't make for enjoyable reading all the same. I was thrown off by who I thought was the villain of all the murders...I figured a certain somebody wanted his money sooner than later, and so had 'made arrangements.'
Bernhardt's information about how many times people are found guilty of a crime, and then when new information comes out, it doesn't necessarily exonerate them or let them out of prison because of the way the justice system worked took me by surprise. I knew that DNA was helping to free some wrongly accused.
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Format: Hardcover
As soon as I saw that this book was available, I whipped out my credit card and ordered it. Last year Final Round was published, and during a similar lull of common sense, I ordered that one, too. I thought why not wait for Ben, Christina, Loving, and Jones to return to form? Consequently, when I saw Criminal Intent was in the stores, I leaped for it. Mistake.
If anyone needs a vacation and a little down time, it's Mr. Bernhardt. He's a fine writer, and I imagine a nice chap. His earlier books were somewhat captivating. However, his last two attempts have been subpar even for a struggling hack.
I will not go into detail concerning the story line, which I found to be uninteresting, but will say that the dialogue is sophomore-ish at best. Ben has become a Boy Scout. And maybe that's all right. Maybe we need more of that in our society. The problem as I see it is that we have R-rated audiences reading G-rated mysteries. Fitting for prep school perusal, but not very exciting for folks who have read books written for the more adult population. This book belongs in the juvenile section of the local library right next to Bambi and the Black Stallion. Realistically, I just couldn't quite swallow this latest serving. Sorry.
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