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High Crimes [Abridged] [Audio CD]

Joseph Finder
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2002
Claire Heller Chapman has the perfect life. She's a Harvard Law professor and criminal defense attorney known for taking on - and winning - tough cases. She's also happily married to Tom, and has a six-year-old daughter she adores. Then Tom is arrested by a team of government agents and accused of a 13-year-old wartime atrocity he insists he didn't commit. Claire soon discovers that her husband is not who he says he is, that once he had a different name, even a different face. Now Claire must defend Tom in a top-secret military court-marshal. As her career, and even her life, are put in jeopardy, she must try to believe in her husband's innocence - even when everything indicates that he is a killer.

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From Amazon

When (not if---the deal has already been signed) this terrific thriller gets made into a movie, you might see Morgan Freeman as a crusty lawyer who specializes in taking on the military establishment tell the actress playing ace Boston barrister and Harvard Law professor Claire Heller Chapman, "Every civilian who's ever gone into a military general court-martial and tried to attack the foundations of the military has lost his case. No exceptions. The military is a tight, closed fraternity. They take it real serious. Military justice is a deadly serious business." Claire has to realize this as she prepares to defend her husband--the man she knows as Tom Chapman, but who the Army says is Ron Kubik-- on charges that he took part in a massacre of 87 civilians in San Salvador 13 years before. Full of doubts about Tom's innocence and her own ability to prove it in an unfamiliar arena, Claire is brought to exciting, moving life by the extravagantly gifted Joseph Finder, whose previous thrillers (Extraordinary Powers, The Zero Hour) are available in paperback. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Finder's Zero Hour (LJ 4/1/96) was a dynamite blockbuster, and his new work is slated for the same big marketing treatment. Cinematic qualities predominate as the dialog roles on page after page with taut give-and-take and sudden plot turns that leave little time for reflection or description. (Not surprisingly, the novel is slated to become a Tri-Star Pictures motion picture.) The plot is arrow-straight: a woman lawyer, at the top of her profession, must defend her husband in a military court for his alleged horrific crimes while serving in Vietnam. Steeped in the arcane detail of military justice, with a tough-mouthed heroine and a hardworking support cast, this is not likely to be a candidate for Oprah's Book Club, but it is a sure bet for most thriller collections.?Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"At exactly nine o'clock in the morning, Claire Heller Chapman entered the cavernous old Harvard Law School lecture hall and found a small knot of reporters lying in wait for her." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is your husband who you think he is? (3.5 stars) Oct. 10 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
High Crimes begins with great promise: idyllic lives are shattered with the sudden appearance of federal agents with the intent of arresting the husband of successful attorney and law professor, Claire Heller Chapman. The arrest warrant is for Ron Kubick, not Tom Chapman, the name by which Claire had always known her husband. To add to Claire's astonishment, Ron/Tom escapes from the agents through a series of highly athletic and violent escape moves that an investment consultant could scarcely possess.
As it turns out, Ron has evaded answering for war crimes that he allegedly committed some thirteen years prior as a member of an ultra-secret special operations unit. Part of the evasion was the creation of an entirely new person. Claire, convinced of her husband's innocence, decides to defend him despite her ignorance of the workings of military justice. About half of the book is concerned with the actions of Claire and her two attorney partners, one a black man rescued off of a scrap heap and the other a young JAG officer, in dealing with military trial procedures and is somewhat interesting.
The plot, though perhaps a bit on both the unbelievable and predictable sides, moves fairly steadily. It is in the area of character development and interactions that the book exhibits some shortcomings. Some of the characters' actions just do not feel right. A petite attorney kneeing her husband in the groin after a reunion under trying circumstances seems bizarre. The interactions with the six year old daughter are especially grating. Numerous other exchanges seem spliced together. One reviewer comments on the improved dialog. There is still a ways to go.
High Crimes has a good overall story line, but the discontinuities, as noted, do not help it. Not having read other Finder books, it will be interesting to see if a smoother presentation can be found in other and future books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Few Titles Compare, Absolutely Genius! June 5 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As someone who despises the corruption far too often found in American government and fascinated with the workings of our legal system - both civilian and otherwise - this title really was a grand slam with me. It was entertaining while still being down to earth and representative of the issues any trial lawyer with scruples must wrestle with.
The pace at which this title keeps the reader turning pages is ferocious and accuracy of the legal events in the title is astounding. At the same time, a sense of realism and a sense of normalcy is maintained throughout. At several times the reader is startled by unexpected events to keep him going.
But perhaps the most startling event of all is the ending. In nearly all cases... the knowledgeable reader already has a good idea what the ending will be before reading 75% of the title and is rarely shocked by the ending. There are plenty of hairpin turns and sharp corners in this book, none are more abrupt than the ending which leave the reader both satisfied and puzzled.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This One's A Keeper! April 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The protagonist of this thriller is a woman attorney who is described as "winning the tough cases." One of those "tough cases" she won involves getting a rapist's conviction overturned on a technicality. So, Finder has written Claire Heller as a brilliant and gifted attorney, but I wanted to know more about the woman who finds legal loopholes to free rapists rather than just the smart attorney side of her. What I liked about High Crimes was that Finder didn't lose sight of the person behind the attorney and how what she does for a living affects her in all parts of her life.
When Claire Heller finds out that the man who helped her through a rocky time in her life, and who she then eventually came to love and marry, is not the person she thought he was, she's stunned and torn between who and what to believe. Then the professional attorney part of her kicks in, and she decides to defend the man she married, no matter who he is, against charges that he massacred 87 innocent people in El Salvador when he was part of a Special Services Unit in the armed forces. For those who enjoy courtroom drama and tactics, this book certainly delivers on all counts. As others before me have said, it was hard to put this one down because the story keeps developing with new levels of information that dig deeper into who Claire's husband really is and whether he could have done the horrible crimes for which he is accused. While Claire dilligently works to collect whatever evidence she can use to clear her husband of his charges, she never loses sight of the fact that if he isn't who she believed him to be, then what kind of man did she marry?
Ultimately she gets her answers in a very well written ending.
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3.0 out of 5 stars High Crimes - against the reader May 16 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Joseph Finder's High Crimes begins with an interesting setup: a successful, high profile attorney and Harvard law professor and her husband of a few years, a successful independent broker and financial advisor, are at dinner with their daughter (her's by a first marriage) when he is approached by federal agents who attempt to arrest him - after identifying him by a name she does not recognize. To her horror and surprise, he flees and she is told that he is wanted for a murder that happened years before when he went by a different name and had a different life - as a member of Special Forces. To oversimplify what happens, he is captured and brought to trial - but in a closed military court. She, of course, winds up representing him, with the help of a young Army JAG attorney and an ex-army middle aged black attorney who has a bone to pick with the military style of justice. What saves the book from being simply an ordinary courtroom drama are the strange conventions of military justice and the background plot of top secret skull-duggery.
However, as a thriller it is so predictable that one almost cringes. Knowing that she is in danger, the heroine still allows herself to be lured into a one-on-one meeting with a mystery man who asks to meet at a remote mountain restaurant (on a road barely wide enough for two cars to pass). Get the picture? Know what is coming? Unfortunately, this kind of all too predictable kind of plotting is typical of this story. Even the main question of whether or not her husband is really innocent is easy to predict early on given the heavy hints and deliberate attempts to divert the reader's attention from obvious things.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good for ann early effort
I find that Joseph Finder's books get better as he progresses as an author. I had read most of his books, then the early "High Crimes" comes back as a reprint. Read more
Published on April 24 2011 by Ron F.
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A GREAT WRITER!!!!!!
High Crimes captures the reader from the very first chapter. The plot is simple -- happy marriage until a past secret is revealed and then all hell breaks loose. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by L. Charles Wimer III
5.0 out of 5 stars Joseph Finder is a great find!!!
I became familiar with this author's name after reading reviews of his new book, PARANOIA. So, I put that one on reserve at the library and checked out HIGH CRIMES. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2004 by Judith C. Oswood
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!!!
What a great action, drama. Suspense that will blow your mind. The book is full of twist and action. This is one the is hard to put down.
Published on Feb. 8 2004 by S. Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Irresistible!
Though Joseph Finder's incredible thriller, "High Crimes," starts a little clumsily, it quickly gains momentum and becomes one of the best crime thrillers I've read in a... Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2003 by Christian
5.0 out of 5 stars High Crimes... Simply Amazing!!
I really enjoyed this book I could of read it in one sitting but
I like to make books like that last. I literally did not want
it to end. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2002 by Regina's review
5.0 out of 5 stars I was not expecting much
I picked up this book at a used bookstore, not realizing it had been made into a movie that I had no intention of seeing. Read more
Published on June 26 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars I was not expecting much
I picked up this book at a used bookstore, not realizing it had been made into a movie that I had no intention of seeing. Read more
Published on June 26 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars High Crimes
Joseph Finder has written another great book. I am an actor and writer living just outside of the Bay area. Read more
Published on June 4 2002 by Debbie
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, derivative
Yes, this is a fast read. That's because it reads as if it were an adaptation of a screenplay, rather than the other way around. Read more
Published on April 29 2002
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