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The Last Plea Bargain [Paperback]

Randy Singer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 17 2012
2013 Christy Award finalist!
Plea bargains may grease the rails of justice, but for Jamie Brock, prosecuting criminals is not about cutting deals. In her three years as assistant DA, she’s never plea-bargained a case and vows she never will. But when a powerful defense attorney is indicted for murder and devises a way to bring the entire justice system to a screeching halt, Jamie finds herself at a crossroads. One by one, prisoners begin rejecting deals. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and felons start walking free on technicalities. To break the logjam and convict her nemesis, Jamie must violate every principle that has guided her young career. But she has little choice. To convict the devil, sometimes you have to cut a deal with one of his demons.

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The Last Plea Bargain + The Justice Game + Fatal Convictions
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay May 20 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I felt that I was continually waiting for the story to begin and then for something to happen. It does become somewhat more intriguing toward the end of the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A solid legal thriller March 18 2012
By christianfictionaddiction TOP 100 REVIEWER
Jamie Brock is a no-nonsense prosecutor who has developed a reputation for refusing to plea bargain and cut a deal for criminals. However, her vow to hold criminals accountable to the full extent of the law is tested when she gets involved in a case where the accused is being arrested for allegedly murdering his wife. During his time in jail, he seizes the opportunity to jam up the justice system by enacting a plan for all criminals in the city to refuse to make a deal, and the prosecutor's caseloads explode in numbers. In the meantime, Jamie's seeking justice for the man convicted of murdering her mother many years earlier, a man awaiting the death penalty. As the day of his death draws near, Jamie's personal life starts unraveling, while she is faced with making compromises at work that have startling consequences.

The Last Please Bargain is typical Randy Singer - a tautly written legal suspense novel with plenty of twists and turns. The plot raced along, with a myriad of villains thrown into the mix, until you're not sure who's the good guy anymore. Jamie is a complex character with an admirable bent for justice and someone who holds family first, and you just can't help liking her despite her very human flaws and sometimes questionable ethics.

I found the elements of the plot regarding plea bargaining and the attempt to overwhelm the justice system to be fascinating, one that made me wonder if such a thing would be truly possible in real life, and what impact that would have on society over the long-term. The conclusion was superb with one twist that I didn't entirely see coming, and it neatly wrapped up the story while leaving me wishing for future books involving Jamie Brock (and her unexpected romance with a character I shall leave unnamed).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  243 reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Legal Drama Feb. 21 2012
By Melissa - Published on
What would happen to the legal system if suddenly every defendant demanded a trial by jury? With over 90% of cases settled by plea bargain agreements, if defendants were no longer willing to work out a deal, it would literally bring the legal system to a halt. This is the scenario Randy Singer presents in his latest legal thriller, The Last Plea Bargain.

Every judge and defense attorney that works in the Milton County Judicial system knows Jamie Brock (from False Witness) does not make plea bargains. She works hard to ensure her cases go to trial. A strong victim advocate, she excels at her job, but recently her personal life has taken a downward turn. Her father is in a vegetative state and Antoine Marshall, the man who murdered her mother twelve years ago, is scheduled to be executed soon. Adding to her stress is the alluring possibility of convicting Caleb Tate (the man who represented Antoine) of murdering his wife Rikki. However, with little evidence against Caleb and the possibility of corruption within the investigation, the prospect of a conviction is uncertain. With abundant twists and turns, The Last Plea Bargain is a riveting legal drama from one of the best authors in genre.

I have been anxiously waiting for this book for the last 18 months. I first heard about it during our interview with Randy for his last book, Fatal Convictions. The consequences of criminals bogging down the justice system by refusing to plea bargain sounded like an excellent premise for a novel. As it turns out, this aspect is a relatively minor, though integral portion of a much larger story, which sets the stage for a chain of events that make this book an intense, masterful legal thriller.

The Last Plea Bargain has several plots and within each plot are several smaller plots that make for a fantastic multi-layered novel. Jamie is struggling through a variety of emotional issues ranging from her father's condition to the bitterness and anger she feels towards Antoine and Caleb. Her open hostility does a nice job of keeping the reader off balance and preventing them from conclusively determining Caleb's guilt. Additionally, Jamie is working through issues related to her father's reputation and questions concerning Antoine's conviction. Jamie's boss, Bill Masterson, is running for Attorney General of Georgia and his campaign and politics continue to hamper the case's progress. Also lurking in the background is the struggle by Antoine's new lawyer, Mace James, to prevent his execution. All these storylines are related and I loved watching them all come together.

One of my favorite aspects of Singer's novels is his remarkable ability to integrate spiritual themes and difficult moral issues. In almost every book, I've been challenged by the different views that Singer presents. In most cases, he remains neutral, which allows for the reader to better evaluate their own preconceived ideas and perhaps gain a new perspective. In this book, I like that Singer challenged my die-hard, pro-death penalty stance. I didn't change my opinion, but I do see the points that were made in opposition to capital punishment. Additionally, I appreciate the straightforward reminders of justice and mercy. While never preachy, this book does an excellent job of presenting spiritual themes and pointing the reader to the ultimate Judge.

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but I'll say it again anyway--for those who enjoy legal thrillers, Randy Singer is the author to check out. His novels are fun, insightful, complex, intelligent stories which are meticulously researched and developed. After impatiently waiting 18 months to read The Last Plea Bargain, I was not disappointed!

Review title provided courtesy of Tyndale
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singer Weaves a Page-Turning Tale Amid Several Tough Topics Feb. 16 2012
By Josh Olds of Life is Story - Published on
Jamie Brock has spent four years as an assistant DA and she's never cut a deal. Prosecuting criminals is about giving them what they deserve, not giving them a more lenient sentence just because they plead guilty. Jamie's in the minority, but that's her conviction, and so she takes on the extra work that comes with the extra trials and prosecutions.

But she soon finds herself at a crossroads. A well-known defense attorney has been accused of murdering his supermodel wife and Jamie's handed the case. The attorney, Caleb Tate, just so happens to be the man who defended her mother's killer several years before--a killer currently on death row and about to be executed.

As Brock dives into the case headlong, the DA's office soon finds itself in trouble. To logjam the system, Tate has convinced the prisoners to reject plea bargains and take all cases to trial. The result as sheer cacophony as prosecutors find themselves overwhelmed with the 90% of cases that would have been plea bargained. Felons start walking free based on technicalities. The entire justice system grinds to a halt and the prosecution has much less time to work on prosecuting Caleb Tate.

Randy Singer's legal knowledge and writing expertise shines in The Last Plea Bargain, a concoction of courtroom drama and investigative thriller that mixes in pertinent ethical issues and several unexpected twists. And the result is absolutely brilliant. Brock, who we first met during her law school days in False Witness, is a strong protagonist whose character development isn't sacrificed to the legal themes. It's her convictions that keep her from plea bargaining, yet it's the lack of plea bargaining that might set a killer free; it's her mother's killer that's facing the death penalty, yet thanks to the killer's appeals lawyer she's now questioning if that's justice. The novel's themes aren't just abstract ponderings of law and ethics, but actually mean something to Jamie, and so in turn mean more to us readers.

The subplot involving appeals lawyer Mace James and his insistence that Jamie's mother's killer is innocent is in itself fascinating and makes for some excellent questions. What should Christians think about the death penalty? Should we execute someone who has reformed? How do we know they've truly reformed? What if they're actually innocent?

The issue of plea bargaining also raises interesting legal and ethical questions. Jamie is opposed to bargaining on her principles of justice, yet it seems that plea bargaining is essential to the justice system in order to get things done, because there's simply not the resources to take every crime to trial. There's simply too much crime. Is it ethical to cut deals? Is it beneficial? Singer takes on a debated topic within legal circles (see the Supreme Court case Brady v. United States) and puts it in a context that not only makes itself accessible to average person (itself quite the feat) but also turns it into a pivotal point in a thrilling story.

Randy Singer writes legal thrillers like his protagonists practice law: with razor-sharp wit, a healthy dose of suspense, a dash of danger, and no fear of tackling difficult cases. The Last Plea Bargain is more of the same from Singer without being the same-old, same-old. Compelling, captivating, and sometimes controversial, Singer's my go-to author for legal thrillers.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read May 14 2012
By D. Catanzaro - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have to say that I enjoyed reading Randy Singer's latest novel. Well developed characters, good plot, interesting story. Mr. Singer's books may not be as popular in the mainstream as those like Grisham, Baldacci, etc. but in my opinion the quality is just as good.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What is this book about? June 18 2012
By Bill Garrison - Published on
Randy Singer has consistently proven to be one of the best legal thriller writers in the market today. His books have always been full of great characters and twists, and had plots that would rival John Grisham in their legal complexity. Unfortunately, THE LAST PLEA BARGAIN failed to grab my interest. Singer has the plot going in several directions, and none of the story lines feel like the main plot of the novel, This is a book filled with subplots. No storyline stands out and lets the reader grab on. Only at the end do all of the story lines fall in line and mesh, but by then, it was too late.

Many years ago, Antoine Marshall was convicted of murdering Jamie Brock's mother. Marshall gets a last minute stay, and as a prosecuter, Jamie is furious. Caleb Tate, a famous defense attorney who defended Antoine Marshall, is accused of murdering his reformed show girl wife. Mason James, a lawyer with a felony record, will do anything to prove Marshall's innocence. Tate claims he has evidence that Jamie's father was a crooked lawyer.

Is this novel about Jamie trying to prove Tate killed his wife? Is it about Mason James saving Antoine Marshall from the electric chair? Is it about Jamie Brock finding out who really killed her mom? As I approached the end, I didn't know. Singer also throws in another subplot about the prisoners in Atlanta jails collaborating to put a halt to the court system, and this plot line deserved more than second teir status. As a reader, I was thinking that it was either outlandish and unrealistic, or incredibly unique and deserving of more from Singer.

This was my least favorite Singer novel, and I'm struggling to pinpoint why. I guess its just that for the first two thirds of the book, I really don't know what I, as a reader, should be rooting for. All the plot elements are there, but Singer doesn't combine them into a compelling story. There is almost too much going on. John Grisham wrote an entire novel about a man on death row and the race to save him. In this book, it is just one of many plot threads.

As I sat down to write this review, I saw the overwhelming amount of five star reviews. While I don't doubt I may be a little off in my review, I know this isn't the BEST legal thriller ever written, as the reviews indicate. This is a good novel, but it just has flaws. The plot isn't too complex, it just never really gets going. It isn't a spoiler to reveal that the case against Caleb Tate begins in earnest about 80% into the novel. By then, it was too late to grab my interest.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good Nov. 14 2013
By L. Case - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of Singer's best. Keeps getting better the more you read. Really hard to see too far ahead or guess where it is going.
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