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The Judgment Mass Market Paperback – May 1 2002

4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Vision; New edition edition (May 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446611247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446611244
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.2 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #783,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

When Calvin Jeffries's body is found in the courthouse parking garage, eyes widen and horrified tongues wag. The fact that Jeffries was a thoroughly reprehensible human being doesn't detract from the notoriety of the first murder of a sitting Oregon judge. Defense attorney extraordinaire Joe Antonelli has a long history with Jeffries. Years ago the judge threw him into jail for contempt in a vain attempt to deter Antonelli from winning yet another case. But one of Antonelli's colleagues suffered even more. As the curious Antonelli pieces together fragments of the legendary judge's past, he discovers that Jeffries apparently drove Elliott Winston insane, had him committed, and married his wife. If only Elliott weren't still securely in the psychiatric hospital, what a sterling suspect he'd make!

But the police find the killer, a homeless man with the murder weapon and a willingness to confess, who promptly commits suicide after being taken into custody. The legal community breathes a sigh of relief--until a second judge is murdered in the same manner. When another homeless man is arrested, Antonelli's "bizarre coincidence" antennae start to quiver, and he offers his services to the defendant. So convinced is he of Danny's innocence that he plunges undercover into the vagrant's world, searching for evidence of a setup. But his discoveries seem to point directly to the impossible--for how could Elliott Winston, safely tucked behind bars, be the murderer?

At some point during The Judgment (the exact moment will vary according to individual tolerance), you may find yourself putting the book aside and picking up an Elmore Leonard for an emergency infusion of quality dialogue. Along with everyone with whom he comes in contact, Antonelli suffers from an apparent speech impediment that usually makes him sound like a particularly pompous 19th-century pundit.

When author D.W. Buffa lets his courtroom savvy take center stage, the novel moves along briskly (even though Antonelli takes some rather remarkable legal liberties, it's all in good fun). The subplot involving the return of Antonelli's high-school sweetheart, however, feels less integral than afterthought-ish. Though Buffa tries to tie everything together at the end with a heavily contrived twist that probably set O. Henry yawning in his grave, the novel's final note isn't one of ringing irony. It's more like a dull thud. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Inventing a perfectly odious victim and an obvious killer with the perfect alibi, Buffa cooks up a convoluted legal thriller littered with plot-twist land mines that explode when least expected. Toss in a poignant midlife romance and an innocent, put-upon defendant, and you have a novel with wide appeal. So few people grieve when loathsome circuit judge Calvin Jeffries is stabbed to death and gutted in the courthouse parking garage that it comes as a shock when the confessed killer is revealed to be a homeless man with no apparent ties to the victim. When a second sharp-tongued judge is killed the same way in the same spot, the cops call it a copycat killing and arrest a retarded homeless man on an anonymous tip, finding him with the murder weapon. Seasoned defense attorney Joseph Antonelli, himself a particularly maligned target of the venomous Jeffries, is persuaded to take the case and becomes convinced that both murders were planned by the same brilliant criminal one Antonelli is particularly familiar with, since the man once shot him. Antonelli's investigator, disbarred lawyer and recovering alcoholic Howard Flynn, sees his own dead son in the retarded defendant and throws himself wholeheartedly into the case. Unfortunately, Antonelli's suspect has been in the state home for the criminally insane for the past 12 years and could not possibly have committed the crimes. Meanwhile, bachelor Antonelli's high school sweetheart re-enters his life after a bout with manic depression and a rough divorce. Buffa (The Prosecution) once again produces a fast-spinning tale that jolts and veers enticingly off-track, but always stays comfortably in sight of the main objective. Well-developed characters and the rich Portland, Ore., milieu add depth to this excellent thriller. Agent, Wendy Sherman. Major ad/ promo; author tour; audio.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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I have spent years defending some of the worst people who ever lived, but the most evil man I ever knew was never once accused of a crime. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 24 2004
Format: Hardcover
FLAW? Why didn't Joseph Antonelli stop them from committing Elliott Winston to an insane asylum when he was charged with Antonelli's attempted murder? Wasn't he called as a witness? Didn't he have any say so as to whether Winston would be charged or not? Couldn't he have refused to press charges? Or am I wrong?
Why didn't he do anything to help his good friend Winston? I mean Antonelli hired Winston cuz he thought he was the best young lawyer going and as the years go by comes to really like this kid. Yet stands by and does nothing when Winston needs him. He doesn't even visit him in the asylum for 12 yrs. Doesn't make any sense to me. What kind of a friend is that? Doesn't make the character of Antonelli very appealing.
I've read a couple of Buffas's Joseph Antonelli books and have yet to really feel/know any of the characters. For such a successful lawyer he doesn't seem to have his act together, do any serious investigating etc. . He just seems to stumble onto information.
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Format: Hardcover
Judge Calvin Jeffries, an egomaniac with a vindictive nature, is murdered. He is stabbed in the courthouse parking garage. The judge had enough enemies so the suspect list would be voluminous. However, an anonymous phone call alerts the authorities to arrest a homeless man and escaped mental patient who confesses to the crime then commits suicide. It appears to be an open and shut case until two months later when Judge Jeffries' successor is killed in the same location in a similar manner. Joseph Antonelli, defense attorney, agrees to defend the man accused of the crime, another mental patient who was so abused in his past that he is almost unable to communicate. As Joseph looks into the case, he finds that events in his own past plays a pivotal role in the case.
There are many legal thrillers published each year. In fact, it is considered a strong dynamic subgenre of the mystery field. I just wonder what made this particular volume stand out in the mind of the Edgar Committee for best novel. THE JUDGEMENT is a competently written, yet overblown work. Characterizations, especially that of the first person narrator, Joseph Antonelli, are skillfully done and is the major strength of the work. The plot, itself, is reasonably compelling yet so very long and, at times, aimless, that reader interest could tend to wane. Courtroom scenes appear realistic, yet, they are a bit too detailed such as the judge's instructions to the jury on courtroom proceedings. The solution, when it comes at last, is ambiguous enough to cause frustration. Perhaps I am being overly critical, however, I think if a book is nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award it should be held to a higher standard. I feel THE JUDGEMENT does not meet that standard. Nonetheless, it is a very entertaining book and a good pick for summer reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a pleasant enough read, but I figured out "whodunnit" long before the second murder (less than 200 pages into it), mostly because the main plot is something of a transposition of a device used by others--e.g., Katzenbach's "Just Cause." Buffa's transposition is clever enough, but still, if you see it developing you know what's going on.
The more "philosophical" theme--kind of a meditation on mental illness vs. normalcy--would be more persuasive if (a) that debate had not moved past Buffa's apparent perspective thirty years ago and (b) his accounts of mental illness showed more knowledge of the subject. While the caricature of shrinkdom offered in Elliot's shrink is great, Elliot's dissembling and successful defrauding of the shrink for twelve years strains credulity (though such things have been done in some famous research for shorter periods). That's a minor sin, though--it's not entirely ridiculous, and it IS entertaining. The "love interest," though-- a woman who comies back into Antonelli's life after many years-- bears no relation to any psychiatric diagnosis or syndrome, least of all to "manic depression," as he calls it. (That he uses this long outdated term may be revealing, since it dates from the time when Buffa's meditation might have been timely.) The ways Buffa draws parallels between the suffering we call mental illness and various phenomena of everyday life are just naive and mistaken.
The book's structure is odd--takes a long time to get to its main plot, for instance. I didn't really mind that, but don't expect this to be a grab-you-by-the-throat piece of suspense.
I wouldn't say to avoid this book, but within its genre, it is definitely only B-team work.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Buffa uses a lot of smoke and mirrors to make this novel work, but the result is a memorable read.
When two rather unloved judges get stabbed in an indoor parking lot, the cases are actually hard to connect, because before the second judge is murdered the killer of the first judge has already been caught, and has committed suicide in his cell. This is the basic premise of the book, and it's up to Defense Attorney Joseph Antonelli to prove that the answer to the second killing is not simply "Copycat!" (in this intricate story?...not likely!).
I'm never sure what the police are up to in this book, but the Defense Attorney basically investigates the case in the courtroom. He is defending the alleged killer of the second victim--an introverted, childlike homeless man--and I suppose I have to accept that a Defense Attorney who bases his defense on arguing a complicated, whiff-of-conspiracy theory would be allowed the far-ranging latitude that Antonelli gets up to, all in the interest of justice for his client. But would a real courtroom feature so much banter about what would sound like a far-fetched, ridiculous theory, without the judge deciding it was all an elaborate smokescreen?
It turns out that Antonelli is on to something, diabolical as it may be. If the mystery content of the novel loses steam, it's because Antonelli has sniffed out the basics of the puzzle fairly early on, which allows the plot to deal with him trying to sell outlandish-sounding theories in the courtroom for many of the later chapters. So, it's fair to say that there are many surprise revelations throughout the book, but maybe not in the places you expect.
As a subplot, Antonelli begins stepping out with an old sweetheart who has popped back into his life.
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