When Judge Calvin Jeffries becomes the first judge to be murdered while serving in office, charismatic criminal defense attorney Joseph Antonelli finds himself smack in the middle of a riveting case.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.
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.
This is one of the best legal thrillers I read in quite a long time. The story is gripping with enough plot twists and turns that you never know what will happen next. We get a glimpse of Antonelli's early law years involving the judges. The early years' story is as interesting as the later present time story. It's almost like getting two good books in one. This story keeps the reader involved until the very last page.
When two rather unloved judges get stabbed in an indoor parking lot, the cases... Read more