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Breach of Trust: A Joseph Antonelli Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; First edition (May 1, 2004)
  • ISBN-10: 0399151907
  • ASIN: B00080W3JI
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,085,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A U.S. vice president is accused of covering up a 38-year-old murder at the rousing start of Buffa's sixth courtroom thriller (after Star Witness) featuring San Francisco trial lawyer Joseph Antonelli. Attending a Harvard Law School reunion, Antonelli is approached by former classmate Thomas Browning, heir to a legendary Detroit auto empire and lately vice president of the United States. Browning wants Antonelli to defend another classmate, Jimmy Haviland, who is going to be indicted by a Manhattan grand jury for the murder of a beautiful law student who fell from an eighth-floor window during a Christmas Eve party in 1965. Long since ruled an accident, the affair obviously has been unearthed to enable forces in the White House to discredit the v-p (who was at the party, too), clearing the way for the Republican president to choose a new running mate. Because of his loyalty to his classmates, Antonelli reluctantly takes the case, which is being prosecuted by an ambitious Brooklyn Catholic district attorney. Buffa writes with careful attention to detail and nuance, but lengthy description and reflection sabotage the novel's pacing, particularly in the first half. The story gains momentum when Antonelli meets a beautiful, intelligent young German reporter in D.C. and the action moves into the courtroom. Political intrigue abounds and new love stirs bittersweet memories as the case comes to a truly surprising end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Even though he is one of the best defense attorneys in the country, the ever-modest, plain-speaking Joseph Antonelli dreads attending his Harvard Law School reunion at New York's Plaza Hotel but agrees to show up at the behest of his law-school chum, Thomas Browning, now the vice president of the U.S. Browning's keynote speech praises Antonelli for being a model attorney, but the two friends have been estranged for 20 years, dating back to an incident at the Plaza when their classmate (and Browning's girlfriend) Annie fell to her death from an eighth-floor window. Returning to the Plaza rekindles interest in the suspicious nature of Annie's death, which is precisely why Browning wanted Antonelli there, for the veep suspects that he might be indicted, if not for murder then at least for conspiring to cover up a murder. Antonelli reluctantly agrees to represent the accused, whoever it may be. Buffa's series has been a hit-or-miss thing for the last few episodes, but this time maddening suspense, captivating courtroom scenes, and a marvelously twisted ending suggest that he's jumped to the next level. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

DW Buffa was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. After graduation from Michigan State University, he studied under Leo Strauss, Joseph Cropsey and Hans J. Morgenthau at the University of Chicago where he earned both an M.A. and a Ph. D. in political science. He received his J.D. degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Buffa was a criminal defense attorney for 10 years and his seven Joseph Antonelli novels strive to reflect, from his own experience, what a courtroom lawyer does, the way he (or she) thinks, and the way he feels about what he does.

Buffa had been writing for pleasure for many years when Henry Holt and Co. decided to publish his first novel, The Defense, in 1997. The week it was published, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, the literary critic of the New York Times, called The Defense 'an accomplished first novel' which 'leaves you wanting to go back to the beginning and read it over again.'

The Defense was followed by The Prosecution and then The Judgment, which was one of the five books nominated in 2002 for the Edgar Award as best novel of the year. While the first three novels are set in Portland, the author's fourth novel, The Legacy, takes place in San Francisco and is as much a political as it is legal thriller. Star Witness tells the story of Stanley Roth, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, who is charged with murder of his famous movie star wife.

Breach of Trust, published in 2004, was considered by one critic as "one of the few books that fifty years from now will really matter." It offers readers a scintillating look at Washington politics. Buffa's seventh Joseph Antonelli novel, Trial by Fire, was released in 2005; in this new book, the focus is on the media and the role that television "Talking heads" increasingly play in very high profile criminal cases. Publishers Weekly says of Trial by Fire, "In this intelligent, gripping legal moving dialogue and fine sense of characterization keep the reader hanging on for the ride."

D.W. Buffa lives in Northern California. You can visit his Official Website at if you'd like to correspond with him through email.

Customer Reviews

Don't waste your money on this hardback.
J. Beason
I have read most of Buffa's novels and recommend them highly for those who like legal suspense, but this one is very different.
Gloria Wolk
Too often, he pads his sentences with overwrought prose, rambling descriptions, and too much repetition.
E. Bukowsky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gary Turner on April 25, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my second Buffa work. The first was in the mold of John Grisham. I am not sure where Buffa was going with this work. The book begins with the main character, Joseph Antonelli, being summoned for a meeting with the current Vice-President and former Harvard classmate, Thomas Browning. Vice-President Browning has news of a pending charge against one of their former classmates of the murder of yet another classmate forty years earlier. Browning wants Antonelli to take the case.

As the case develops, hints of a White House conspiracy begin to surface. Antonelli tries to sort through the case of the present while dealing with the memories of the past. The problem: the book drags. I would like to see Mr. Buffa go back to the formula that has made his other books bestsellers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In D. W. Buffa's latest legal thriller, "Breach of Trust," criminal defense attorney Joseph Antonelli takes the case of Jimmy Haviland, an old friend from law school. Back in Harvard, Joseph had a tight circle of acquaintances, including Jimmy, Thomas Browning, now Vice President of the United States, and the beautiful Annie Malreaux. Both Thomas Browning and Jimmy Haviland were in love with Annie, but tragically, she either fell or was pushed to her death at the Plaza Hotel on Christmas Eve in 1965. Now, many years after the event, Jimmy Haviland is being tried for Annie's murder.
Thomas Browning has enlisted Joseph Antonelli, one of the country's most eminent and successful attorneys, to take Jimmy's case. Browning is convinced that Jimmy is being railroaded by the Vice President's political enemies. These individuals, Browning believes, want the public to think that years ago, Browning saw Jimmy pushing Annie to her death. According to this scenario, the Vice-President of the United States was once involved in the cover-up of a murder.
Buffa's exploration of the ruthless and polarizing world of politics is both timely and relevant. He ably shows how our justice system can be undermined to suit the needs of ambitious and self-serving individuals. These themes resonate in today's cutthroat political climate.
"Breach of Trust" is not just about politics. Buffa effectively shows the contrast between the idealism of youth and the disillusionment of middle age. When he was young, Antonelli looked forward to a fulfilling career. Years later, although he is well off and has achieved professional success and recognition, Antonelli is lonely and his personal life is barren.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Kern VINE VOICE on June 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
See storyline above.
I think D. W. Buffa is now at the top of the pile when it comes to legal thrillers. In 'Breach of Trust' he's written a novel that takes you through the corridors of D.C. while providing thought provoking political commentary. Some of his characters are somewhat long winded--what do you expect for politicians--but make some interesting points. The pace is not always fast but the story will definitely pull you in with its great depth.
With its mystery and courtroom scenes, Buffa is going places Grisham hasn't even thought about.
Keep it up.
Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. J Thompson on September 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For the young and rich at Harvard Law School, parties that went on for days in the 1960's were common. Of course, nothing too scandalous that would come back to haunt you when you became part of the rich and legal elite and whatever secrets there were - well, they were expected to be kept hidden for the good of all. A law school reunion brings all the players together, with the guest of honor being one of their own. The heir to a fortune, the odd member of their group from their university days went on to become the Vice President of the United States.

Thomas Stern Browning has made a request of his old school friend, Joseph Antonelli. Forty years ago, at a party held at the Plaza Hotel, a young woman fell to her death. Though loved by all that met her, Annie Malreaux had two suitors at the time who were desperately in love with her and both were at the Plaza when she died. In the present day, a murder case is brought before the court; the result of which will put one of these men in jail and end the rising career of the other. Browning has only one more step to go before he reaches his ultimate political goal, and there are many who would like to stop him getting here. Defense attorney Joseph Antonelli must dig into the past that they all share to end the nightmare of the present.

D.W. Buffa undoubtedly has an elegant and meticulous style of writing. Infusing his latest work with a melancholic air Buffa has written a sombre novel of regret and lost love. The courtroom scenes do not take up a lot of time in "Breach of Trust" though the novel could be aptly described as a legal and political drama. What detracts from the read is the pompous speeches of the characters and the inherent selfishness common to most of the major players.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Breach of Trust", Dudley W. Buffa, New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2004 ISBN 0-399-15190-7, HC, 371 pp. & 6.25" x 6.25"

In this 6th. Joseph Antonelli novel, Buffa has the protagonist lawyer in NY at Harvard Law School class reunion, per request of classmate Thomas Browning, now Vice President. He's asked to be defense lawyer for expected indictment of their classmate James Haviland upon re-opening of accidental fall of Ann Malreaux, 2nd year law school classmate at Christmas Eve party several decades past.

The story line involves mutiny in White House ranks of President Walker & VP Browning, the latter seeking his own nomination & who alludes to a conspiracy to oust him in a scandal related to Annie's death. Antonelli does his homework, contacts everyone associate with Annie & enjoys assistance & sizzling romance from Gisela Hoffman, a young reporter in midst of divorce.

Demonstrated via idiosyncracies of prosecutor Caminetti & Judge Charles Scarborough, is the fierce trial Antonelli is told that must be won at all costs. We are shown the relationship of Joanna van Renaessler, Antonelli's old flame, but now wife of VP Browning -- she has kept secrets.

The plot unfolds with momentum & just when you think its over, the underlying intrigues are at last revealed: -- Antonelli is affable & crackerjack as trial lawyer but he's unprepared to the like of young Gisela. In this novel, the protagonist Antonelli really shines -- likable, lovable & a man for all seasons. This book is not to be missed.
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