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Dead Even Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 224 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sara Tate starts her job as a New York City assistant district attorney the day before massive budget cuts. To keep her job, she grabs a case slated for one of the DA office's hot shots, thinking it will be the kind of showpiece that'll make her a hero. The next day, she learns that the defense attorney on the case is her husband, Jared Lynch. To make matters worse, what appeared to be a simple breaking and entering is beginning to look more like a murder.

Someone is pitting Sara and Jared against each other and both are being threatened: win the case or your spouse dies. Sara and Jared have struggled and suffered more than your ordinary young lawyers and their desperation to protect one another and their life together is almost palpable. But the more they fight to win the case, the more they put each other's lives in jeopardy.

Dead Even is truly gripping. Brad Meltzer has created characters that are realistic enough to be believable, but quirky enough to be captivating. The lawyers are especially determined and the criminals are especially sinister. Even more impressive than his characters is his don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-something plot, which grabs you on page one and doesn't let go until you close the cover. When reading Dead Even, you may find yourself holding your breath as you furiously turn the pages. It's a legal thriller that gives Grisham's books a run for their money. -- Mara Friedman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Just when you thought there were no more changes to be rung on the legal thriller, Meltzer follows up his bestselling inside look at the Supreme Court (The Tenth Justice) with this sleek, suspenseful, only slightly unbelievable story about two young New York lawyers in love and in danger. Sara Tate and Jared Lynch are married to each other and to their legal careers: he's a rising star for the defense in a big firm; she's just starting as an assistant district attorney after six months of job seeking. On her first day, Sara hears that a budget cut could put her back on the unemployment lines, so she swipes a burglary case earmarked for a top man in the pecking order. But this is more than a routine burglary, and a powerful villain named Oscar Rafferty wants it to go away. He hires Jared to defend the accused, a sadistic monster called Tony Kozlow, telling him that unless Kozlow walks, Sara dies. While Jared grapples with the moral issues involved?and avoids telling Sara about the threat for hundreds of pages?another nasty type (whose fingerprints match several dead criminals) pushes Sara's grandfather down a flight of subway stairs and says he'll do worse to Jared unless Kozlow is convicted. Fearing for each other's safety, their marriage cracking under the strain, Sara and Jared joust in front of a grand jury and then get ready for trial, with Sara helped over some serious speed bumps by a nicely sketched young assistant and a tough prosecutor with a romantic interest. Several murders and a subway shoot-out eventually resolve this somewhat overlong but definitely compelling tale of legal and extralegal adventure. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446607339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446607339
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,703,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle and The Book of Fate, as well as the bestsellers The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, and The Book of Lies. He is also the author of the nonfiction bestsellers, Heroes For My Son and Heroes For My Daughter, collecting heroes from Jim Henson, to Rosa Parks, to Mr. Rogers. Brad is also the host of the History Channel TV show, Brad Meltzer's Decoded -- one of the co-creators of the TV show, "Jack & Bobby" -- and is the #1 selling author of the critically-acclaimed comic books, Identity Crisis and Justice League of America, for which he won the prestigious Eisner Award. His newest book, The Fifth Assassin, will be published in January 2013.

Raised in Brooklyn and Miami, Brad is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School. You can find him regularly on facebook.com/bradmeltzer or at bradmeltzer.com.

For authenticity, The Book of Fate was researched with the help of former Presidents Clinton and Bush. He was selected by the Department of Homeland Security to brainstorm different ways that terrorists can attack the US. The Inner Circle is about a young archivist in the National Archives who finds out that George Washington's secret spy ring still exists to this very day.

His books have spent nearly a year on the bestseller lists, and have been translated into over 25 languages, from Hebrew to Bulgarian. In The Tenth Justice, the opening lines are: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a pig." In the Hebrew translation, it became: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a horse." We're not sure if it's a kosher thing or what.

Brad has played himself as an extra in Woody Allen's Celebrity and earned credit from Columbia Law School for writing his first book, which became The Tenth Justice. He also co-wrote the oath that the President of the United States gives to all AmeriCorps members. Before all of that, he got 24 rejection letters for his true first novel, which still sits on his shelf, published by Kinko's.

Brad currently lives in Florida with his wife, who's also an attorney.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Meltzer is an interesting author. His prose is interesting and well done. However, he has several significant limitations:
1. His plots are too predictable.
2. His characters remind me of cartoon characters. Too flat. They always whine. Too much self doubt.
3. His lawyers are always the dumbest lawyers in literature with the hero or heroine role. Don't they teach ethics in law school anymore. His hero always seem to have failed ethics. Once they cross the ethical line they never seem smart enough to know how to correct the situation. I wish the author wrote about lawyers that knew the law.
This is a good book to read in the waiting room. It is mildly entertaining but I never objected if I was interrupted while reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the fourth of Brad Meltzer's books that I have read. I did enjoy it. I did think it was exciting and well written. However, of the four that I have read, I would rank it as number 4. It has an interesting story line development; and although you think you know who is behind it, you are never quite sure. Even after the reader finds out the "who", you still don't know the "why". That is talent on the part of the writer.

One of Meltzer's strong points in all of his books has been character development, and he has certainly exhibited that talent in Dead Even. In this book, however, I think he went a little too far with Kozlow. I realize that he should be an over the top, violent killer. What I find hard to believe is that Jared could receive such vicious, multiple beatings and then pop right up and keep on going. Any wife who loved her husband as much as Sara did, would never have excepted his lame excuses for his injuries, even though she was mad at him.

Overall, Dead Even is a very good book and well worth the read; but it's not the type of book that you just can't put down.
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Format: Audio CD
I listened to the unabridged audio cd version of this story. What a mess. I'm giving up 2/3rds of the way through because I just don't care anymore how these idiot characters end up. I am most appalled by writers who write of supposedly intelligent characters - in this case, two married lawyers - who do unbelievably stupid things without sensible, logical motivation. The two main characters are completely pitiful. They repeat their own self-doubt endlessly. and I mean ENDLESSLY. So much so that I finally stopped caring what happened to these two. The story is confusing and illogical from beginning to end. Why neither one would report the outrageously criminal activity that was needed to move the story along makes positively no sense. Do not waste your time on this one.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dead Even is the second Brad Meltzer book I have read, after the First Counsel. Dead Even is worse in every respect and I would not recommend it. I loved The First Counsel, but Dead Even has none of the suspense or intrigue that made The First Counsel so exciting.
Jared is the defense attorney and Sara is the DA on a burgerly case that soon turns into big trouble for the husband and wife. Both are threatened with a win or your spouse dies proposition. Quite an intriguing plot, but it seems Meltzer struggled finding circumstances that would result in that plot twist. It seems like all of the bad guys exist in this book solely to mess up Sara and Jared. It seems like Meltzer forces the action.
The book is chugging along, being mildly entertaining, when suddenly it starts being incredibly exciting for a few pages. Sara and Jared are trying to win their cases to save the other, but at the same time they can't tell each other what they are doing. This leads to them growing apart and possibly becoming attracted to other people. Before, I had never felt like there marriage was in danger from the bad guys, but when Jared and Sara's own feelings started going in other directions and kisses and allegations of affairs started flying, I really felt interested in their fate. Would Sara and Jared's marriage be destroyed, not by the somewhat comical bad guys, but by their own mistrust for each other?
Unfortanatley, Meltzer wastes this intrigue and suspense by immediately switching gears and having Sara and Jared resolve their conflict. Then from that point on, the book fizzles out into a boring conclusion.
Dead Even was boring because it didn't have a gripping, exciting background like the White House. Just two lawyers caught in a contrived situation. Also, Meltzer's dialogue can get somewhat old. Does everyone have to be a comedian?
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By A Customer on May 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Where do all these rave "reviews" come from -- honestly? Most of these exuberant reader-reviews appeared here even before the books were in the stores! Which leads me to suspect that these "reviews" were actually engineered by the book's publisher -- which, if true, is a real abuse of the great Amazon "people's review" system. The characters are paper-thin, unbelievable, and implausible (brand names don't make characterization), the central plot-gimmick is woefully contrived, there are dumb coincidences and plot twists that make you scratch your head and lose any faith in the writer, and the writing is pretty mediocre. (To the reader-reviewer who asks "Where did this guy learn to write?" I say, the Berlitz English-as-a-Foreign-Language School). And as a lawyer I can tell you there are so many improbabilities and bone-headed misunderstandings of how the law works in reality that I can only conclude the author may have gone to law school but he clearly never practiced real law. There are so many good legal-thriller authors around -- John Lescroart, Philip Friedman, Steve Martini, even the Godzilla of them all, Grisham -- who I'd suggest you read before you plunk down the money for this dreck. I've read worse, certainly, but not between hard covers.
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