Customer Reviews: Death On A High Floor: A Legal Thriller
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on May 1, 2011
Chuck Rosenberg's first novel is a treat to delve into. At first there maybe a feeling that it is just one more murder mystery, but as the plot unfolds, you begin to realize that the author, himself a lawyer, has written about a profession that he knows well and has practiced for many years in LA. From this background, the murder plot unfolds in unexpected ways, and draws the reader deeper and deeper into intrigues within a law firm that has evolved from an well established firm in Los Angeles to become a massive corporate entity with offices across the globe. But, almost all of the action is centered within the urban environment of downtown LA and its surrounding, freeway linked environs. Rosenberg speaks with authority about the legal process in criminal law that unfolds in this murder case, with intimate professional relationships and friendships thrown asunder. There are many, interwoven levels to the plot with historical insights into the world of coin collecting, the hierarchal politics of the legal profession, the lifestyle of a loner practicing criminal law in his eccentric way, and the hyperbole and insanity of the media and bloggers who hang on every word of real or imagined evidence as the case unfolds. The accused, himself a respected member of the firm and his community, falls from corporate grace into that of a shunned 'has been' who has to face his own reality, one that he has long ignored, and what it also means to become his own victim in a crime that tests the highs and lows of his well being.

The book is more than an airplane read, as it is well written, and carries you along to a conclusion that is somewhat expected, yet not, as the absence of 'cheap sex', so often prevalent in murder mysteries is lacking and this in itself provides a refreshing change from the normal genre. I will read it again and recommend it to those who like suspense sprinkled with a strong touch of reality.
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on July 26, 2011
I have to admit, I was scooped up into the plot from the moment I started reading this book. I actually read the book in two nights. The plot is not only intriguing but it takes twists and turns you don't expect - a couple of times, I thought I knew why things were occurring and then to my surprise the plot changed and again, I was enthralled. The characters were colorful and kept your interest to see what would happen next. I loved the book and hope to see more writings from this author. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely recommend it to all my friends. Chuck Rosenberg is, in my perception, as good as John Grisham.
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on September 12, 2011
"Death on a High Floor" is a great book. The suspense starts on page 1 and continues until the very end. Once I began reading it, I could not put it down. I finished it in two days only because I had to go to work. Otherwise, I probably would have read it all in one sitting. I'm looking forward to Rosenberg's next book!
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on July 3, 2012
OK, lots of folks liked this book. In my view, however, after the well-done grabber of a first chapter, it quickly spiraled into a puerile wholly unrealistic annoying book. First, the story pretends to be venued inside big-law -- a mega law firm. But, none of the lawyers in that firm Charles ("Chuck") Rosenberg shows us are any good. Second, Rosenberg uses the word "blob" to describe the media mass that follows celebrity trials. The first time it was clever; the second time, perhaps a clever reminder. By the hundredth time, however, I winced every time I saw the word. Third, the trial-preparation scenes and the trial sequences themselves are also silly beyond belief (as I've noted in other reviews of legal thrillers, even lawyers who claim to be experienced do not generally get this right--some do, of course, William Lashner and Scott Turow are great exceptions). This kind of stuff may fly on television, when most folks also haven't the foggiest idea of what law is about, but in a book by someone with a law degree and a law firm it is, in my view, scandalous.

Good writers, and there are many, weave their fiction with sufficient verisimilitude to get us to suspend disbelief. I kept reading because I kept hoping it would be better, and, frankly, because I wanted to see how Rosenberg resolved his plot. Ugh! It was worse than I could have imagined. A total waste of time.
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on September 9, 2012
I bought "Death On A High Floor: A Legal Thriller" because of the reviews I read and because I was impressed with the author's background and credentials.

I write the following not to slam Rosenberg, but to warn potential readers so they will not be disappointed like I was. Plus, if you're not holding Rosenberg's book up against such a high standard, maybe it will read better right off the bat.

I read not one, but several reviews comparing Rosenberg's book to Scott Turow, John Grisham, and Michael Connelly. At least at this point in his career, Rosenberg doesn't come close to any of them, especially my favorite, Scott Turow.

Turow is both a gifted writer, and skilled at plotting and conveying legal and courtroom mysteries and drama. His characters are as real to you as the people in your own life, and he's got a rare talent for showing human frailties and flaws. Unfortunately, these are not talents that Rosenberg can claim at this point.

I almost quit reading the book 30% of the way into it (Kindle book) for a number of reasons: 1) The writing itself is pretty bad. There are so many incomplete sentences that I began to think the author thought it was a writing style. (I recommend reading "Sin and Syntax," by Constance Hale - you have to know the rules before you can break them!) Copious copy-editing mistakes, from mixing up the characters' names numerous times to simple punctuation. On top of that, three times during the book Rosenberg (through the main character, written in first person) criticizes another character's grammar! The irony! One of the only times I laughed during the book. The writing itself made for tedious reading, at least for me, and that was before I even got to the story.

The story was very loose, and I felt like it was about to unravel at any time. I couldn't decide if the author meant for his main characters to be stupid, and make repeated illogical decisions, or not. After a while, I started wondering if the author wasn't too bright, because his characters continued to make completely inane decisions, time after time. A 60 yr. old lawyer, supposedly very successful, experienced (36 yrs.), savvy and smart consistently makes the wrong decisions every time he's presented with choices, and worse, the explanation each time is along the lines of, "I don't know" or "Just because" or "That's what I felt like even if it was dumb." I know a lot of teenagers who do better than that! He's been accused of murder, but this is how he behaves, and then his lawyers aren't much better. I've enjoyed books in which the main character is greatly flawed, or I just really didn't like him/her, but I finally came to the conclusion in this book that it must be the AUTHOR I didn't like.

For some reason I did finish the book. I always need to know how a book ends, even if I'm sure I have it figured out. Rosenberg improved somewhat, and managed to draw his story together about 60% into the book. "Who-did-it" wasn't a surprise, but he added a few elements to the "why" that I hadn't figured out, which was nice. Since this was his first novel, hopefully his next one can start out "pulled together" and I'm sure it will be better than his first.
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on April 4, 2012
Based on the rave reviews, I read the book expecting it to be hard to put down. Not even close! Slow pace, unrealistic dialogue, and unexciting plot. I kept waiting for the twists and turns, but never found them.
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on October 4, 2011
An outstanding freshman novel (though this author has other compelling non-fiction work as well). My criteria for novels is fairly simple - they have to provide me with a world to explore that I don't want to leave. Death on a High Floor does just that, and thus in my opinion it's well worth the read. Take your time with it as there are bits and pieces that you'll not want to gloss over lest you miss the whole point of an intricate and fun legal thriller like this one. Savor this one and let's hope that the author doesn't take too long of a break before his sophomore go.
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on August 19, 2011
As a recent law school graduate and California bar exam survivor, I found this book to be the perfect post-bar exam read. I've taken trial practice and had some clinical trial experiences, and I found the author's description of the courtroom scenes to be spot-on: from laying the foundation for exhibits, asking to approach a witness, proper objections, and the strategical decisions that go into deciding when to object/ why to object, etc. Overall, this book was a lot of fun.
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on November 6, 2011
I downloaded this book for my husband, who is an attorney and knows the author. But, when my husband could not start reading right away, I began to. Some legal thrillers are too technical for me to really enjoy, but Death on a High Floor caught my interest right away, with an excellent plot and characters who were both believeable and interesting. The book is very well written and flows along nicely with several subplots, but never losing sight of the main story. The courtoom scenes were well written -- even from a non-lawyer's point of view. My husband said he thought the court scenes were realistic. All in all, very very enjoyable and I'm looking forward to the next book.
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on February 28, 2012
I loved this book, but it almost ruined my marriage. It all happened one day on an airplane as I was happily reading Death on a High Floor on my iPad. Noting my obvious interest in the book, my husband started reading it over my shoulder. The problem was that he would pull his eyes away at the end of every screen, only to relapse and resume reading, insisting that I wait for him before continuing to the next screen. Intolerable! When you read Rosenberg's page-turning story, you'll understand.

My advice? Read the book. Just be certain no one is watching you.
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