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The Defendants (Thaddeus Murfee Legal Thriller Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

John Ellsworth
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Defendants is great courtroom fiction that returns you to the night he carved his name in her breasts . . .

The guilty party is found murdered. Or was he guilty? Ermeline is arrested because she had motive and opportunity. She hires rookie attorney Thaddeus Murfee, who makes his debut defending his first murder case in this courtroom drama.

Ilene is a beautiful widow who loves horses. Ilene is introduced to Thaddeus one Saturday morning as he is caring for his own horse. She invites him to Christmas dinner. Soon Thaddeus finds himself in great need of her care and she rushes in to help. Will her love be enough to pull him through this courtroom thriller?

Paralegal Christine Susmann, home from the war in Iraq, uses her military training to help Thaddeus put together the defense. Together they discover the dark forces behind the case and Christine teaches him how to arm himself and how to shoot—a skill he will need. The suspense mounts while alibis fall away and the killer's plot is discovered.

In The Defendants, John Ellsworth offers you a courtroom thriller that puts you right on the front row to witness how murder cases are defended. See the politics behind all criminal cases, and how love can grow out of the strangest beginnings anyone could imagine. In the end, Thaddeus is given a split second to save his own life. His reaction is amazing!

Interview with the Author

Q - So, what makes the Thaddeus Murfee series special?

A - It's a mix of things, really. When I set out to write these books, I wanted to create something that mirrored exactly the kind of books I like to read. My top picks are usually legal thriller novels, any of the thousands of courtroom fiction and crime fiction best sellers, and, of course, books featuring your classic lawyer heroes. Basically, anything with a courtroom drama and fast-paced style gets my vote.

The Thaddeus Murfee books are a great mix of these genres. You'll find the series focuses on legal thrillers and crime thrillers / courtroom drama overall, with one or two medical thrillers thrown to really challenge Thaddeus!

Overall, the Thaddeus Murfee series is designed to keep you turning the pages - and I've made sure there's never a dull moment.

Q - What order should I read the books in?

A - I’ve written the series so you can read the books in any order, and all the story threads will tie up nicely by the time you're finished. If you do want to read them in order, I'd suggest the following sequence:

- The Defendants
- Beyond a Reasonable Death
- Attorney at Large
- Chase, the Bad Baby
- Defending Turquoise (coming soon)

Q - So, why should readers give these books a try?

A - Because the Thaddeus Murfee series is a fast, fun, thrill-ride that keeps you up late! Each of the books has hit the 100 bestsellers list on Kindle for Legal Thrillers, and each have been featured on Amazon's Thrillers top 100 list - which is exceptional.

Ultimately, readers who enjoy fast pacing with a plot that twists and turns all the way to the end will get a kick out of this series.

Q - Can readers get the whole series in one go?

A - First three. I've put together a bundle of 1-3 if people want to save a little money and grab the first three books in one swoop. Check out my author page here at Amazon for more details, and a full list of my available titles.

Q - Will there be a book six in the Thaddeus Murfee series?

A - Under wraps and underway. Thaddeus tells me where he wants to go next and I let him lead the way. With help from Christine, Katy, Henry, Bat, and Turquoise, of course.

And thanks for reading!

Thaddeus Murfee Legal Thriller Series eBook Categories:

- Legal Thrillers
- Crime Thrillers
- Courtroom Dramas
- Courtroom Thrillers
- Crime Fiction Best Sellers
- Crime Fiction New Releases

Editorial Reviews


"Fast-paced courtroom drama that is stunning in its depiction of the American Legal Justice System, Mob rule, and a failed government"-- American Institute of Justice
"At last -- an author who understands English and is able to write believable dialogue.--Amazon Reader Review
"Great book. Filled with twists and turns. I am delighted to discover a new author. I would highly recommend this book.--ARR
"I'm going to start reading his next book's a fun read...enjoy!--ARR
"John Ellsworth really knows how to capture the rapt attention of the reader.--ARR
"Literally couldn't put it down until the story played out.--ARR
"I bought this book just to pass the time while I was traveling and found that I couldn't put it down.--ARR

From the Author

All my professional life as a lawyer I have wanted to write legal thrillers.  Thaddeus Murfee very much reflects the kinds of struggles I went through as a new, young lawyer in my twenties.  I could strongly relate to his experiences with trying to learn how to do the nuts and bolts of law practice--something they don't teach in law school.  Most legal thrillers have a strong beginning, a fast-paced middle, and a thrilling ending.  The Defendants is written in that style.  Other attorneys who write legal thrillers have definitely shown me the way here and I am greatly indebted to them for their willingness to step up to the plate and try new things.  Mysteries, suspense, and thrillers are a joy to write and I plan to keep at as long as I'm able. Thanks for reading The Defendants.  And please, be sure to look for my new lawyer thriller, Beyond a Reasonable Death.  It's a follow-up to the Thaddeus Murfee series and I know you will love it.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2871 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Subjudica House (January 14, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,343 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but has a few problems. May 20, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I was very torn between giving this book 4 stars or 3 stars. Since they don't allow the reviewer to give halves, the rating I actually give this 3.5 stars. The plot of the book is very interesting. I read a lot of legal thrillers, and can honestly say I have not come across a plot like this before. The problem I found is there are areas in the story that really held my attention and other areas that just seemed to drag. I found the characters entertaining, however some very unrealistic. I personal feel making the characters more realistic, grabs the reader as they are able to relate to the character to someone in real life. The authors knowledge of the law is very accurate. Being a legal fan, I would love to see more courtroom action.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last April 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At last -- an author who understands English and is able to write believable dialogue. Mr. Ellsworth has created a good, if not always credible plot and has developed his characters far enough to make you care a bit about what happens to them. To top it off Mr. Ellsworth has a sense of humor. The bad guys in this enjoyable potboiler are a hoot.

Near the end of the book Mr. Ellsworth induces the testimony of a malefactor with a device that, to say the least, strains one's credulity, but he had to do something to get this vital testimony out and I can't see that there were any workable alternatives beyond the one he took. It's a flaw, but not a fatal one.

Unfortunately, the book's editing leaves a lot to be desired; in fact, I doubt the book was edited at all. There are too many incomplete sentences that don't make sense, too many wrong or misspelled words, and too many places where the wrong name is used for a character. Time for the publisher to bring an editor on board.
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39 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much minutia July 6, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This could have been a good book but every time a new character was introduced there was page after page not only about the characters life but all of their ancestors. Every time a new structure was entered the author would give a home and garden tour. This is the first and last book by this author I will be reading.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read. February 5, 2014
By Rebecca
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What do I like/love about this book? The characters, the setting, the plot and the voice. I enjoy reading books about crime/courtroom drama and this book did not disappoint. A great read!!
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So far, not so good April 10, 2014
By Judy S
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have never read John Ellsworth, but thought I would take a chance. So far, "The Defendants" is slow and boring. I'm not sure if the author couldn't fill a book with well written dialog and/or plot so he filled the pages with long and tiring descriptions about the town the book takes place in and characters that have no meaning to the plot. I'm only about 25% of the way through the book, but it has yet to catch my attention. I wouldn't recommend this book.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Proof your work May 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Storyline was really pretty good. It was Ver difficult to read with all the grammar mistakes and even the characters were mixed up in some if the dialog.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rewrite this story, please July 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The plot line was sexual and titillating. Unfortunately the use of exaggerated stereo typical racial, business and government characters was sloppy. Many of the normal phrases used by people were misused. It looked as though nobody or edited the work. Not a bad read, but awkward. Author owes his writing and readers more!!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a more than expected good read March 20, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As I am an avid reader of legal mysteries and thrillers I was delighted to find a new author who not only kept me turning the pages but at the books end I found I had forgotten how much more I enjoyed reading a book that didn't depend on sleaze but just we'll developed plot and characters. Thanks to the author for this and I look forward to reading much more from him.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good tale fast read. Enjoyed it and the character development was excellent.
Published 1 day ago by Rocky
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story!
I really enjoyed this story. The characters were likable and the story flowed well. The grammatical errors were few and were mostly confined to the last third of the book.
Published 5 days ago by Elizabeth Dale
4.0 out of 5 stars really good.
kept me on the edge of my chair. really good.
Published 8 days ago by Barbara R. Binder
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I liked the characters . The storyline was fun. Very fast and easy read.
Published 8 days ago by linda
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, well written by a very literate author ...
Interesting story, well written by a very literate author with a wide range of knowledge. Weaves together knowledge of the legal system, organized crime, and small town life in... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Phantom's Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 8 days ago by charlotte c boyles
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book! Had trouble putting it down. Kept me reading to find out when Thaddeus would make the connection...
Published 10 days ago by wishin
2.0 out of 5 stars Very slow
Very slow.. Did'nt hold my interest till the last 20% of the book. A book i could put down and not pick up again till I really needed something to do (waiting in the doctors... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Ceili
4.0 out of 5 stars GgoThisn
This book shows that stories can be written without endless foul language and graphic sex and violence. I will definitely be looking for your other books.
Published 11 days ago by Robert Rothlisberger
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Loved it
Published 11 days ago by Helen Crismon
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More About the Author

John Ellsworth was born out West and practiced law nationwide. For thirty years he defended criminal clients across the United States. He has defended cases ranging from shoplifting to First Degree Murder to RICO to Tax Evasion, and has gone to jury trial on the same. His first book, "The Defendants," was written in 2013 and published by Amazon and Subjudica House on January 20, 2014.

John has just finished #5, DEFENDING TURQUOISE, released by Amazon on September 27 2014. DEFENDING TURQUOISE is John's fifth Thaddeus Murfee book.

What's next? THE MENTAL CASE is my sixth Thaddeus book and will be published by Amazon December 20 2014. It is the story of a managing partner in a large law firm whose family member embezzles the 820-lawyer firm's trust account. The managing partner is Ansel Largent, and Ansel goes forth on a mission to recover the missing law firm money. Long story short, it turns out that he, Ansel, needs a lawyer himself and that's where Thaddeus Murfee enters the scene in a very unpredictable manner. Together, Thaddeus represents Ansel and represents a victim of a barroom brawl against the owner of the bar in two cases that interlock and interplay. Once again we visit with Hermano Sanchez, the poor Mexican man whose daughter Maria was threatened by the cartels in DEFENDING TURQUOISE and Thaddeus journeys to Mexico in her defense. It's a fun read with the great interlocking plot structure my readers have to come to expect and that they tell me they love.

"I loved writing these books.They are the kinds of books I love to read, full of information about a wide spectrum of characters, lots of dialogue, and, as always, plenty of action and traps for the young attorney. The books represent the kind of learning experience I went through when I was Thaddeus' age and learning how to patty-cake when it came to doing the right thing for clients."

Today John Ellsworth lives in Arizona, is married to Debra and dad to Rebecca, who has her own blues band and her mom's killer contralto voice. John no longer practices law. When he's not writing he rescues guinea pigs and plays classical guitar. "Right now I have my Macbook, 7 guinea pigs, and 2 incorrigible dogs. Debra keeps us all fed and clean, so what more could I want?"

Now...back to the work-in-progress: Where was Thaddeus again? Oh, yes, he was....

My website is
My email is

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