From Publishers Weekly
A colorful lawyer and a cop killing are at the center of this skillfully crafted narrative look at the Murder Task Force of Chicago's public defender's office. A veteran crime reporter, Davis focuses on the case of Aloysius Oliver, a 26-year-old ex-convict charged with fatally shooting undercover police officer Eric Lee. In sharp journalistic prose, Davis portrays a variety of public defenders driven by idealism, ambition and the excitement of legal battles. At the heart of this story is Oliver's lawyer, Marijane Placek, an excellent lawyer and a character who loves "high profile, seemingly impossible cases" like a cop killing. Placek views the court as a stage where she performs before a hostile audience. Despite her best efforts to prove that Oliver's confession was coerced with physical abuse, that he didn't know Lee was a police officer and did not intend to fire his weapon, the jury found him guilty; the judge gave him life without parole. Davis ably captures the drama of the courtroom and makes a powerful case for the necessity of the often unpopular public defenders within the criminal justice system, conveying their dedication to obtaining justice for their clients. (Apr. 3)
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"Kevin Davis gets so far inside the story that you would swear he was sitting right there at the defense table. With a journalist's keen eye for telling detail and dialogue, he has written a completely gripping and revealing assessment of what is not only going on in our courtrooms but in our society as well. Defending the Damned is a great and important book." -- Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of Echo Park
"Stunningly real and poetically unromantic, Defending the Damned delivers us into a world of accused monsters and the complex souls who have sworn to stand by them. Davis's subjects trust him -- an astonishing result in a part of Chicago where trust disappears first -- and he hears everything they say." -- Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers
"In his remarkable narrative, Kevin Davis uncovers the true heroes of the court system. This is one of those rare books that will change your mind about lawyers." -- Gerry Spence, bestselling author of How to Argue and Win Every Time
"With a true journalist's reverence for truth and accuracy, Kevin Davis presents a raw and real version of the way our legal system works from a side that rarely comes into the light, but one our democracy cannot survive without." -- Jonathon King, Edgar Award-winning crime novelist and author of Eye of Vengeance
"Kevin Davis brings the reader into Chicago's courtrooms and into the lives of the lawyers who handle the criminal justice system's toughest cases. Defending the Damned reads like a fast-paced novel but delivers with realism and compassion a compelling, insider's look into capital murder trials." -- Alafair Burke, author of Close Case