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The Attorney (Paul Madriani, Book 5) Hardcover – January 10, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (January 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399145362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399145360
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Sleuthing California defense counsel Paul Madriani lands one of his twistiest cases to date. His client, sport fisherman Jonah Hale, won $87 million in a lottery but lost his heart. Jonah's got custody of his eight-year-old grandkid Mandy, because his daughter Jessica is a cokehead party animal. Sprung from jail, Jessica demands cash. Jonah says no. So Jessica and Mandy disappear, with help from marital-rape-victim-turned-fanatical-activist Zolanda Suade. Suade's group, Vanishing Victims, specializes in thwarting courts and bashing rich males.

Madriani tries to reason with Suade, who almost pulls a gun on him, then taunts him with a press release: Suade's going public with Jessica's charge that Jonah molested Mandy. Madriani's girlfriend works in Child Protective Services, so he gets a tidbit or two of inside info--the charge is phony, but because CPS can't comment on cases, the smear will suffice to ignite a media firestorm. When Suade turns up dead, media interest does not subside. In court, circumstantial evidence forms a tightening noose around Jonah's neck, and Madriani starts wondering whether Jonah did kill Suade. Also, underworld types who may know Jessica and/or a Mexican drug lord start stalking Madriani, and more corpses pop up.

Martini, who covered the Manson trial, then became a lawyer and a bestselling novelist, is great at realistic, ingenious courtroom suspense, media-circus scenes, and dramatizing the impact of office politics on legal proceedings. His characters and prose are workmanlike but sturdy. Always grouped with lawyers-turned-writers Scott Turow and John Grisham, Martini thinks Turow's a better writer (in terms of character and dialogue), and Grisham's a natural-born storyteller who towers over all, but that he, Martini, is a better storyteller than Turow and a better writer than Grisham. The Attorney is evidence that he may be right. --Tim Appelo

From Publishers Weekly

The tireless Paul Madriani, Martini's popular lawyer/sleuth (The Judge; Compelling Evidence), barely has a chance to hang a shingle in San Diego--where he has moved to be closer to his lover, child advocate Susan McKay--before he is sucked into another engrossing court battle. When Madriani takes on elderly Jonah Hale's case, it seems at first he is dealing with a simple kidnapping. Hale's granddaughter, eight-year-old Amanda, under Hale's custody, has been whisked away by Zolanda Suade, who runs Vanishing Victims, an organization that purports to rescue kids from abusive situations. Now Suade is falsely accusing Hale of molestation to justify returning the girl to her mother--Hale's drug-addled, ex-con daughter, Jessica, who's never shown any interest in raising her child. Suade apparently has an ulterior motive: keeping Amanda in hiding until she can extort a hefty ransom from Hale, who recently won $87 million in the state lottery. Before Madriani, with Susan's expert assistance, can get far in his investigations, Suade is found shot to death, and Hale, who had plenty of motive to kill him, is arrested. Madriani is increasingly overmatched by a dogged prosecutor. Worse, those assisting Madriani in Hale's defense keep getting murdered, and Madriani may be next in line. Except for the occasional cliche (bodies lined up "like cordwood," minds "like steel traps"), Martini's prose shows marked improvement. Crisp dialogue and tart observations about legal maneuvering distinguish his courtroom scenes, and the new setting, San Diego, is colorfully rendered. It's a shame that the otherwise cleverly conceived plot falters in the homestretch with a poorly concealed twist that most readers will see coming well ahead of time. Mystery Guild main selection, Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Steve Martini was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. An honors graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, he holds a law degree from the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law.

Martini's first career was in journalism. He worked as a newspaper reporter in Los Angeles and as a correspondent at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, specializing in legal issues. In 1974 he entered private law practice in California, where he appeared in both state and federal courts. During his legal career, he worked as a legislative representative for the State Bar of California, served as special counsel to the California Victims of Violent Crimes Program, and was an administrative law judge and supervising hearing officer.

In 1984 Martini turned his talents to fiction, quickly earning positions on bestseller lists. All but his first book spent time on the New York Times Bestsellers list. To date, he has authored twelve novels, including eight featuring his popular lawyer alter ego, Paul Madriani.
In 1996 Undue Influence aired as a four-hour miniseries on CBS, followed by The Judge on NBC in 2001.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Power house attorney Paul Madriani and his daughter Sarah have moved to San Diego so that they can live closer to his beloved Susan McKay and her two daughters. Susan is the director of Children's Protective Service, a fierce advocate of children's rights. Her archenemy is Zolanda Suade, a fanatical self-appointed child advocate.

Jonah Hale retains Paul to find his beloved granddaughter Amanda, who has been abducted by her own mother Jessica with the help of Zolanda. When Jonah realizes that the law cannot help him or protect Amanda from her uncaring abusive mother, he vanishes. During his disappearance, someone kills Zolanda. The police arrest Jonah who has no alibi. Paul tries to help his client, but it is Susan who constantly crosses the legal line that leads everyone into danger.

Steve Martini has written a legal thriller that will stun everyone with its sucker punch ending. THE ATTORNEY returns Paul Madriani to his fans in a story line that is his most suspenseful and tragic to date. Steve and Susan act believable even when she propels them to choose justice over the law. Mr. Martini needs to bring back this delightful cast in future novels that are sure to be thought provoking and exciting.

Harriet Klausner
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Martini was wise to go back to his "bread and butter" protagonist, Paul Madriani. I always enjoyed this character and I was dismayed at such books as Martini's "Critical Mass," in which Martini discarded both Madriani and the legal thriller genre. Much of "The Attorney" is exciting and compelling. Paul Madriani, the hero of the title, tries to help Jonah Hale, an older man who has made a great deal of money in a lottery. Hale's granddaughter is missing, along with her drug-addicted mother. Along the way, Madriani encounters complications relating to his lover, Susan, who works with abused children, and Paul is nearly killed by a Mexican drug lord. Eventually, a key characters is murdered and Paul is the defendant's attorney at trial. As always, Martini is very good at writing courtroom sequences. As compelling as some of these courtroom scenes are, the book drags on for over 400 pages. The most problematic element of the book, however, is the tacked-on ending. Martini loves surprise endings. He delivers the surprise at the very end of the book and it simply does not hold water. There are plot holes at the end that are enormous and the author never plugs up the holes. I still enjoyed much of the book, but Martini should be more careful in making the plot more coherent. Surprise endings work only when they make sense.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "boggs7" on January 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Martini has brought Paul Madriani, one of his best characters, back. Though it starts slow, if you stay with it you won't be disappointed. No one dies for the first 100 pages, and that is what makes this mystery so engrossing, one twist after another until a most unexpected conclusion. Even the characters and the sub-plots don't slow it down. The romance with long time love, Susan, and their three girls rings true, and Paul's law partner, Harry give this plot enough juice to be worth the effort. I always expect a lot from a Steve Martini book, and he seldom falters. Just keep bringing Paul back, he's real.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Terry Mathews on March 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I hope Martini doesn't turn into one of those best selling novelists who begins to believe his own publicity and lets his storytelling slide.
This book is not representative of the fine work that Martini has done in the past. It's almost like he had to slap a plot together but couldn't decide which way to go, so he ended up all over the map. And Mexico? What's up with that?
I'm glad Madrini's moved south...the change seems to suit him. Maybe Martini will conjure up a better story the next time.
This book isn't bad enough to keep me from reading more Martini...I'll just be a little less enthusiatic for a while.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Happy Scherer on January 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
WOW - these Paul Madriani books are pretty exciting... and this one is no exception... The plot is fairly interesting, full of twists and turns about child custody and ethical issues. But I didn't find Paul's relationship with Susan very real - her kids, for example, have no names, they are "twins", and Paul's relationship with his daughter is virtually non-existent... Susan and Paul seem to be in it for the sex(and we do have a couple of nice sex scenes, but where does he get off dumping his kid there for days on end and why does Susan mysteriously have time to take care of her when she seems pretty tapped out herself?- Susan's sense of ethics are pretty strange, and much of the plot revolves around this...the climax in Mexico is beyond believable in so many ways, and the "surprise" ending is a bit of a steal from Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent but if you like a page turner.....
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Well, it's nice to have the familiar cast of characters back. I was disapointed by the move to San Diego. Sacramento (aka "River City") was a more interesting & realistic locale for Martini. It was obvious he didn't know the area as well, it had little to no detailed local flavor, which was a plus in the prior Madriani books.
The story was ok, not his best by any means. Martini used to hook you in with his interesting characters. Here it was hard to warm up to Jonah, you don't really care if he is acquitted or convicted. In Martini's better books, the main characters (Madriani, Hinds, etc) reacted to the plot and it's central character, the accused, who you felt for and got to know. Here it seemed reverse engineered, somewhat contrived. The plot was a bit slow to develop and many of the characters were under-developed, you just never got to know them very well.
However, he's still the master of the court room dialogue. No other current "legal thriller" author holds a candle to Martini in this regard. He has the ability to explain trial strategies & why questions are asked or why they are asked in certain ways, in simple straight forward language. You don't have to be a lawyer to understand what his lawyers are doing in the courtroom or why they are doing it.
That part of this book alone, makes it a worthwhile read. I think that Martini should stay in the courtroom.
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