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The Homicide Chronicle: Defending the Citizen Accused [Kindle Edition]

Ralph Shamas
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

The brutal murder of a young woman in a small Arizona border town leads to a trial distinguished by unexplained evidence and unexpected surprise. The Homicide Chronicle will take you through an investigation and jury trial like no other. The murder weapon, bloody clothing, candle wax, blood splatter, and other evidence from the crime scene, when analyzed and then presented to a jury, compel a frightening dilemma and true suspense. Written by a jurist who represented hundreds of clients in criminal cases over the course of more than 30 years practicing law, and who now presides over dozens of criminal trials every year as a District Judge, the story will graphically expose the many conflicts and emotions which beset those lawyers who are called upon to defend the citizen accused. Ultimately, the absorbing conclusion will confirm that the pursuit of truth and justice is often complicated and unpredictable.

“In his debut novel, Shamas fictionalizes a horrifying murder case…. [The author’s] prosaic approach…is deeply engrossing. Characters behave like real people, not larger-than-life figures. Readers are granted unusual behind-the-scenes access as the legal team grapples with setbacks and questions the innocence of a client accused of a serious, disturbing crime. Ultimately, the book offers a compelling and eerie look at the American justice system. Shamas’ understated approach is a welcome change in the genre of legal fiction.” - Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews


"In his debut novel, Shamas fictionalizes a horrifying murder case from his long career as a defense attorney. The author's prosaic approach to the genre is deeply engrossing. Characters behave like real people, not larger-than-life figures. Readers are granted unusual behind-the-scenes access as the legal team grapples with setbacks and questions the innocence of a client accused of a serious, disturbing crime.
"[T]he book offers a compelling and eerie look at the American justice system." ~ Kirkus Reviews  

"Ralph Shamas is a very gifted writer and can keep the suspense on a high level. Once you pick up this intriguing novel, you will not want to put it down. Highly recommended." ~ Readers Favorite

"I really found myself riveted by this novel....I was totally fascinated by [the] story." ~ Paige Lovitt for Readers View; Seattle Post Intelligencer

Product Details

  • File Size: 426 KB
  • Print Length: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Publish Green (April 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007W5JVZG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,724 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read May 4, 2012
By Lisa H.
Format:Kindle Edition
I've always wondered how an attorney can defend a client accused of a horrifying crime and still maintain a clear conscience. We all feel certain that our moral compass will always lead us down the right path, but what do you do when that faith is shaken?

This book is a fascinating look into the inner workings of a criminal trial from an insider's perspective. The story is an unvarnished picture of a brutal murder; the characters drawn into this horrible scenario, complete with conflicts, courage, foibles, and sometimes fatal flaws; and the bizarre twists and turns that result from the darkest side of human nature.

I couldn't put it down. I had to find out what happened next. And I will never forget the ending.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and gripping June 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
If you are looking for a literary work that titillates, this book is not that. There are no long and involved descriptions of scenery, atmosphere, etc. There is no high drama in the life of the protagonist. His wife is not threatening to leave him, he has no drinking problems, he's not wounded by life and trying to prove something or regain his standing after a big fall; in short, nothing to distract from the case itself. I found that to be the best thing about this book: the case was the focus. I had actually stopped reading crime and trial books because those types of dramas were just so tedious and formulaic.

Here we have a refreshing, decent human being with ethics and honest, down-home values, doing his job well, and getting on with a really interesting case, describing it from the insider view of the legal system. You realize, somewhere along the way, the the American legal system really isn't about the truth, but about perception.

The practical, lawyerly presentation is gripping and the author is best when describing what is going on in the courtroom. You get the feeling that he had some trial transcripts to work from and that you are actually there. And, as I said, thankfully, there are no outside, contrived dramas to distract from that. Highly recommended, even for folks who are crime and courtroom fiction (or non-fiction) aficionados.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating May 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book gave me an insight into criminal trials and the legal profession. I had no idea of the many details and strategies that go into making a defense. It is an arduous task for the lawyer but a fascinating journey for the reader. The novel is full of interesting twists and turns that keep you involved. You mustn't cheat and look at the ending. It ties the story together perfectly but it will make you gasp. This is an excellent read and I can't wait for the author's next work.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good tale, but a bit distracting May 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I appreciated the glimpse into the world of criminal defense. The underlying story had all the elements of a great legal mystery. The only distraction for me was the author's writing style. His prose is no doubt fine for writing legal briefs, but does not have the kind of flow and effective narrative voice I am used to seeing from a professional novelist. The dialogue, in particular, I found to be stilted and unnatural. That said, following the work of a knowledgeable, skilled defense attorney through the process of a compelling crime and trial was worth the read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling human drama October 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Ralph Shamas is a lawyer who has practised for 35 years in Arizona, and is now a judge. This book, the Homicide Chronicle, is a fictionalized account of a major murder trial in which he was the defense attorney. The names of the characters are changed, but the events and the evidence, he tells the readers, are essentially the same. So it is of great interest both to writers of courtroom dramas, like myself, and to readers of true crime.

Mr Shamas has written a slow-burning, compelling detailed narrative. He describes everything from the point of view of an idealistic, impoverished, small-town lawyer - his own younger self. We see his doubts, his detailed, careful examination of the evidence, his conflict with the district attorneys, the strain the trial puts on his own family life, his concern for his own reputation in a small community, and his assessment of the truthfulness or otherwise of the client whom he is defending. The process of the trial is described meticulously.

There are only two possible suspects in this case: the man on trial, and the principal witness against him. So the case might seem simple, but in fact it is extremely difficult. This is a compelling human drama, which I found impossible to put down. Mr Shamas knows what he is writing about, and successfully brings it to life.

And yet, to a British reader at least, there are some curious cultural differences. Mr Shamas writes in a slightly inflated, pompous style, seldom using a short word where a longer one will do. He compares himself directly to Atticus Finch, the `good lawyer' in To Kill a Mocking Bird, and he seems to have lived in a similar small town.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're a fly on the wall... May 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's a great story - a real page-turner! You're right there - the story comes to life and you're a participant in the lives of these people - a part of the drama as it unfolds. The characters are believable and authentic, not contrived. I wholly recommend "The Homicide Chronicle" and anxiously await Mr. Shamas' next book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I got really annoyed with the writer and spat the dummy
I could not finish it. Short story is that two guys end up with a prostitute who is brutally murdered on the night they were with her. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Not guilty
just LOVE courtroom drama and verdicts, I never read ahead - this was well written and I enjoyed it very much
Published 1 month ago by LILLIAN C. KNOCKE
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
a very good book
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
it was a good read- kept you wanting to read further.
Published 2 months ago by bdj4882
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story!
Great story that kept you reading non stop. What makes it great is that it is based on a true story. I could not put the book down. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Big daddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and enjoyable
Would recommend for anyone interested in law and our judicial system. Quick read with interesting twists. The author was himself a lawyer.
Published 16 months ago by PJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Lots of twists and turns. I highly recommend this book and author. You won't be able to guess the verdict and the ending will have you thinking long after you finish.
Published 22 months ago by Laura Rider
5.0 out of 5 stars leaves you wondering!?
Well written, strong characters, and arresting plot. Could not put this book (kindle) down! This was my first foray with Shamas, but hopefully not the last. Keep 'em coming!
Published 22 months ago by Tanja
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW..What a great story..
This story kept me on the edge of my recliner way past bedtime..I retired from a career in law enforcement in Kansas &Oregon..however the author had my attention from page 1... Read more
Published on October 21, 2012 by Dexter Don
5.0 out of 5 stars review of the homicide chronicle
i'm still reading the book; it's very enjoyable so far. i have been reading one or two chapters each night before bedtime.
Published on September 6, 2012 by Burton W. Wilson
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More About the Author

Ralph Shamas was born and raised in New Mexico. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1973, and began practicing law that same year. Over the course of a 32 year career as a lawyer, he handled hundreds of important cases. He was given the highest peer rating which can be awarded to a lawyer and was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. Judge Shamas was appointed to the District Court by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in 2005, and has since presided over scores of trials. His experience in the mysteries of the law, and in participating in literally hundreds of trials, has thus passed through four decades. Judge Shamas uses that vast experience to create intriguing characters in suspenseful legal fiction.

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