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In The Presence of Enemies Mass Market Paperback – January 15, 1994


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 407 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312951647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312951641
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Posthumously published, this improbable legal thriller concerns the controversial inheritance left by a multi-millionaire in a small, eccentric Midwestern town.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A precariously placed Detroit lawyer with no trial experience finds himself thrust into the courtroom defense of a billionaire client's will. When Jake Martin videotaped banker Augustus Daren's latest will, it seemed a routine precaution; despite a stroke, the old man was clearly in full possession of his faculties when he decided to vest voting control of his controlling interest in giant Hanover Square Bank in his third wife, Elizabeth, instead of splitting the power with his two children as well. But now that foreign banks are sniffing around H.S.B. hoping for a merger or a buyout, whiny Chip and cautious Gussie, despite the millions they're sure to inherit, are trying to keep control of their shares--and the fabulous power they confer--by claiming their father was incompetent at that signing. Jake, who's up for a partnership in prestigious Sperling Beekman, is confident of victory only because he doesn't know that (1) Elizabeth's neighbors in upstate Eagle County, where he plans to enter the will for probate before a jury, would love to see her lose the case; (2) Chip's insider at H.S.B. has turned the two witnesses to the signing against Jake; (3) Chip's insider at Sperling Beekman has stolen both copies of the tape; and (4) the all-star litigator who's supposed to be trying the case for Sperling Beekman is about to pull out. As Jake struggles to hold his own in the often riotous courtroom scenes, his wife is suing for divorce, luscious Elizabeth is coming on to him, and Chip's suave veteran trial lawyer T.G. (Tiger) Sage is quietly turning the local newspapers against him. Guess how it all turns out. Less assured than Shadow of a Doubt (1991) and Death Penalty (1992); the ending comes too easily despite too many unresolved subplots. But Coughlin, who died early last year, keeps you burning the midnight oil up to the very end. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William H. Gallagher on June 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you like books with good attorney drama you'll like this one. Jake is a good character, split between his wife and Mrs. Daren, it gets more complicated by his employer. Sage is a good opponent. The Daren family, the spoiled brat Chip and his sister Gussie add to the plot. If you like Grisham you'll like this. I recommend it. It's not overpowering, but a solid 4 star book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the best "Attorney" novels ever written, and just as fresh as when I first read it in 1989! Jake Martin, a probate attorney, is one of three young lawyers in line for promotion to one partner slot in the most prestigious big law firm in Detroit. It's up or out, and Jake's anxieties are raised by the cool behavior of his wife Marie, who has recently been made partner in another big law firm. The president of a world-renowned Detroit bank dies, the will is contested, and Jake suddenly finds himself transformed into a trial lawyer, leading the team who are trying to prove that Augustus Daren was sane when he wrote his will. The trial takes place in the "North Country," beautifully described by a fellow reviewer. We readers meet all kinds of interesting people and go through all kinds of interesting adventures--some with knockabout humor, some sad, but all handled with great intelligence and talent by a writer who obviously loves his work. The ending is brilliant.

Caution: I have read a number of William Coughlin's novels, and this is by far the best of those I have read. One of my fellow reviewers says it was his last novel, and I'm glad he went out with a bang, but don't expect to find the same genius in his other books.

Idea: This novel could be made into a brilliant movie. Producers take note!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book--every page, from first to last.
William coughlin's style is deceptively plain and unadorned. Nevertheless, he creates full-fledged, believable and interesting characters about whom i cared.
But the thing that sets this novel apart is his sense of place. the story is set in michigan. Coughlin describes the attractive, vibrant downtown business district, the exciting restaurants, and the intriguing waterway topography of detroit.
But it is the upper peninsula, called unassumingly by coughlin "the north," that had me in thrall. He made me see and experience this region vividly: a land that preserves its original ecology that is rugged, lonely, haunting and at the same time, in the author's words, "exquisitely beautiful." i want desperately to go there.
And the plot is not too shabby. It kept me interested and engaged. The synergy of character, plot, and place remain intact throughout.
I am eager to read mr. Coughlin's other works.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rick Dames on March 11, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I didn't feel that this was a bad book - It wsn't Coughlin's best, but...The jacket and the review keep talking about an afair between lawyer Jake Martin and client (about to be wealthy) widow. They never as much as kissed, or discussed a relationsip, or went out together. There was absolutely no personal relationship. It was surely put on the book jacket to make one feel that there will be exciting sexual tension and moral delemas - but I waited and waited for that plot twist and it never started. It was completely fraudulant and an absolute lie on the book cover and I'm seeing it in one of your synopsyses. I never vote for more Governmant regulation - but, out and out lying to sell a book - you should be ashamed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the last book wy William J. Coughlin, and those familiar with his work know how very readable his novels are and how compelling the plot.

This one is really good. What looks like a simple open and shut case for the lawyer becomes anything but and things seem to go out of contro. But, therein lies the mystery and the thrill of reading how the characters try to overcome the problems which are thrust before them.

This is an excellent and enjoyable read.

J. Robert Ewbank, author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
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