- Series: Barbara Holloway Novels
- Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Mira (June 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1551669072
- ISBN-13: 978-1551669076
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,898,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Desperate Measures (Barbara Holloway Novels) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2002
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Oregon lawyer Barbara Holloway and her father, Frank, formerly her partner, find themselves on opposite sides in the murder of Gus Marchand, a case with two suspects. Kate Wilhelm gives this smoothly told version of "Beauty and the Beast" an interesting added dimension, since the relationship between the two equally hardheaded and talented lawyers has usually been collaborative, at least professionally. But when the school principal, who's Frank's client, dies under mysterious circumstances, Frank's determined not to let Barbara pin the blame on the dead woman in order to deflect attention from her own as-yet-unidentified client. By the time Frank learns that the defendant in question is Alex Feldman, a horribly disfigured and immensely secretive young man who was accused by Marchand of stalking his teenage daughter, the reader has begun to understand why Barbara is so convinced of Alex's innocence in Gus's death and so determined to protect him from public scrutiny.
Alex is a man with a secret: was Frank's late client (and friend) killed to protect it? As usual, Wilhelm devises a clever plot and peoples it with a cast of well-developed, fully human and complex characters. There's Alex himself, who's found a way to cope with the circumstances of his disfigurement and the rage and bitterness that might otherwise have consumed him; Graham Minick, the elderly doctor who has been his friend and confidante since he was a teenager; and Shelley, Barbara's beautiful young associate, who sees beyond Alex's ugliness and into his heart. By the time the trial of the man they call "the devil's spawn" begins, Frank and Barbara are on the same side, but it's the younger Holloway's star turn in the courtroom, which is where the novel really shines. A solid page turner that should delight the prolific Wilhelm's (No Defense, Defense for the Devil) many fans. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Wilhelm's sixth Barbara Holloway legal thriller (after No Defense and Defense for the Devil) sustains her reputation as a fine stylist who is able to craft compelling plots and characters. Holloway's latest client is a brilliant young man named Alex Feldman, who has been left hideously deformed by a birth defect. He is accused of killing his next-door neighbor, Gus Marchand, a tyrannical religious zealot who saw Alex's deformity as the mark of the devil. There is little evidence against him, but Marchand has created such hostility and fear toward Alex in their small, rural community that it seems likely he will be convicted on the basis of his appearance alone. What makes his situation even more desperate is that he was born with part of his brain exposed: since any blow to the head might kill him, a prison term probably would be a death sentence. But did Alex do it? There is a real possibility (which Alex himself admits) that he is psychopathic, but he wasn't the only one with a motive: the high school principal was also at odds with Marchand, and she is a close friend of Frank Holloway, Barbara's father and mentor. This is a real puzzler in which the smallest clues are important. Readers are given all the necessary facts and Alex is an excellent character. Wilhelm does a good job of conveying his anguish and isolation, and doesn't skimp on rounding out other characters, including Dr. Graham Minick, Alex's friend and protector. The book begins and ends well, although it often fails to sustain velocity in between. Wilhelm's fans probably won't be disappointed, as its many good points outnumber the bad.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Alex Feldman, victim of an unfortunate birth, still manages to live a rich and full life with the help of his doctor-mentor, Graham Minick. There is no question in the reader's mind that Alex did not murder his neighbor, Gus Marchand, a man who hides his bigotry and small-mindedness behind the cloak of his religion. Because of Alex's strange appearance and history, however, the law enforcement agency and the townspeople of Opal Creek, Oregon persecute and prosecute him for the crime.
Barbara Holloway and her father Frank find themselves in an adversarial position on the crime. Barbara's secret client is Alex, and Frank is trying to protect an old friend, who is subsequently murdered in the second of two mysteries, from being accused of the crime.
The events and conflict leading up to the courtroom confrontation are merely a canvas for the excellent and crisp writing that Wilhelm uses to portray the courtroom battle. Before it is over, Kate and Frank have joined forces, and the ending is much more satisfactory than a not guilty verdict would have been.
Wilhelm commands and holds your interest, without gratuitous sex or violence in her novels. Her main character, Barbara Holloway, is a gutsy, intelligent, and articulate attorney. Wilhelm never fails to surround her with an equally interesting cast.
Desperate Measures is an excellent read that keeps you guessing and successfully weaves a double mystery plot. Enjoy!
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