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The Guilty Plea: A Novel Hardcover – July 5, 2011
Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
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“A few lawyers are really expert in managing cases--especially criminal cases--in the courtroom. A small percentage of these are very good at making trials come alive. Robert Rotenberg is one of the few, along with Scott Turow, David Baldacci, and John Lescroart. The Guilty Plea is a crackling good read. Plan to keep turning pages late into the night!” ―F. Lee Bailey
“Smart and spellbinding. Puts you right in the shoes, and the lives, of lawyers caught up in a high-stakes murder trial. The best courtroom drama I've read, bar none, since Anatomy of a Murder.” ―Douglas Preston, coauthor of The Monster of Florence and Gideon's Sword
“Old City Hall is a terrific look at contemporary Toronto.” ―Ian Rankin, author of The Complaints on Old City Hall
“Breathtaking . . . A tightly woven spiderweb of plot and a rich cast of characters make this a truly gripping read. And of particular interest is the setting: Robert Rotenberg does for Toronto what Ian Rankin does for Edinburgh.” ―Jeffery Deaver, author of Edge on Old City Hall
“The plot is chock full of atmospheric tension . . . Old City Hall has enough hidden motives and gumshoeing to make it a hard-boiled classic.” ―Nathaniel G. Moore, The Globe and Mail (Toronto) on Old City Hall
About the Author
Robert Rotenberg is the author of Old City Hall (Sarah Crichton Books, 2009). He is also one of Toronto's top lawyers, defending, as he likes to say, "everything from murder to shoplifting." He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.
Top Customer Reviews
3 stars is a relatively low rating, although I want to be clear that I enjoyed reading this book. It has a lot of positives. First and foremost, this book is authentic. I currently study Canadian law, and have spent a lot of time in the Toronto area. This book is a very authentic reflection of both. It is refreshing to read a legal thriller with an authentic Canadian edge. I also think that Rotenberg does a great job developing some of the main characters, Detective Greene and his father in particular.
Now for the "buts". Even though the plot is reasonably exciting (I was eager to see what happened next), I found it to be simplistic. It had the depth of an episode of CSI. It reminded me a bit of the Hardy Boy books I read as a kid. There are a couple twists, some subtle hints along the way, and a climax "ah hah" moment at the end. More experienced thriller writers generally put together a much more complex, multi-layered story, with different story arcs, overlapping in interesting ways. Both of Rotenberg's books focus on a single narrative: a single murder, with an obvious suspect who everyone thinks committed the crime (but did they really?!). We see the case from different perspectives, but Rotenberg doesn't really use that device to create suspense. There is a side plot in both books regarding the death of Officer Kennicot's brother, but neither book pushes the story line forward, even a little bit. That annoyed me.
There were a few other things that annoyed me as well. Right off the bat, I found it agitating to see the same device used to kick off the plot in Guilty Plea as we saw in Old City Hall.Read more ›
Even if I can guess, the guilt or innocence Mr. Rotenberg throws in an unforeseen twist. Highly recommend
The action is focused in Canada, and this brings some interesting changes to light concerning the trial process there.
I was pleased to find a story that did not drag on and on like so many of the novels written in this genre.
I would have liked it to be a bit more challenging to the reader, as it lacked the intensity and complexity of similar novels, but all in all it was an entertaining "light" mystery that should have had a more climactic ending. The personal relationships that are placed throughout the story had little to no bearing on the action or the outcome and seemed forced.
Not highly recommended, but the Canadian locale added some "freshness" to the story.
Hope you enjoy the read.
Det. Ari Greene is called to the murder scene of member of Toronto's wealthy Wyler family, known for Wyler Fresh fruits and vegetables. The kitchen is awash in Terrance Wyler's kitchen but, even worse, his 5-year-old son and the object of a bitter custody fight, is asleep in his bedroom upstairs. Defense attorney Ted DiPaulo receives a call from a fellow-attorney who is representing Samatha Wyler, the victim's wife. Ted is asked to represent Sam from the murder charge certain to come but also is handed a dish towel containing the murdering knife. Who can prove their case; the detective for the prosecution, or the attorney whose client threatened her husband, had the murder weapon, and was in the house but claims her husband was already dead?
Rotenburg captures the readers' attention with an excellent, evocative opening followed by short but compelling chapters. Plot is definitely the author's strength. For non-Canadian readers, it is a fascinating look at that country's judicial system. It is a story filled with very good plot twists, which keep things interesting, including an excellent twist that, even though you assumed was coming, was still very effectively executed.
Where the story lacked was in the characters. In spite of their being well-constructed backstories, there were so many characters I never felt emotionally invested in any of them and I found it a bit difficult keeping track, with the lawyers and police, of who was on which side of the legal aisle and with the Wyler family, who was being referred to when. The characters never really came to life for me.
"The Guilty Plea was an enjoyable legal thriller that had definite strengths, but a rushed ending.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just finished "Stranglehold " and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was hard to put down. No way of predicting the ending.Published 3 months ago by rick frankel
I got this book from our local library and thoroughly enjoyed it. Beginning with a murder and ending with a suicide - well, it's the in-between that is riveting. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Diana M. Hockley
This is the second time this month that I've missed sleep because I HAD to know the ending.
I agree that that both stories are a bit confusing with side plots (yet to be... Read more
Robert Rotenberg has created well developed characters and a powerful plot. The tension is well sustained. You need to read the series in order!Published on April 9, 2014 by Lee-Anne Courtney
This is a real page-turner. It arrived on time and the hardback copy was in excellent condition. Rotenberg is an exciting author.Published on October 5, 2013 by Margaret J. Miles
As an attorney, I tend to avoid books by lawyers. This author is the exception. His books are interesting, easy to read (very short chapters), and complex plot situations. Read morePublished on October 4, 2013 by Alan L. Marx
wonderful story well written i have never read this author before this series....perhaps he might have better advertising and so onPublished on August 22, 2013 by Rhea Pollock
Loving how Rotenberg allows the plot to roll out through his full-bodied characters. I can't get enough of these Toronto-set winners!Published on August 12, 2013 by gayhay