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The Guilty Plea: A Novel Hardcover – July 5, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Detective Greene Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books; First Edition edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374278490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374278496
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,959,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently finished both The Guilty Plea, and its predecessor Old City Hall. I consider this a review of both books.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh my goodness. I read around 70 books a year - my favorites are legal thrillers and mysteries. I have now read of all his books in this series/ the characters are multi dimensional and he changes up the primary focus of the lawyers in each novel.
Even if I can guess, the guilt or innocence Mr. Rotenberg throws in an unforeseen twist. Highly recommend
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read Rotenberg's first two books and they both go beyond the usual murder-legal thriller. The author weaves his tales in a can't-put-it-down narrative with a deep understanding of Canadian culture and values, much of which stands in stark (and often, troubling) contrast to their neighbors to the south. Yet he never forgets the power of human frailties of people and the sad and tragic consequences that follow and touch all of our lives.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Rotenberg has gotten my attention with his first two books. I'd just finished reading William Bernhardt's Ben Kincade series of 18 books and looking for another author with a similar story telling. Robert Rotenberg is it!! He grabbed my attention and has held on! Understand his next book, Stray Bullets, comes out May 1 in Canada and hope Amazon will be right there with his book too!
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Format: Paperback
The Guilty Plea was a quick, relatively simplistic legal mystery with no real sub-plots or surprises and a fairly predictable ending.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: Even for Arceli Ocaya, it was too hot to sleep.

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.
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