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Missing Justice (Samantha Kincaid Mysteries) Hardcover – June 2, 2004

4.1 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Burke's lively second Samantha Kincaid mystery (after 2003's Judgment Calls), the Deputy District Attorney has just joined the Major Crimes Unit in Portland, Ore., when a local judge, Clarissa Easterbrook, goes missing and is then found murdered. As Kincaid sifts through possible suspects, she also adjusts to the personalities in her new office, including her surprisingly friendly supervisor. Evidence of the judge's affair with a politician and an increasingly confusing crush of contracts, judgments and financial papers make it difficult to believe that Kincaid would seriously consider Melvin Jackson, a poor black man, as the likely murderer. A former drug addict, Jackson was in danger of losing custody of his kids in a case Easterbrook was considering just before her death. Eventually, Kincaid turns to a more obvious source of trouble. Kincaid is an appealing if perhaps too familiar a type—a slightly seasoned, feisty woman who runs impressive distances and confides her endearing foibles to the reader. Burke does a good job of integrating the political and personal lives of her characters, with the detectives of the Major Crimes Unit being particularly well drawn. Witty and concise dialogue helps redeem the somewhat stiff plotting.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Clarissa Easterbrook was a judge in Portland, Oregon, and the wife of a prominent surgeon--until her lifeless body was found near a construction site at the city's edge. Samantha Kincaid, new to the district attorney's Major Crimes Unit, is assigned the case. When Samantha learns that Clarissa was having an affair, suspicion centers on the spouse. Could the doctor have been inspired to perform cranial surgery with a hunk of granite? But the forensic evidence forms a circumstantial case against a former drug addict who could lose his home and possibly his kids based on a ruling by the late judge. As Samantha digs, however, it seems less likely that this was a crime of passion or anger. The second Kincaid mystery by the daughter of James Lee Burke is a very clever whodunit long on red herrings, shadowy motives, and sly humor. The author's background as a former deputy DA in Portland lends gritty ambience to this modern parable of greed and ambition. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Samantha Kincaid Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (June 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805073922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805073928
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Following on from her strong debut legal thriller, JUDGMENT CALLS, Alafair Burke has continued the Samantha Kincaid series with another intriguing story with MISSING JUSTICE. Samantha Kincaid is a Deputy District Attorney with the DA's office in Portland, Oregon and has just been promoted to the Major Crimes Division, the team that investigates and prosecutes homicide cases. She is thrown straight into the deep end with this case, her first after the trauma of the previous book.

The case starts out as a missing person case, made high profile because the missing person was Appeals Court judge Clarissa Easterbrook. Samantha is given the assignment of lending reassurance to Clarissa's husband. Townsend. It's not long before the missing person case turns into a murder case when Clarissa's body is found. The fact that it is a judge who has been murdered gives the case added importance and, for Samantha, added pressure. But this is the kind of case that Samantha thrives on and is eager to prove that she's up to the challenge that her new promotion has provided.

Although a suspect is charged and the legal proceedings get underway with Kincaid prosecuting, Samantha comes across evidence that casts doubt on her own case. Apart from the obvious problems involved with sabotaging her case, Samantha isn't quite sure exactly how it all ties together and so begins running her own investigation, by necessity without police help because by this stage it is officially a closed case. The progress she makes is slow and, at times confusing, and is also at the expense of a few high profile toes, arousing the interest of the DA, making for a few fiery confrontations.

This story boils down to one question: why would an Appeals Court judge be murdered?
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Format: Hardcover
Based on the strong recommendation from Michael Connelly, I gave this book a try, and I'm definitely glad that I did.
Sam Kincaid is a tough Assistant DA paying her dues in the gritty world of crime and punishment in Portland, Oregon. She gets transferred to the Major Crimes Unit just in time to follow the trail of missing judge Clarissa Easterbrook. She uncovers a great deal of interesting facts along the way, which give the reader keen insight into the political and socio-economic realities of a growing city like Portland.
All the while, Sam manages to find time for a personal life made colorful by her friends, hunky boyfriend and supportive father.
The pacing of the story is great and accurately reflects the busy hum of modern life. All readers can identify with Sam Kincaid as she struggles to work hard and make a name for herself, but not become cynical and jaded. The verbal exchanges she has with co-workers (cops and lawyers) are tart and no-nonsense, reflecting the pressure of dedicating oneself to the cause of criminal justice.
Overall, I think the publishing community will be hearing alot from Ms. Burke in the near future. I liked this book so much, I just picked up her first "Judgment Calls" and can't wait to devour it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the first book in this series "Judgement Calls" Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid was working in Portland's Drug and Vice Division. After a much needed vacation following an attempt on her life she is back at work with a promotion to the Major Crimes Unit. In the early morning of the day she starts work again she gets a call about the disappearance of city administrative judge Clarissa Easterbrook. Clarissa is the wife of a top surgeon and has close friends with powerful political connections.

The case rapidly goes downhill and Samantha finds herself right in the middle of a possible homicide prosecution which her bosses may not want her to handle. Kincaid soon gets involved with police investigations, and has doubts that the suspect that they have arrested may be guilty.

Kincaid is a great female lead who does what she feels is needed to make sure that justice is served. This means that she frequently goes it alone and frequently upsets the police and her supervisors. In this case going alone means taking on powerful local business and political interests who may be involved in high level corruption that is difficult to prove.

Samantha also has to learn to live with conflicting interests in her personal life - her current love interest who is one of the top detectives in the MCU, and her father who was once a policeman himself and understands the impact of political and business power.

This is a very skillfully plotted, well written and legally complex thriller that clearly shows Alafair Burke's experience as a prosecutor in Portland's Attorney General's office and currently as a law professor. I have already read several of Alafair Burke's Ellie Hatcher series and have made a resolution to read the other books in the Samantha Kincaid series. 4.5 stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This second book in the Samantha Kincaid series is a big step up from the first one, Judgment Calls. That’s very often the case with a second novel.

Samantha, newly promoted to the Major Crimes Unit of the DA’s office, catches her first case – the murder of an administrative law judge. Her quest for the truth puts her at odds with the police, her bosses, and her father.

Burke does a good job of revealing the clues without letting them give too much away so the ending was a bit of a surprise, yet not entirely.

I had a bit of a problem following the description of the convoluted trail that led to the murder. My only other beef here is that the one time Samantha’s in danger, she doesn’t escape solely through her own efforts. She doesn’t roll over and wait for someone to rid to her rescue, does fight back as best she can, but it’s someone else who gets her out of the scrape.

The next book in the series is on my ‘To Read’ list.
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