Conflict of Interest


Appointed to the defense in the high-profile slaying of a female reporter, attorney Ted Stevens discovers that with proof of innocence comes a grave risk. For the one truth that can save his client is the one shred of evidence Stevens cannot divulge.
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Conflict of Interest

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Appointed to the defense in the high-profile slaying of a female reporter, attorney Ted Stevens discovers that with proof of innocence comes a grave risk. For the one truth that can save his client is the one shred of evidence Stevens cannot divulge.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This gripping first novel combines a taut courtroom procedural with the personal and professional struggles of its protagonist and narrator, Ted (Teddy Bear) Stevens, an esteemed Tallahassee, Fla., criminal attorney whose life is on the verge of disintegrating. Separated from his wife, Beth (who has denied him visitation rights to see his daughter), and plagued by a severe drinking problem, Stevens becomes court appointed lawyer for Bobby Jackson, who is accused of murdering his mistress, local newspaper reporter Linda Stiles, a woman with a questionable reputation. In fact, Stevens not only represented the victim in a recent divorce action but became her clandestine lover as well. This conflict of interest makes him the easy target of a blackmailer, who threatens to reveal his secret, which compels Stevens to shamefully conceal evidence that could exonerate his client. Ensuing events spin Stevens out of control, and he is arrested for drunk driving. Haunted by shadowy flashbacks of the crime scene, and his alcoholic blackout the night of the murder, Stevens is brought to the brink of suicide and forced to risk one last courageous maneuver. Writing in prose that is both straightforward and resonant, Lewis, a native Floridian and Tallahassee trial judge, clearly knows his legal and geographic territory. Better, he knows how to render a world filled with both evil and compassion. This well-crafted drama rings with authenticity all the way to its heart-stopping conclusion. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Lewis's first novel is a legal thriller in which most of the conflict is between a Florida trial lawyer and his own worst instincts.

When the public defender's office refuses the case of Bobby Jackson because it represents a potential witness against him, the case falls into Ted Stevens's lap. He'll be getting paid a reduced rate, but he agrees to represent Jackson anyway—even though he not only represented the victim, reporter Patty Stiles, in her divorce action last year, but was also her lover (as was Bobby Jackson). Why doesn't Stevens—reasonably well-fixed and well-known, secure in his partnership, but immersed in the pain of his own divorce, which he suspects was provoked by jealous Patty—duck the assignment? The man seems to have zero survival instinct, as he demonstrates by a plunge into reckless drinking (endless hangovers, a DUI case that drags on and on, a scary blackout on the night of the murder) that throws the murder case he's defending into the shade. Oh, there's still the outrage when the prosecution loses some key evidence, the search for loopholes in the witnesses' stories, and the endless quest to find another suspect: Patty's shadowy ex, the drug dealers she may have been writing about for the Tallahassee Times-Union, their nameless higher-ups. And there's the obligatory spate of threatening anonymous phone calls. But the real story here isn't whether Stevens will do the right thing for a client who seems considerably more powerful than his attorney is, but whether he'll even be free to show up in court instead of locked up on the DUI charge.

But if the hero's problems are so much more pressing than the criminal defense (readers looking for courtroom razzle-dazzle will walk away disappointed), Lewis does catch, better than most entries in this overcrowded genre, the way lawyers actually talk and act—especially when they've had too much to drink.

From the Publisher
"Gripping, taut courtroom procedural...This well-crafted drama rings with authenticity all the way to its heart-stopping conclusion."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561645381
  • Publisher: Pineapple Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,439,773
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Lewis is a Florida circuit judge. He devotes much of his spare time (when not writing and judging) to law-related education, both for active judges through the Florida Judicial College and for young people through programs like Teen Court and Mock Trial Competition. He is well-known throughout the state in judicial circles.

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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2000

    Legal Thriller

    An alcoholic trial lawyer gets romantically involved with a newspaper reporter, who then becomes a murder victim. This gripping saga is on par with tales from Grisham and Baldacci. This work by Judge Terry Lewis will keep you riveted until the last page.

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