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Inadmissible Evidence
     

Inadmissible Evidence

by Philip Friedman
 

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For tough New York City prosecutor Joe Estrada, the law is his life. That's why he's determined to get the goods on millionaire real-estate tycoon and community hero Roberto Morales, who is accused of raping and murdering his mistress. The more Joe investigates, however, the closer he moves to the possibility that Morales is innocent and that all he has to go on is

Overview

For tough New York City prosecutor Joe Estrada, the law is his life. That's why he's determined to get the goods on millionaire real-estate tycoon and community hero Roberto Morales, who is accused of raping and murdering his mistress. The more Joe investigates, however, the closer he moves to the possibility that Morales is innocent and that all he has to go on is...INADMISSABLE EVIDENCE.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of Reasonable Doubt returns with another unusually convincing courtroom procedural. When an appeals court sets aside a verdict declaring real estate developer Roberto Morales guilty of raping and murdering his girlfriend, the retrial falls to Manhattan assistant DA Joe Estrada. Determined to build a solid case, Estrada is hampered by the three-year interval since the first conviction. The trail is cold, witnesses prove reluctant to testify a second time, the Hispanic community resents its greatest success story's being put on trial and Estrada himself begins to have doubts about Morales's guilt. If Friedman's insistence on day-to-day doings occasionally undercuts his novel's sense of drama and consequence, it also invests his story with authority, allowing a clear portrait of the give-and-take of the legal system and affording an even stronger sense of the ambiguities that arise from the pursuit of justice. Literary Guild main selection. (Nov. )
Gilbert Taylor
Manhatten prosecutor Estrada is beset by problems. His lover has moved to the West coast and his career is idling on two-bit cases. Relief arrives when a sensational murder conviction is reversed, and Estrada is drawn into the retrial. He re-investigates the clues and witnesses surrounding the torrid relationship between Roberto Morales--real estate sharpie, popular Latino role model, defendant--and vivacious victim Mariah Dodge. There's new evidence: the victim kept a diary, which her parents tampered with, and the defendant's counsel must counter a previously unknown star witness. In Part II of this overly-long story--studded with leadenly obvious dialogue ("Is that a threat?" people keep saying)--Estrada drags us through the shopworn litany of courtroom drama. Unfortunately, the slightly palpable tension that has been ladled in quickly drains out with the unswerving series of discovery and evidentiary hearings, voir-dire exchanges to select a jury (pointlessly taking up ten pages), direct and cross-examinations, final summations, charge to the jury, and verdict. If anything was ruled inadmissible to this obese book, it was economy, originality, character depth, and any expectation of a surprise ending. Thus the real mystery is not whodunnit, but why the Literary Guild book club selected it. Memory of Friedman's "Reasonable Doubt" may stir interest.
Kirkus Reviews
Three years ago, Roberto Morales, self-made developer of Brooklyn's Phoenix Project, was convicted of manslaughter in the brutal sex killing of Mariah Dodge, his associate and lover. But the conviction was overturned on appeal, setting the stage for a new trial whose prosecutor will find himself hamstrung by problems in the old one. Ever alert to opportunities for ethnic politics, the D.A.'s office has assigned Joe Estrada to prosecute Morales, a hero of the Latino community. But Joe, whose father bragged about his titled Castillian ancestors and married into the D.A.R., worries that he'll be pilloried as a phony Latino long before the trial begins. Joe's got more urgent worries too: Disturbing gaps turn up in the original police investigation; witnesses who gave Morales a motive—Mariah's determination to break off their affair—and placed him at the scene start to waffle; Mariah's cryptic diary implicates her and a Houston mentor in skimming $25 million from the Phoenix Project. The diary turns into a lasting nightmare, since Mariah's father denies its existence, and the bits of it Joe pries out of Mariah's avenging-angel sister Tess are all censored by her mother. Even as Joe fears he won't be allowed to introduce the diary into evidence, he puts off turning it over to the defense until he can produce a missing witness, the diary's "Johnny," who can corroborate the evidence of the diary and put Morales away for good. Months pass—and you'll feel the weight of every day—before Johnny's finally lured out of hiding to go head-to- head with Morales in a memorable climax. This may be the most grueling courtroom novel ever written. The investigation, the discovery,the trial—everything takes forever, yet the effect is singularly concentrated; the steady march of events develops an overwhelming force. For pyrotechnical range and open- mouthed surprise, though, Friedman (Reasonable Doubt, 1990, etc.) has nothing on Richard North Patterson's Degree of Guilt (below). (Literary Guild Dual Selection for January)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804108522
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/01/1993
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
640
Product dimensions:
4.15(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.09(d)

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