Judgment Calls

Judgment Calls

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by Alafair Burke
     
 

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A seemingly simple assault case spirals into a complex web of violence and deception in this bold debut thriller

Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid walks into her office in Portland's Drug and Vice Division one Monday morning to find three police officers waiting for her. A thirteen-year-old girl has been brutally attacked and left for dead on

Overview

A seemingly simple assault case spirals into a complex web of violence and deception in this bold debut thriller

Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid walks into her office in Portland's Drug and Vice Division one Monday morning to find three police officers waiting for her. A thirteen-year-old girl has been brutally attacked and left for dead on the city's outskirts. Given the lack of evidence, most lawyers would settle for an assault charge; Samantha, unnerved by the viciousness of the crime, decides to go for attempted murder. But as she prepares for the trial, she uncovers a dangerous trail leading to a high-profile death penalty case, a prostitution ring of underage girls, and a possible serial killer. And she finds her judgment—not only in matters of the law but in her personal life—called into question.

In Samantha Kincaid, Alafair Burke has created a complex, appealing character—a woman consumed by a sense of justice, who is also tough enough to take on a man's world. Seamlessly juxtaposing courtroom scenes with those of criminal investigation, Judgment Calls reveals not only an insider's knowledge of the criminal justice system but a fresh new voice in the world of crime writing.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
This powerful debut thriller by Alafair Burke (daughter of crime writer James Lee Burke), introduces readers to an intriguing new investigator who offers a gritty-yet-compassionate legal eagle's–eye view of how the system deals with sex crimes, drugs, and violence. Samantha Kincaid is a deputy district attorney in Portand, Oregon. Though she's usually assigned to the Drug and Vice Division, her passion for justice leads her to take on a brutal assault case where the victim is an underage prostitute who was attacked and left for dead. The case has been assigned to the Major Crime Team but is in danger of being sidelined because of problems with the investigation. Sam sets out to prove that this was more than simple assault: She thinks it was attempted murder. The danger grows, both in court and in the field, as Sam uncovers unexpected connections to even more serious crimes, including a deadly conspiracy, a prostitution ring, and more. Alafair Burke's personal experience as a former deputy D.A., combined with a flair for well-drawn characters and bold plotting, mark her as a writer to watch. Sue Stone
USA Today
After leaving the DA's office and before she started teaching criminal law at New York's Hofstra School of Law, [Burke] wrote Judgment Calls, the first of a series about an ambitious young assistant district attorney, Samantha Kincaid, who is struggling to make a name for herself while putting away drug dealers and rapists. — Ayesha Court
The Washington Post
This is a solid debut, and the publisher promises that we'll be hearing more from tough, tart, sexy, high-minded Samantha Kincaid. — Patrick Anderson
Publishers Weekly
Burke's earnest, fast-paced debut introduces a sharp new crime series revolving around Deputy DA Samantha "Sam" Kincaid, a hip, 30ish lawyer working in Portland's Drug and Vice Division. As a former DA herself, and now a teacher of criminal law, Burke brings a hyper-reality-TV quality to the text, as well as a sometimes overzealous attention to technical minutiae. Kendra Martin, 13, has been prostituting herself to support a heroin addiction begun after her mom's boyfriend insisted that "popping wasn't really like shooting up." When Kendra is found left for dead, Kincaid is determined to bring to justice the violent sex offenders who brutally raped and beat her. Narrated in a crisp first person and injected with good-natured humor ("It's a fundamental truth that the number and density of cuss words increases exponentially as the number of cops and DAs in a room goes up"), the book is tightly plotted and detail laden. The secondary characters are less vivid than the assertive, likable Kincaid, but they serve their purpose. Kincaid's ex-boyfriend, Det. Chuck Forbes, is involved in the investigation of Kendra's case and another possibly related crime; Tim O'Donnell, a crude senior DDA on Portland's Major Crimes Team, is suspiciously eager to have Kendra's case tried under his jurisdiction. Cracking the case not only drags up an earlier death-penalty conviction but uncovers the roots of a prostitution ring that shakes up the entire Major Crimes Team and tests Kincaid's faith in her own judgment. This is a solid first effort from Burke, daughter of another "crime fighter writer," James Lee Burke. Agent, Philip Spitzer. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When 13-year-old prostitute Kendra Martin is beaten and raped, the lack of evidence seems to prevent serious charges from being laid. Enter Samantha Kincaid, Portland, OR, deputy district attorney frustrated by both the savagery of the beating and what she perceives as her employer's seeming lack of interest in the case. Working alone, Sam is left to dig for evidence, a search that soon leads to a prostitution ring, the discovery of similar crimes, and talk of a serial killer. Further complicating matters is Sam's involvement with a police officer under suspicion for the role he may have played in a connected case. Burke, the daughter of the brilliant James Lee Burke, writes with both a clarity and a self-assuredness that belies her first-novelist status. The plot lines are tightly woven, and she adroitly ties things together in the end. This is the first in what should be a popular series and is recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/03.]-Craig Shufelt, Lane P.L., Oxford, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Debut legal thriller from a former ADA, daughter of well-known crime writer James Lee Burke. "All those Law & Order shows had done some serious damage to my image out there," says Samantha Kincaid, one of many assistant district attorneys in the Portland, Oregon, area. Samantha hangs out with people who like to throw around terms like "vic" and "attempted sod." She arrives at work in paragraph one to find a cop waiting for her—unusual, but not incredibly so. Seems a 13-year-old girl has been savagely assaulted by a pair of men—smart psychopaths, of course—but the case is kind of a dog evidence-wise, and, naturally, the cops want Kincaid to prosecute anyway. But that won’t be happening without a little investigation. The 13-year-old turns out to be a street prostitute—no good for the case—and the perps start to look a little strange when one of them turns out to have no pubic hair. How come? In between putting her case together, befriending the vic, and trying to make nice with the old beau with whom things never really worked but who rocked her world, Samantha notices odd men following her at the zoo and fails to worry when someone breaks into her apartment to leave her a threatening note because no one ever really hurts prosecutors because they’re replaceable—or, as she herself notes, indistinguishable from those on television. Burke’s prose reads like an e-mail you’re getting from a long-lost friend—the language is casual and the story full of references to stuff you wouldn’t care about unless Samantha were a pal: her ugly dog, why she only reads paperbacks, etc. When Judgment Calls isn’t giving unneeded detail, it reads like an extended tutorial onhow to prosecute crimes on borderline evidence. Samantha outlives the bad guys, though not without having her personal life revealed. But will it be enough to draw us forward to the next installment, already in the works? Competent but routine. Author tour. Agent: Philip Spitzer

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429902496
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/04/2004
Series:
Samantha Kincaid Mysteries , #1
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
21,332
File size:
363 KB

Read an Excerpt

Judgment Calls


By Alafair Burke

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2003 Alafair Burke
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-0249-6


CHAPTER 1

A February morning in Portland, Oregon, and it was still dark outside when I walked into the courthouse, the air thick with the annoying drops of humidity that pass for rain in the Pacific Northwest. No surprises there. What did surprise me was finding a Police Bureau sergeant waiting in my office.

I'm a deputy district attorney for Multnomah County, making me about one percent of the office that prosecutes state crimes committed in the Portland area. Since I took this job three years ago, I've gotten used to having voice mail and e-mail messages waiting for me on Monday mornings. People just don't seem to realize that government law offices aren't open on weekends. It's unusual, though, and rarely a good sign, to find a cop waiting for you first thing in the morning.

At least I knew this one.

"Hey, Garcia, who let you in?" I said. "I thought we had some security around here."

Sergeant Tommy Garcia looked up from the Oregon State Bar magazine he had lifted out of my in-box. He smiled at me with those bright white, perfectly straight teeth that contrasted beautifully with his smooth olive skin. That smile had led me to believe he was a nice guy when I met him for the first time three years ago, and I had been right.

"Hey, Sammie, what can I say? I love reading the part at the back that tells about all the bad lawyers and what they did to get disbarred or suspended. Gives me a sense of justice. You should be careful about giving me such a hard time, though. I might start to think you're like the rest of the DAs around here, with a stick up your ass."

Tommy's in charge of the bureau's vice unit, so I know him well. As a member of the eight- lawyer team known as the Drug and Vice Division, I talk to Tommy almost weekly about pending cases and see him at least once a month at team meetings.

"You must want something from me big and bad, Garcia, to be buttering me up like that. What is it," I asked, "a warrant?" The local judges won't even read an officer's application for a search warrant unless it is reviewed and approved first by a deputy DA. In a close case, the cops tend to "DA shop."

Garcia laughed. "You're too smart, Kincaid. Nope, no warrant. I do need your help on something, but it's a little more complicated." He reached behind him to shut the door, looking at me first to make sure I didn't mind.

"MCT picked a case up over the weekend, thinking it would be an attempt murder. The suspects are bad, bad guys, Sammie. Two of them grabbed a girl out of Old Town. One of them started to rape her, but couldn't get it up, so he beat her instead, and then the second guy finished what the first couldn't. When they were done, they left her for dead out in the Columbia Gorge.

"I don't know all the details, but apparently the initial investigation was a bit of a cluster fuck. It sounds like everything's on track now, but O'Donnell was the riding DA and got pissed off at some of the early mistakes. So he's planning on kicking it into the general felony unit for prosecution. You can pretty much figure out what's gonna happen to it."

The general felony trial unit is a dumping ground for cases that aren't seen as serious. The trial DDAs often have extremely limited time to spend on them, and the overwhelming majority plead out to reduced charges and stipulated sentences during a fast-paced court calendar referred to as "morning call." It's the criminal justice system's ugly side. Tim O'Donnell was a senior DDA in the major crimes unit. If he bumped a Major Crimes Team case down to general, he knew it was gone.

"Sounds bad, but it also sounds like MCT's beef is with O'Donnell."

"Yeah, well, O'Donnell's mind's not an easy one to change, and I think there's another way to go here because of a vice angle. The victim's a thirteen-year-old prostitute named Kendra Martin. Unlike most of 'em, she doesn't try to look any older. Wears schoolgirl outfits like that one girl used to wear on MTV before she got implants and started running around naked. What's her name? My daughter likes her. Anyway, she looks her age, is my point.

"Turns out her injuries weren't as bad as they first looked, so the MCT guys know it'll be hard to get attempted murder to stick. But they kept working the case, even after they realized that they could've handed it off to precinct detectives. This case is under their skin."

Any reluctance on the part of the Major Crimes Team to hand over a case to precinct detectives was understandable. In theory, regular shift detectives are perfectly good investigators, but in reality, disappointed precinct detectives who were passed over for the elite MCT frequently drop the ball, deciding their cases must not be sufficiently "major" to warrant good investigations.

"I don't doubt their earnestness, but I still don't see why they'd come to DVD with this, let alone to me. I've never even handled an MCT case."

"They figured because of the vice connection that someone in DVD might take the case from O'Donnell and run with it on something more serious than a general felony. And I've been watching you since you got here, Kincaid. You're good, and this could be a case for you to show what you can do when given the chance."

"Don't think you can play me like that, Garcia. I know an ego stroke when I see it." Of course, recognizing the stroke for what it was didn't prevent me from succumbing to it. The truth was, he was right. I'd been eager to get my hands on a major trial. It's a no-win situation: DVD cases aren't sexy enough to prove yourself to the guys running this place, yet you're supposed to prove yourself before you can try victim cases. Garcia was dangling a way for me to beat the system.

I wasn't about to sign on for this, though, without knowing the details.

"I don't think there's much I can do about it, but I'm willing to talk. Have someone call me?" I asked.

"I can do better than that," he said. "I got two MCT detectives waiting for you down the street."


* * *

Garcia must've known he'd be able to work me. He had told Detectives Jack Walker and Raymond Johnson to wait for us at the cafeteria in the basement of the federal building. Created to provide subsidized meals to low-level government workers, the cafeteria had found a cultlike following among the city's law enforcement crowd. A three-dollar tray of grease dished out by lunch ladies in hairnets had a certain retro appeal.

I exercised some moderation and got a bowl of oatmeal while Garcia waited for his plate to be loaded up with bacon and home fries. After he'd paid for our meals, he led me to a corner table.

"Jack Walker, Raymond Johnson, this is Samantha Kincaid."

I shook their hands. Jack Walker was a beefy man in his fifties, starting to lose his hair, with a full mustache. His short-sleeved dress shirt stretched tight across his belly, the buttons pulling in front. His grip was almost painfully firm, and his palms were rough. He looked like a cop, through and through.

Johnson was a different story altogether. A tall well-built African American in his mid-thirties, Raymond Johnson looked and dressed like a GQ model. He wore a collarless shirt with a three-button charcoal suit. His hair was close-cropped, and he wore a diamond stud in his left ear. He shook my hand and held it just a little longer than necessary, which was fine with me.

"It's nice to meet you both," I said. "I've seen you around the courthouse, but I don't think we've ever actually met."

Jack Walker spoke first. "Yeah, likewise. I've been hearing a lot of good things about you from Tommy, here, and Chuck Forbes says you guys go way back."

Suddenly, Johnson's handshake made a little more sense. To say that Chuck Forbes and I go way back is to sanitize the situation considerably. I didn't think Chuck would tell all to his cop buddies, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had said something in a certain way with that grin of his that would clue a guy like Raymond Johnson in to the gist of his reminiscing.

I hoped I wasn't blushing. "Well, I don't want to disappoint you, but it's a long shot that I'll be able to help." I asked them to tell me about the case from the beginning, and Johnson took over.

"We got the call around three on Sunday morning. A group of high school kids went out near Multnomah Falls to party. They were all pretty drunk, and a couple of them hiked into the forest to get it on. The girl tripped over what she thought was a log. Turns out the log was Kendra Martin."

He explained the facts in detail; I could see why he enjoyed a reputation among the DDAs as one of the bureau's best witnesses. "She was wearing a bra and a skirt pulled up over her hips, nothing else. No purse, no ID. Real beat up, finger marks on her neck, blood coming out of her bottom." I looked down, trying to hide my discomfort. Johnson continued. "The kids called police and medical. Looking at her, everyone assumed the worst. Her pulse was slow, she wasn't moving or talking, her face and body were covered with blood. The med techs took her straight to Emanuel Legacy, and patrol cops called in MCT. We page O'Donnell and tell him what we have, and he says we don't need a DA to come out. We don't have a suspect in custody yet, and the scene where we found the vic, even if it turns out to be the crime scene, is already fucked up by the high school kids. He tells us to keep working and to page him if we get a suspect or if anything big comes up over the weekend."

This was promising to be a long meeting if Johnson didn't speed it up, so I broke in. "How'd you guys split up the investigation?"

"Chuck and his partner, Mike Calabrese, supervised patrol in securing the scene, and Jack and I went to Emanuel to follow up with the vic. By the time we arrive, she's been there almost an hour and doing a lot better. The ER doc told us that most of the blood was from the anal tearing and a single large laceration on her face. She was out of it and had a slow pulse because she was on heroin. To be on the safe side, the doctor gave her Narcan to knock the heroin out of her system and keep her from ODing. She was bruised up pretty bad, but she was basically OK by the time we got to the hospital."

"So that's when you realized it wasn't a Major Crimes Team case after all," I said, letting them know that Garcia had already filled me in on the jurisdictional problems.

Jack Walker responded. As the senior detective he probably felt the need to justify the decision to keep the case with MCT. "Depends on how you look at it. Yeah, if patrol had known at the scene what the vic's actual injuries were, they probably wouldn't have called us out. But once we got involved, we had a teenage vic saying that a couple guys pulled her into their car and raped and beat her. She told the doc she didn't know how heroin wound up in her system; that they must have injected her during the assault without her realizing it. It looked like a straight stranger-to-stranger kidnap, doping, rape, and sod of a little girl. It didn't seem right to bump the case down to shift detectives."

"What charge did you use to hang on to the case, attempted murder?" I asked.

Walker nodded. "Yeah, we decided we had enough. Actually, it's an attempted agg, since the girl's under fourteen."

Intentionally killing a person under fourteen is aggravated murder, which can carry a death sentence. Luckily, Kendra Martin didn't die, so the defendants would at most be charged with Attempted Aggravated Murder.

"So what did you do after you decided to keep the case?" I asked.

Johnson answered. "We go in to talk to her, and I'm telling you the girl was a real piece of work, cussing us out, calling us every name in the book. Accusing us of keeping her there against her will when there was nothing wrong with her so SCF would make her go home." Runaways were notoriously distrustful of the state's Services for Children and Families department.

"She wasn't making a lot of sense, so we had to explain to her that we were there to investigate her statement to the doctor. That calmed her down a little. Still pretty bitchy, though." Johnson caught himself and looked over at Garcia for a read on his choice of words. I assured him his candor was fine and asked him to continue as I pulled a legal pad from my briefcase.

"Anyway, the vic initially said she was walking in Old Town around ten on Saturday night, on her way to Powell's Books, when Suspect One comes up from behind and pushes her into the backseat of what she called a" — he looked down at his notebook — "'some big, seventies, four-door, loser shit box.' Said it was a dark color. Suspect One gets in back with her while Suspect Two drives to a parking lot somewhere in southeast Portland.

"She says Suspect One acted like the one in charge. He starts getting real rough with her in the backseat, saying a lot of dirty stuff and pulling her clothes off. Thing is, right when she thinks he's about to rape her, she realizes there's nothing there. The guy can't get it up. So he just goes off and starts beating the shit out of her, then penetrates her vaginally and anally with a foreign object, she can't tell what. The doctors say it was probably some kind of stick — they found splinters. Anyway, they left the parking lot and got onto I-84 going east. She remembers passing signs to the airport. After they stopped — we're guessing they were out by Multnomah Falls at this point — Suspect One tells Suspect Two to take a turn at her. She thinks he penetrated her vaginally and remembers Suspect One telling him to finish off in her mouth. Her memory of what happened toward the end was pretty hazy. She also thinks they must've taken her purse, because she had it with her when they pulled her in the car."

I felt sick. It's bad enough that people like these men walk on the same planet as the rest of us. The fact that they manage to find one another and work together is utterly terrifying.

"Could she describe the suspects?"

Ray Johnson nodded. "Nothing helpful, just that she'd know them if she saw them again. We figure it's a long shot but go ahead and pull some mug shots off X-Imaging of guys on supervision for child sods and stranger-to-stranger rapes."

One of PPB's newest toys, X-Imaging is a computerized data system that stores all booking photos taken in the state. By using the computer to select booking photos corresponding to certain MOs, an officer is more likely to get a successful identification from a witness than by dumping several hundred booking photos in front of her. I could tell from Johnson's voice that in this case, the strategy had hit pay dirt.

"She's flipping through the printouts and hones right in on one guy, Frank Derringer. I swear, it was one of the best mug-shot IDs I've ever seen. I mean, you've seen how it goes; with that many pictures, most wits start to get confused. This girl is just flipping through 'em left and right and then — bam! — she nails it. One hundred percent certain. 'That's him,' she said. Pointed right at Derringer's mug."

Johnson was getting excited now. "We get even more worked up when we see that Derringer's the guy we pulled who was just paroled last summer on an attempted sod of a fifteen-year-old girl. Unfortunately for Derringer, this girl had just started a kick boxing class. As he was pushing her down, she popped up and landed a roundhouse kick straight to his Adam's apple and got away. He only served a year because it was an attempt, but it shows the guy's got it in him.

"We called O'Donnell at that point and told him what we had. He gives us the OK to pick up Derringer. We picked him up last night around seven. His parole officer, Dave Renshaw, went out there with us. The plan was to arrest Derringer on a parole violation for having unsupervised contact with a minor child, then write paper to search the apartment."

I interrupted. "Does Derringer have any cars registered to him?"

Johnson nodded. "That would've been too easy. We ran him. Only car registered to him is an 'eighty-two Ford Escort. It was his associated vehicle until a couple years ago, probably when he went to the pen. Since then, it comes up as associated with one of Derringer's pals. Guy's gotten three DUIs in two years in that same car."

"You know how these guys are," Walker said. "They sell their pieces of junk to each other and never bother notifying DMV."

"So, is that all you had when you went out to the house? The victim's ID?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Judgment Calls by Alafair Burke. Copyright © 2003 Alafair Burke. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

A former deputy district attorney in Portland, Alafair Burke now teaches criminal law at Hofstra School of Law and lives in Long Island, New York. She is the daughter of acclaimed crime writer James Lee Burke.


A former deputy district attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair Burke now teaches criminal law at Hofstra School of Law and lives in Long Island, New York. The daughter of the acclaimed crime writer James Lee Burke, she is the author of the Samantha Kincaid series, including Judgment Calls and Missing Justice.

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Judgment Calls (Samantha Kincaid Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was kind of hard to swallow such a liberal prosecutor and homicide detective. I suppose they are out there though. The book definitely kept my attention. Most of her attempts at humor fell flat, and the banter was kind of wooden, but not bad for a first novel.
sdrice More than 1 year ago
I really liked this author and read another book in this series before this one. I couldn't stomach the plot of this story and I disliked the victim and well as the bad guys. I have to admit I didn't finish it because the plot was so hard to deal with and I couldn't even have sympathy for a teenage girl.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Judgment Calls, the debut effort from Alafair Burke, is a book that is difficult to set down. Readers are introduced to Samantha Kincaid, a young prosecutor navigating through the judicial system in search of justice for the teenage victim in a brutal rape case. Ms. Burke, through colorful descriptions, interesting character development, and a tight, riveting plot, takes the reader on a memorable ride from the start to finish of a criminal case from the prosecutor's perspective, a perspective that has not been explored much by other crime/mystery writers. Ms. Burke appears to have a very bright future in this genre and this reviewer is definitely looking forward to future books featuring Samantha Kincaid.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I came across this writer after hearing her interviewed on NPR. I loved this book so much that I'm now reading her second novel, Missing Justice. Any true fan of mysteries would truly enjoy these novels. This writer and her main character, Samantha Kinkaid, are refreshing, interesting, and funny! A MUST READ FOR SURE!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most boring books I have read. There was far too much personal data and legal procedure in the first nine-tenths of the book I was suspicious a test was going to given at the end. After that, a story emerged and came to its conclusion in the remaining tenth of the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Judgment Calls, the debut effort from Alafair Burke, is a book that is > difficult to set down. Readers are introduced to Samantha Kincaid, a young > prosecutor navigating through the judicial system in search of justice for > the teenage victim in a brutal rape case. Ms. Burke, through colorful > descriptions, interesting character development, and a tight, riveting plot, > takes the reader on a memorable ride from the start to finish of a criminal > case from the prosecutor's perspective, a perspective that has not been > explored much by other crime/mystery writers. Ms. Burke appears to have a > very bright future in this genre and this reviewer is definitely looking > forward to future books featuring Samantha Kincaid.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My one huge complaint about this book is that I COULD NOT put it down and ended up reading through the night. This book has an amazingly tight plot, a hip protagonist and offers an insider's view of a real courtroom. A definite page-turner that happens to be well written too....am looking forward to the next book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book only if you are interested in reading the gory details of sexual violence. I prefer authors that are more subltle.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Thirteen years old Kendra Martin turns tricks to fund her heroin habit. Two johns pull her into their car, beat her, sodomize and rape her. They leave her for dead in an isolated park. Two Samaritans find her and call 911. The emergency room doctors save her life. After she recovers she identifies one of the perpetrators as Frank Derringer, an ex-con out on parole who is supposed to stay away from underage girls as the condition for his continued freedom.

Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid goes against the advice of her immediate superior and decides to charge Derringer with numerous felonies that will put him away for a long time. At first her case looks solid but Frank¿s defense attorney makes such a compelling argument that a serial killer committed the crime that her boss and his superior force her to drop out of the prosecution. Samantha isn¿t willing to let the case slip away from her and see justice perverted so she starts her own independent investigation, an action that almost gets her killed.

Alafair Burke, the daughter of well renowned crime thriller writer James Lee Burke, has inherited her father¿s talent for writing a compelling and enthralling novel. This legal thriller has plenty of action scenes, surprises and courtroom scenes so readers will find themselves thoroughly enjoying JUDGMENT CALLS which is, as hard as it is to believe, the author¿s debut novel. The protagonist has a vulnerable side that will endear her to readers as well as a bulldog tenacity that allows her to do her job in spite of overwhelming odds. This reviewer can¿t wait for the second Samantha Kincaid legal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous 4 months ago
Not my favorite wwould lile less detail and more action
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