Judgment Calls (Samantha Kincaid Series #1)

( 21 )

Overview

Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid walks into her office in Portland's Drug and Vice Division one Monday morning to find the sergeant of the police bureau's vice unit 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 ...
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Judgment Calls (Samantha Kincaid Series #1)

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Overview

Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid walks into her office in Portland's Drug and Vice Division one Monday morning to find the sergeant of the police bureau's vice unit 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-profiles 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.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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
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
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
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
From the Publisher
"Alafair Burke has been on the front line in the courtroom and the streets, and brings her world alive in this exciting first novel." -Linda Fairstein

"Captivating. Alafair Burke is a wonderful writer, with the kind of style and confidence I most admire. I'm a big fan and look forward to the next novel in the series." -Sue Grafton

"Judgment Calls expertly shows that the most gripping drama is not found in the courtroom but in the places where choices get made, in the shadows cast by politics and corruption and human desires. Burke comes out of the gate with a first novel that proves she's got what it takes and will be sticking around." -Michael Connelly

"A terrific debut; very different from her famous father's work, but the storytelling DNA is all there, for sure." -Lee Child

"First-rate, suspenseful entertainment ...we'll be hearing more from tough, tart, sexy, high-minded Samantha Kincaid." -Washington Post

"Burke's earnest, fast-paced debut introduces a sharp new crime series revolving around Deputy DA Samantha 'Sam' Kincaid, a hip, 30-ish 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...This is a solid first effort from Burke, daughter of another 'crime fighter writer,' James Lee Burke." -Publishers Weekly

"Burke blends courtroom drama and criminal investigation with surprising aplomb, and she uses her Northwest setting to good advantage . . . This promising debut augurs well for a successful series." -Booklist

"If you love "Law and Order," you'll love Judgment Calls." - New Orleans Times-Picayune

"A grabber of a first novel." -Houston Chronicle

"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." -Library Journal

"Alafair Burke is the real deal...Judgment Calls is a fine work, introducing what I hope will be a long-running series about the trials and tribulations of Samantha Kincaid...with Judgment Calls, Alafair Burke has arrived on the crime fiction scene in dramatic fashion...in a year during which there have already been many worthy debut novels to choose from, Alafair Burke's entry must be considered one of the top choices. Believe the hype-she's going to go very far."

-January Magazine

"Alafair Burke is, without question, a new writer to watch. Judgment Calls is a remarkable debut -a skillfully told tale with memorable characters and plot twists that will keep readers involved from the first page to the satisfying end. Take this one home with you-you'll enjoy it, and not many years from now, you'll be able to tell your friends that you knew she'd be a star when you read her first book." -Jan Burke

"It's no mystery why Alafair Burke's first novel, Judgment Calls, is already getting rave reviews...Burke demonstrates a natural-born propensity for suspense." -Phoenix New Times

"An engrossing novel that compares to the best of the genre." -Rocky Mountain News

"Author Burke is a splendid guide through its satisfyingly twisty plot." -The Seattle Times

"Fast-paced, well-plotted debut."-Raleigh News-Observer

"[Burke] has developed her own unique style of storytelling that is both fresh and wholly original. Judgment Calls is an exciting first novel and the perfect summer book to send shivers of suspense down the reader's spine." -Tucson Citizen

"It's her meticulous approach to nailing the criminals in the courtroom that gives Judgment Calls its principal appeal... As a female sleuth figure, Kincaid seems standard issue...but she and the book get into fresh territory when she applies her mind to her case and the courtroom. It's the attention to the minutiae of trial tactics that illuminates Kincaid's character and gives distinction to the novel." -The Toronto Star

"Alafair Burke has made an excellent start...we'll be watching for the return of Samantha Kincaid." -Toronto Globe and Mail

"Burke comes out of the gate flying...this has all the makings of a successful series, and we're looking forward to the next." - New Mystery Reader

"An accomplished and thrilling tale of her own...she writes in her own style, at her own pace, and the result is an engrossing novel that compares to the best of the genre." -Rocky Mountain News

"Burke definitely stands on her own merits as she delivers a debut that immediately springs to life...tightly plotted, Judgment Calls is a personal story wrapped around a realistic, likeable heroine...[It] would be an engrossing read no matter whose name was on the cover."

-South Florida Sun Sentinel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781742854755
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: Samantha Kincaid Series , #1
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 7.12 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alafair Burke
A former deputy district attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair Burke now teaches criminal law at Hofstra Law School and lives in New York City. She is the daughter of the acclaimed crime writer James Lee Burke. Her three novels in the Samantha Kincaid series, Judgment Calls, Missing Justice, and Close Case are available in paperback from St. Martin's Press. Dead Connection is her first stand-alone thriller.
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Read an Excerpt

From Judgment Calls:

“I don’t mind taking the case, but here’s the problem: this case needs major help. The rape kit’s not back; the victim’s clothes are still at the lab. Derringer’s alibi needs work, and we don’t have the driver. If this case is filed as an Assault III, it’s outside MCT jurisdiction, and you know that precinct detectives aren’t going to do the follow up that’s needed.”

Garcia was a step ahead of me. “I’ll make another call to O’Donnell to explain that you’re willing to take the case but are worried about the follow-up issue.”

I hate this kind of crap. The four people in the room agree what needs to happen and are willing to put in the work, but have to plot how they can even start without bruising a fragile ego.

I was skeptical. Garcia was good, but I still thought O’Donnell might see right through it and blame me when he wound up looking like a jerk. It would have been so easy to bow out on the grounds that the die had been cast.

Apathy is grossly undervalued and never there for me when I need it. I was already sucked in. I’d broken up some escort services and prosecuted a few pimps, but I’d never had a chance to handle a case like this one. And to my mind, with scum like Derringer, it was better to issue the case and lose than to let him walk away up front.

“Alright, let’s give it a try,” I said.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2005

    Not bad, but.......

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2004

    Too Much Information

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2003

    Judgment Calls: A Mystery

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    I didn't like the Plot

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2003

    Judgment Calls: A Mystery

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant thriller

    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.<P> 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.<P> 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.<P> Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2004

    What a Talent! So Glad I Found This Author!

    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!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2003

    Too much violence

    Read this book only if you are interested in reading the gory details of sexual violence. I prefer authors that are more subltle.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2003

    The Verdict is in for JUSTICE CALLS --5 STARS

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 25, 2011

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