Last Lawyer Standing

( 3 )

Overview

Defense attorney Kevin Corvelli fled from New York to Hawaii after the sensational death of one of his clients three years ago. Now, in the wake of another client’s death—a client Kevin had fallen in love with—Kevin would run again if only he could pull himself free from a couple of high-profile, high-risk cases. The FBI is investigating the poisoning of a young woman who happened to be Governor Wade Omphrey’s mistress. The governor was off the island at the time, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t order the ...

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Last Lawyer Standing

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Overview

Defense attorney Kevin Corvelli fled from New York to Hawaii after the sensational death of one of his clients three years ago. Now, in the wake of another client’s death—a client Kevin had fallen in love with—Kevin would run again if only he could pull himself free from a couple of high-profile, high-risk cases. The FBI is investigating the poisoning of a young woman who happened to be Governor Wade Omphrey’s mistress. The governor was off the island at the time, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t order the hit or that he doesn’t need a hotshot lawyer like Corvelli defending him.

Then the DEA raids a local meth lab and Turi Ahina is picked up in the sweep. A career criminal, Ahina has set Corvelli up with plenty of client referrals, but Corvelli owes him for much more than that ever since Ahina saved his life. Now Ahina’s only way out is to turn in the big man, and he can’t just tell the FBI who it is—they already know that. He needs to find him and set a trap, a trap that won’t succeed without Corvelli’s help. The plan is simple, as foolproof and dangerous as a suicide attempt.

As the stakes rise, Corvelli gets drawn in deeper and deeper until the only way he can escape is to stick it out to the end in Last Lawyer Standing, Douglas Corleone’s most compelling legal mystery yet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Corleone’s overly busy third Kevin Corvelli mystery (after 2011’s Night on Fire), the criminal defense lawyer takes on two complex and dangerous cases, despite having become addicted to Percocet after surviving a stabbing six months earlier. First and foremost, Corvelli agrees to represent Hawaii’s governor, Wade Omphrey, after Omphrey’s mistress, Oksana Sutin, is poisoned with strychnine. Suspicion of murder would be seriously damaging at any time, but with an election looming, the unresolved homicide case is even more problematic. Meanwhile, the man who saved Corvelli’s life, drug dealer Turi Ahina, who’s been busted again, is facing serious federal charges, which leave Ahina little alternative than to cooperate with the government. Corvelli must also babysit an unlicensed investigator fleeing a mob contract, and confront rampant police corruption while identifying a shadowy criminal mastermind. Some tired genre tropes, including a love interest held hostage, cost the author some originality points. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Last Lawyer Standing

“A perfect blend of mystery and thriller, with laugh out loud moments sprinkled liberally throughout. Corleone is as good as it gets.”

—David Rosenfelt

“Corvelli is a likable, pillpopping DA, and the secondary characters are Elmore Leonard quirky, never cartoonish. Throw in some sudden violence and loopy humor, and you have a fun, escapist reading experience.”

Booklist

Night on Fire

“The current crop of legal thrillers is further graced with the presence of Douglas Corleone, who follows his auspicious debut with an equally enjoyable successor, which continues the saga of Kevin Corvelli, a charismatic defense attorney.”

San Diego Tribune

"The contemporary legal thriller is a page-turner in the best sense of the word.”

Honolulu Star-Advertiser

“Kevin tries a mean case and tells a fine story.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Appealing. . .Corvelli uses an impressive array of legal precedents and courtroom antics… The resulting thrust and parry is well done."

Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
Honolulu attorney Kevin Corvelli's latest pair of clients serve up surprise after unhappy surprise. Kevin has represented career criminal Turi Ahina, who once saved his life, so many times that he should award him frequent-client miles. So nothing could be more routine than the news that the cops have busted Turi in his meth lab. Threatening him with serious time, Assistant U.S. Attorneys William F. Boyd and Audra Levy demand that Turi earn his Get–Out-of-Jail-Free card by infiltrating the inner circle of legendary drug lord Orlando Masonet, whom neither Turi nor anybody else ever seems to have met. Then Turi's arrested for shooting Detective Kanoa Bristol, and Kevin decides that his best defense is to argue that Bristol and virtually the entire Honolulu PD were on the take. As if all these complications aren't enough, Kevin's landed a second assignment that's anything but routine from the get-go: to make sure that Governor Wade Omphrey never even goes on trial for the strychnine poisoning of Oksana Sutin, his Russian mistress. The governor has a cast-iron alibi for the time of her death, so Kevin's job is limited to convincing the cops--the same cops he plans to identify as crooks--that Omphrey didn't hire world-class hit man Lok Sun, recently spotted in the Aloha state, or anyone else to administer the fatal dose and, of course, to manage the press coverage leading up to the election. Keeping both the wisecracks and the satyriasis he showed in Night on Fire (2011, etc.) under relative control, Kevin makes only one new conquest, his opposite number Audra Levy, but still finds plenty to keep him busy inside and outside of the courtroom. More lawyers, law enforcement types, Class-A felonies and plot twists than you can shake a stick at. Instead of a map, Corleone should have supplied a score card.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312552282
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,153,230
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

DOUGLAS CORLEONE is a former New York City defense attorney and winner of the MB/MWA First Crime Novel Competition. He now lives in the Hawaiian Islands with his wife and two children. This is his third novel.

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Read an Excerpt

Last Lawyer Standing


By Douglas Corleone

Minotaur Books

Copyright © 2012 Douglas Corleone
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312552282

CHAPTER 1
 
My shadow stretched diagonally across the federal courthouse steps on Ala Moana Boulevard in downtown Honolulu, just an ordinary man in an ordinary suit with a Panama Jack resting on his head. Just another lawyer on his way to court for just another criminal case. Only that’s not how it felt. Something palpable lingered in the ether, something akin to the tension I experienced sitting next to a client surrounded by off-white cinder blocks in a cramped, stifling interrogation room in the bowels of a police department’s headquarters. I checked my watch to make certain I wasn’t due for another few Percocet to relieve the pain in my abdomen where I’d been stabbed with a stiletto not six months ago. But, no, not yet; it wasn’t time. The day itself, an ugly young Monday, shrieked in my ear, cautioned me to blow off SoSo’s sentencing, to turn around and head the hell home, to turn off the phones, and pretend this morning never existed.
I didn’t listen.
Instead I bounded up the steps, briefcase in hand, passed through the glass doors, through the metal detector after dumping my keys and a few coins into a small gray bucket, and checked my cell phone with a bored court officer, who warned me twice to make sure the ringer was turned off.
“I don’t wanna listen to that goddamn thing playing ‘Funky Cold Medina’ for the next three hours, Counselor. Got it?”
“Got it.” I took the ticket he offered as a receipt then made for the elevator bank at the end of the hall.
When I stepped through the ten-foot-tall, mahogany double doors into Justice Harlan Platz’s empty courtroom, my partner, Jake Harper, already seated at the defense table, turned in his chair and greeted me with a slow nod.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I asked him, tossing my briefcase onto the table, slightly shuddering at the exaggerated echo of the thud.
“Wouldn’t miss SoSo’s sentencing for anything, son.”
“It’s routine. Both sides are resting on the papers. Platz is going to give him twenty years and we’re done.”
“I’ve yet to see a routine appearance in front of Harlan Platz,” Jake said. “Never mind a routine anything involving SoSo.”
Forty-five minutes later, four priggish US Marshals led our client Solosolo Sinaloa through a side door into the courtroom. SoSo, shackled at the wrists and ankles, towered over each of them, his muscular bulk preventing any of the four from accompanying him side-by-side up the aisle. The single-piece, orange jumpsuit befit the Samoan so well, I couldn’t imagine he ever wore anything else. Then again, I’d never seen him wear anything else. And unless in twenty years SoSo returned to Honolulu to shake my hand or slice my throat, chances were I never would.
“Howya doin’,” SoSo greeted me, as two of the Marshals stepped away from the table. The other two took positions behind the prisoner.
“Comme ci, comme ça,” I said, but SoSo was apparently in no mood for levity. On the upside, my French earned a light chuckle from Jake.
Jake and I represented SoSo pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act, which was to say that the federal government rewarded our firm a paltry seventy-five bucks per hour to play advocate to the most menacing, callous monsters federal law enforcement could capture and charge. Although I’d adamantly opposed joining the CJA panel, Jake insisted on it. With a mere two dozen murders on the island each year, it’s rare to hit on a state case with any teeth. But the feds never fail to scrounge up a few supervillains per annum, providing the dose of excitement Jake seems to need to thrive.
Of course, I lacked standing to argue. I’m the one who got the old man addicted in the first place.
Or was it the other way around?
Another twenty minutes passed before the Honorable Harlan Platz rose to the bench. Platz looked as though he chose his skin off a rack this morning, then dotted it with liver spots before stepping into the long, flowing black robe that made him look like Death itself. Approximately sixteen white hairs loitered on a scalp that would’ve made Mikhail Gorbachev cringe with disgust. When the founding fathers drafted Article Three of the US Constitution, providing that federal judges serve for life, they couldn’t possibly have foreseen the likes of Harlan Platz. Then again, maybe Platz knew one of the founding fathers personally.
“I have reviewed the Government’s sentencing memorandum,” Platz rasped from his perch, “as well as the Defendant’s. I must say, Mr. Corvelli, you receive an A for creativity. I had to reread the Federal Sentencing Guidelines twice because I did not quite believe some of the provisions you cited even existed. Yet, there they were in black and white. Although, I think you will concede, Counselor, that it is somewhat of a stretch to contend that Mr. Sinaloa accepted responsibility for his crime by nodding his head after the jury foreman read off the verdict of guilty.”
I had little to work with. We were appointed SoSo’s counsel only after trial, for the sole purpose of preparing a sentencing memorandum on his behalf. About a year ago, SoSo beat a man to death outside a strip club in Honolulu’s red-light district, following a “Miller Lite: Tastes Great/Less Filling” debate. Or something like that. The victim, Marc Dalton, was a US immigration officer, which landed the case in federal court. At a postverdict visit at the Federal Detention Center, SoSo handed a sample of what he’d given Dalton to his trial attorney, Clyde Harris. Harris begged off the case and the CJA panel appointed yours truly.
“Mr. Boyd,” Platz said to the assistant US attorney, “do you have anything you wish to add to the Government’s sentencing memorandum?”
AUSA William F. Boyd was a typical government lawyer, complete with the personality of a houseplant and all the style of a toaster.
“I have nothing further, Your Honor,” Boyd said in a mechanical voice. “The Government’s memorandum speaks for itself.”
“Mr. Corvelli,” Platz said, “have you anything else to say?”
“No, Your Honor,” I replied.
Then Justice Platz began hacking, a hideous, loose cough that echoed through the gallery like a ricocheting bullet from a .44. Platz’s sagging facial skin flapped violently, his liver spots dancing in unison.
Platz’s clerk, a round kid just out of law school, came to the judge’s rescue with a clean hanky and a gentle, oddly affectionate pat on the back.
“I am sorry,” Platz said once he regained his composure. “Let us move on. Mr. Sinaloa, have you anything to say before I sentence you?”
The correct answer, of course, was No. Or at most, No, Judge, maybe No, Your Honor. I’d gone over the straightforward federal sentencing procedure with SoSo at least a half dozen times. Since it was no longer mandatory for judges to strictly follow the rigid provisions of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and since Harlan Platz was known to be a fairly liberal judge, both sides anticipated a prison term of twenty years in a maximum-security facility. Not bad for killing a federal agent with your bare hands outside a strip club at four in the morning. Especially considering SoSo was only twenty-six years old.
This hearing was a mere formality. Justice Platz had already read our memorandum; nothing added today could aid us in any imaginable way. Anything said could only do us harm, could only lengthen SoSo’s prison sentence. Thus, I had instructed SoSo—had done everything but hold a gun to his head—to simply reply in the negative when asked whether he had anything to say. “No,” I had told him. “Just say no. No. No. No. No. No.”
“Yes,” SoSo said to Justice Platz.
Shit.
“Your Honor,” I interrupted, “SoSo—I mean, Mr. Sinaloa—has nothing further to add at this time.”
Platz coughed into the elbow of his robe and looked at my client for the first time. “Is that right, Mr. Sinaloa? Or do you have something you would care to say to this Court before I sentence you?”
“Yes,” SoSo said again.
“See, Mr. Corvelli?” Platz said with what might have passed for a smile in a casket. “Another county heard from.”
“Your Honor—,” I tried again.
“Proceed, Mr. Sinaloa. It is your right. What say you?”
SoSo’s face remained perfectly stoic as he addressed Justice Platz. “I say you the oldest, ugliest motherfucker I ever seen in my life.”
A nauseating silence hung over the courtroom like tear gas. The houseplant standing at the Government table glanced over at me, the slightest attempt at a smirk playing on his lips. But quiet the courtroom remained for at least the next three minutes. Then the Honorable Harlan Platz slapped his gavel with all the savagery a two-hundred-year-old man could muster. If looks could kill, the Marshals would’ve been wheeling SoSo out of the courtroom on a stretcher, a white sheet draped over his face.
“Very well,” Platz finally said with a calmness that betrayed his face. “Mr. Sinaloa, the Court hereby sentences you to imprisonment at a federal penitentiary of maximum security for a period of thirty-five years.”
All four Marshals instantly convened behind my client to recuff him and take him away.
“But, Judge!” SoSo pleaded, the stoicism suddenly melting from his body like crushed ice on hot sand. “Judge, I can’t do that much time.”
Platz waved a skeletal hand in the air, and the Marshals immediately halted their movements.
“Oh, I see,” Platz said. “You cannot do that much time; is that so, Mr. Sinaloa?”
“No, sir, Judge,” SoSo replied, relief already washing over his mammoth frame. “I can’t do no thirty-five years. I can’t do that much time.”
“Very well, then, Mr. Sinaloa.” The corners of Platz’s mouth turned up as though on strings as he glared at my client and stated flatly, “In that case, do as much as you can.”


 
Copyright © 2012 by Douglas Corleone


Continues...

Excerpted from Last Lawyer Standing by Douglas Corleone Copyright © 2012 by Douglas Corleone. Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Bright, hard, implausible, puerile, na¿ve - and bold

    I was ready to not like this one much. Bright, hard, implausible, puerile, with a na¿vely fresh-off-the boat haole view of Hawaii. But the author is bold to take on the subject of Hawaii crystal methamphetamine money and corruption even in thriller fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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