Perfect Justice (Ben Kincaid Series #4)

( 3 )

Overview

"BERNHARDT IS A MASTER LEGAL TOUR GUIDE, taking the reader through the labyrinth of the judicial system of America's heartland."
—Mostly Murder
A young Vietnamese immigrant is brutally slaughtered by a crossbow. The prime suspect is a ruthless member of a white supremacy group.
When attorney Ben Kincaid reluctantly agrees to confer with the presumed murderer, he encounters a chilling certainty: an innocent man has been cast as a scapegoat. To rebalance the scales of justice, Ben...

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Overview

"BERNHARDT IS A MASTER LEGAL TOUR GUIDE, taking the reader through the labyrinth of the judicial system of America's heartland."
—Mostly Murder
A young Vietnamese immigrant is brutally slaughtered by a crossbow. The prime suspect is a ruthless member of a white supremacy group.
When attorney Ben Kincaid reluctantly agrees to confer with the presumed murderer, he encounters a chilling certainty: an innocent man has been cast as a scapegoat. To rebalance the scales of justice, Ben chooses to represent the accused man—thereby placing both attorney and client at the explosive center of a community torn apart by xenophobia, racism, and violence.
But the real fireworks will go off in court—in an incendiary murder trial with more twists than a dustbowl tornado (.
"REWARDS ITS READERS WITH A GENUINELY SURPRISE ENDING WHILE ALSO RAISING SERIOUS ISSUES."
—The Orlando Sentinel

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After a promising beginning, Bernhardt's latest thriller starring Oklahoma attorney Ben Kincaid, seen last in Deadly Justice , drifts into formulaic TV-movie scripting that slights its serious subject. When a young Vietnamese refugee is brutally murdered near Silver Springs, Ark., all the evidence points to Donald Vick, a member of the white-supremacist group Anglo-Saxon Patrol (ASP). When no one will defend Vick because of his politics, Kincaid, who is in Arkansas on vacation and believes that even those with heinous views deserve proper representation, agrees to take the case. For his pains, he is attacked by hooligans, beaten by a deputy sheriff, ostracized by the entire town and obliged to accept bodyguards supplied by the ASP Grand Dragon. This liberal's nightmare is simplistically portrayed: no opposing principals in the cast attempt to understand Kincaid's position, so there is no discussion of the issue at the story's heart and little narrative tension. Instead, the characters are people with permanently unchangeable opinions who mostly yell at each other. Even the story's fiery climax and the late twists of its plot have a set-piece quality that diminishes the novel's impact. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This addition to Bernhardt's ``Justice'' series (e.g., Blind Justice , Ballantine, 1992) is the author's hardcover debut. Attorney Ben Kincaid finds himself defending a white supremacist charged with murder. While Kincaid abhors the bigot's politics, he's convinced the man is innocent.
Mary Frances Wilkens
Bernhardt introduces unusual characters and story lines in his latest murder mystery. Ben Kincaid, a "big-city" lawyer from Tulsa on vacation in Alabama, gets roped into taking on a case that is more than he bargained for. A white-supremacy group, the Anglo-Saxon Patrol (ASP), has invaded the small town of Silver Springs to drive away the "gooks"--Vietnamese living in a local camp. The citizens are disturbed by the ASP's presence, and tensions mount even further when a Vietnamese boy is discovered dead. Kincaid defends the accused ASP member-- "but even hatemongering fascists deserve representation." The town doesn't take to Kincaid, and his investigation nearly falls flat. Things change, however, when Belinda Hamilton--a lawyer and founder of Hatewatch, which has set up an office to help deter ASP's actions--finally agrees to help Kincaid get access to otherwise unattainable information. The twists in the plot and the final courtroom scene make this an exciting-enough story and even make up for the sometimes gratuitous and often preachy PC dialogue.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345391339
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: Ben Kincaid Series, #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 799,455
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

William Bernhardt made his debut as a novelist with Primary Justice, a bestseller that launched what Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine called "one of the best new series going.  Bernhardt's subsequent novels include Blind Justice, Deadly Justice, Perfect Justice (which won the Oklahoma Book Award), Cruel Justice, and Double Jeopardy. His most recent novel is Naked Justice.

As an attorney, William Bernhardt has received several awards for his public service, and (in 1993) he was named one of the top twenty-five young lawyers in the nation. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his wife, Kirsten, and their children, Harry and Alice.

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Read an Excerpt

Rising to begin his cross-examination, Greg Monarch stared hard at Sandy Polson. She smiled faintly, tilted her head, held his gaze. In her eyes, he searched for a sign of madness, for evidence of where she'd been, where she now dwelled. He saw nothing.

If only the jurors could know her as he did. That was not possible though. He'd been shown her confidential presentencing report on the sly. There was no chance he could introduce something so remote in time, involving a witness's minor years. Hedgespeth had snorted when Greg tested that issue in chambers. Her drug dealing conviction he could get in, but nothing more. If she were to be further revealed, it would have to be by her present conduct in this courtroom.

How to bring that about? How to unnerve a witness who had no nerves? As Greg mulled that question, the spectators in the courtroom leaned forward with anticipation.

"Ms. Polson," Greg began. "You are still being held in the Chumash County Jail, facing charges related to the murder of Bob Wilson, are you not?"

"Yes, I am."

"And you have been in the Chumash County Jail awaiting trial since the day of your arrest?"

"Yes, that's true."

"And you still are negotiating what you finally will be charged with?"

"Yes, I am."

Greg was thinking again of Joe Hilliard's trial. Frankie, testifying against Hilliard, insisted he'd cut no deals with the prosecutor. Only later, when Hilliard was sitting on Death Row, did Greg find a confidential memo in the case file. . . .

"And is it true," Greg asked Sandy, "that your case has been continued from time to time to allow you to testify against Ira Sullivan?"

Dennis Taylor jumped up. "Objection, as to why the case was continued."

Hedgespeth waved him down. "Overruled."

Sandy Polson looked almost as if she were going to reach out and place a calming hand on Greg's arm. "Yes, it has been continued for that reason."

"Are you expecting any benefits in your case from your testimony?"

"I haven't been promised anything, no."

"So will you tell us why you're testifying here today?"

Sandy regarded him gently. "Because I don't feel anyone should get away with murder, Mr. Monarch."

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2008

    amazing insight

    The Kincaid series are always enlightening, this one in particular. Hate crimes are heinous and the insight from both sides is breathtaking. Makes you know that you must consider all sides before drawing conclusions

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    Posted March 4, 2009

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