The Defense (Joseph Antonelli Series #1)

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Overview

Dynamite defense attorney Joseph Antonelli has never lost a case--or felt the sting of conscience for letting the guilty go free. "I can deceive anyone," he says, "and no one more quickly or more completely than myself." Now the man he most admires, the honorable Judge Rifkin, has asked him a favor: Defend a drug dealer accused of raping his twelve-year-old stepdaughter. Yet Antonelli's acceptance of the case sets in motion an explosive chain of corruption, betrayal, and murder that will leave no one unscathed. ....
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Overview

Dynamite defense attorney Joseph Antonelli has never lost a case--or felt the sting of conscience for letting the guilty go free. "I can deceive anyone," he says, "and no one more quickly or more completely than myself." Now the man he most admires, the honorable Judge Rifkin, has asked him a favor: Defend a drug dealer accused of raping his twelve-year-old stepdaughter. Yet Antonelli's acceptance of the case sets in motion an explosive chain of corruption, betrayal, and murder that will leave no one unscathed. . . .
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Editorial Reviews

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Would you defend a man convicted of raping his 12-year-old daughter? Judge Leo Rifkin asks Joseph Antonelli -- an undefeated defense attorney -- to defend Johnny Morel for doing just that. And not only does Antonelli accept the case, he gets Morel off scot-free as well. Little does Antonelli realize that his actions will ignite a series of murders, one that suspiciously involves the honorable Judge Rifkin himself.
Anthony Smith
The Defense is a nice book....Law genre fans should read it for a taste of something different. And people who aren't so big on law mysteries (which, according to Grisham sales figures, includes FOUR PEOPLE) might enjoy it as well, since the voice of Antonelli makes for a compelling character.
Over My Dead Body.com
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Belying its generic title, this debut novel is an ingenious, riveting legal thriller about an Oregon criminal attorney whose defense of a child rapist unleashes life-changing events. Prominent Portland attorney Joseph Antonelli is asked by his friend, Judge Leo Rifkin, to defend Johnny Morel after Morel is accused of raping his young stepdaughter. Despite overwhelming odds and the knowledge that his client is almost certainly guilty, Antonelli gets Morel acquitted. The implications of his defense resurface, however, when Morel is murdered and the evidence points to his wife, Denise, a seductive drug addict who uses her sexuality to try to enlist Antonelli's services. Antonelli refuses to defend Denise and she is convicted of the crime. But the cloud of deception and duplicity that trails the couple soon darkens Judge Rifkin's formerly impeccable reputation when Denise is murdered in Rifkin's apartment after she's released from prison. The high-profile murder trial, in which Antonelli defends Rifkin, tests the lawyer's considerable talents as well as his belief in the legal system, and the surprise ending packs a powerful punch. Although its plot is compelling, what distinguishes this novel from standard genre fare is the depth of the characterizations, from the thoughtful, Plato-quoting Judge Rifkin to Antonelli's win-at-all-costs mindset and the worldly musings of his African American legal rival and confidant, Howard Woolner. Buffa, a former Oregon criminal trial lawyer, has crafted a fast-moving, thoroughly gripping entertainment that has the moral and emotional authority of a literary novel.
Library Journal
Wonderfully performed by Buck Schirner, this brilliant mystery perfectly suits the insatiable appetite for legal thrillers. Defense attorney Joseph Antonelli appears to be invincible. Then one day Judge Rifkin asks Antonelli to defend Johnny Morel, con man and drug dealer, against charges of raping his 12-year-old stepdaughter, Michelle. Antonelli, who never confused the legal system with justice, makes quick work of the prosecutor's case and gets the guilty Morel off. But the problem is not over, and years later there's a murder. Suspense builds as the same principals reappear. The work is a gut-wrenching tour de force about justice, truth, the legal system, and life's basic values. It's tailor-made for lovers of the mystery thriller.James Dudley, Copiague, NY
Anthony Smith
The Defense is a nice book....Law genre fans should read it for a taste of something different. And people who aren't so big on law mysteries (which, according to Grisham sales figures, includes FOUR PEOPLE) might enjoy it as well, since the voice of Antonelli makes for a compelling character.
Over My Dead Body.com
Kirkus Reviews
Ham-fisted, corpse-clogged legal procedural from defense- lawyer/first-novelist Buffa. Joe Antonelli is just too good a lawyer to be true: He's won about every case he's ever taken, including those involving clients so obviously guilty that his mentor, Senior Circuit Judge Leopold Rifkin, compares him to Athenian pretty boy Alcibiades, the air-headed contemporary of Socrates with whom, Rifkin insists enigmatically, Antonelli shares an "erotic" persuasiveness. Instead of recommending that Rifkin double-check his Plato for this kinky misreading of Greek social ethics, Antonelli accepts Rifkin's challenge to defend Johnny Morel, an especially loathsome piece of human slime who's accused of raping his 12-year-old stepdaughter Michelle. Morel insists he's innocent, and, despite flunking a lie detector test, demands that Antonelli refuse a plea bargain and go to trial. While doing background work, Antonelli fends off the seductive advances of Michelle's drug-addled mother, Denise. Meanwhile, Denise's estranged lesbian lover, Myrna Albright ("Funny," she tells Antonelli, "you don't look like a court-appointed lawyer"), hints darkly that there's more to this case than he thinks. Soon enough Johnny is found dead, followed by Denise. Judge Rifkin, of all people, is accused, and picks Antonelli to defend him. As has become typical for the genre, Buffa has Antonelli cynically jigger the system to acquit a client with whom Antonelli's interests are conflicted, only to have Antonelli discover that someone has been manipulating him all along. Cool courtroom high jinks mired in forced plotting, clumsy dialogue, and the author's clear loathing of the legal trade.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449003992
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/18/1998
  • Series: Joseph Antonelli Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 4.15 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

D. W. Buffa received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in political science. For ten years he worked as a defense attorney in Oregon. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Defense is his first novel.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2002

    The 21st Century Author of Legal Thrillers.

    The Defense was a mind boggling, mind twirling, and mind numbing Legal Thriller. I have read books by John Grisham, Lisa Scottline, and David Baldacci who are great Authors and have written some excellent pieces of mystery literature. The reason why I thoroughly enjoyed this book, D W Buffa not only took the time to diagram and define the law in detail; in addition he captivated me from the beginning to the end. Most mystery books I read, half way through the book, I have a solid choice to who done it. However this book kept me thinking and guessing until the very end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2001

    Move over Grisham, there's a new Master of Legal Thriller in Town

    Buffa has exploded on to the legal thriller scene with a novel that is entertaining as it is educational. Joesph Antonelli is the lawyer we all dream of becoming and emulating. A true tour de force of criminal law and procedure together with great charaters and stories. The best debut ever!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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