Old City Hall: A Novel

Old City Hall: A Novel

by Robert Rotenberg
4.5 10

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Overview

Old City Hall: A Novel by Robert Rotenberg

"Breathtaking . . . A tightly woven spiderweb of plot and a rich cast of characters make this a truly gripping read." —Jeffery Deaver, author of The Bodies Left Behind

It should be an open–and–shut case. Canada's leading radio–show host, Kevin Brace, has confessed to killing his young wife. He had come to the door of his luxury condominium with his hands covered in blood and told the newspaper deliveryman: "I killed her." His wife's body lay in the bathtub of their suite, fatal knife wound just below the sternum.

Now all that should remain is legal procedure: document the crime scene, prosecute the case, and be done with it. The trouble is, Brace refuses to talk to anyone—including his own lawyer—after muttering those incriminating words. With the discovery that the victim was actually a self-destructive alcoholic, the appearance of strange fingerprints at the crime scene, and a revealing courtroom cross-examination, the seemingly simple case begins to take on all the complexities of a hotly–contested murder trial.

In the tradition of defense lawyers–turned–authors such as Scott Turow and John Grisham, Toronto-based defense counsel Robert Rotenberg delivers a debut legal thriller rich with his forensic skill. Firmly rooted in Toronto, from the ancient Don Jail to the sterile morgue and the shadowy corridors of the historic courthouse, Old City Hall takes the reader inside clattering Italian restaurants and late-night greasy spoons—and outside, to open-air skating rinks and parade-filled streets. Rotenberg leads us on a fascinating tour of a city as exciting and vital as the motley ensemble populating his story: there's Awotwe Amankwah, the only black reporter covering the crime; Judge Johnathan Summers, an old navy captain who runs his courtroom like he's still standing astride the foredeck; Edna Wingate, an eighty-three year old British war bride who just loves hot yoga; and Daniel Kennicott, a former big-firm lawyer who became a cop after his brother was murdered and the investigation hit a dead end.

Douglas Preston rejoices that Rotenberg's Toronto settings "make this most multicultural city in North America come alive." Elmore Leonard has Florida; John Lescroart, San Francisco; Robert B. Parker, Boston; Scott Turow, Chicago; George Pelecanos, D.C. And now, with Old City Hall, Rotenberg offers us a page-turning legal thriller set in a diverse and surprising Toronto filled with unexpected characters and plot twists that keep you guessing until the very end.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429957809
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 462,182
File size: 477 KB

About the Author

Robert Rotenberg is one of Toronto's top lawyers, defending, as he likes to say, "everything from murder to shoplifting." He lives in Toronto with his wife, a television producer at CBC News; their three children; and their little dog, Fudge.


Robert Rotenberg is the author of Old City Hall (Sarah Crichton Books, 2009). He is also one of Toronto’s top lawyers, defending, as he likes to say, “everything from murder to shoplifting.” He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

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Old City Hall 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
macabr More than 1 year ago
Each morning, Gurdial Singh, formerly the chief engineer for Indian Railways and approaching his 74th birthday, delivers newspapers to the condominiums at the luxury Market Place Towers in Toronto. He begins at exactly 5:05 am and exactly 25 minutes later, Mr Singh reaches the 12th floor apartment of Kevin Brace, the most famous radio host in Canada. Mr. Kevin would be waiting at the half-opened door with a cigarette in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. Their ritual conversation never varied. Mr. Kevin would say, "Good morning, Mr. Singh" and Mr. Singh would reply, "Good morning, Mr. Kevin. And how is your beautiful wife?" Then Mr. Kevin would say, "More beautiful than ever, Mr. Singh." Their routine never changed and each looked forward to their few minutes of conversation about gardening or other mundane matters until the morning in December when Mr. Singh arrived at the apartment and Mr. Kevin was not at the door. It was half way open but there was no sign of anyone until Mr. Kevin appeared, without cigarette and tea. Mr. Kevin said nothing until he whispered, "Mr. Singh, I killed her." Thus begins OLD CITY HALL, the first of what I hope will be a series by Robert Rotenberg. Kevin Brace has the most recognized voice in Canada but after the whispered confession to Mr. Singh, he refuses to speak another word, not even to his attorney. There are great characters in this story. The first officer to arrive at the scene, Daniel Kennicot, joined the police after the unsolved murder of his brother. Kennicot had been a member of a prestigious law firm but felt compelled to try to find the killer by working in the police department. Detective Ari Greene, the chief investigator, realizes that Kennicot will be invaluable to the investigation of what will be a very high profile case. Albert Fernandez, a young prosecutor, is next in line for a homicide case, his first, and he has no idea who Kevin Brace is. Nancy Parrish is a solo practioner, trying to get her law practice off the ground. When she receives a call from Detective Greene telling her that Kevin Brace has indicated that she is his attorney, she is definitely puzzled. She had met Brace at a Christmas party and had done a short interview on his show, but she knew she was not in that class of attorneys who would eagerly jump in to defend a man like Kevin Brace. Her puzzlement deepens when her client tells her that he will not speak to her or to anyone else, that he will only communicate with her in writing, and that she must never mention to anyone that he is silent. Once started, I was compelled to finish at one go but I hated to see the story end.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
It's a good story, but the author goes on an on, throwing everything into it but the kitchen sink. It's like he had all of these ideas, so he had to use them. A 50 page edit would have made the story much sharper.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg is an impressive first novel. His in-depth descriptions of Toronto, City Hall and the people are first-rate. The plot deals with the murder of a radio-show host's wife and his confession. He then refuses to speak another word after the confession. This makes for an intriguing interaction between client and attorney, to say the least. The story is well written and holds the reader's attention with surprises and enough action to not slow down the story.
whoizme88 More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book. This book was given to me by goodreads and I had not heard of the author so I picked it up and began to read. The plot is wonderful, many themes going at one time, but not so many that you lose track of what is happening. You get to know the characters well and enjoy them and their personalities which are all different. Rotenberg has written a book that will be of interest to any mystery reader. There are many twists to the plot which keep you hopping and wondering how it will all finish. An excellent and enjoyable read. J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There really isn't any more to it than that.
NickyCaffey More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed Robert Rotenberg's debut. The story is gripping and interesting to follow. I couldn't put this book down.
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