For Ty Buchanan, defending a suspected drunk driver named Carl Richess seems routine enough. But when his client ends up dead, an apparent suicide, there's nothing routine about it. Because the cops suspect it's murder, and arrest Eric Richess, Carl's brother, for the crime. Now Ty, at the desperate urging of Eric's mother, agrees to defend him. But it won't be easy. Because there's DNA on the gun that matches Eric's, and a history of conflict between the brothers.
Then Ty, assisted by Sister Mary Veritas, begins to uncover tentacles of corruption that reach into the citadels of city power. But he's being watched. Because somewhere in the dark labyrinth of LA is someone who will do anything to keep from being found out, someone who believes that when warnings don't work, try fear.
About the Author
A former trial lawyer associated with one of L.A.'s top law firms and later working out of an independent office, James Scott Bell has written over 300 articles on trial law, as well as six books for trial lawyers. Now a prolific fiction writer, he applies his in-depth knowledge of the justice system to his legal thrillers. His Web site is www.jamesscottbell.com.
By Bell, James Scott
Center StreetCopyright © 2009 Bell, James Scott
All right reserved.
THE COPS NABBED Santa Claus at the corner of Hollywood and Gower. He was driving a silver Camaro and wearing a purple G-string and a red Santa hat. And nothing else on that warm December night.
According to his driver’s license his name was Carl Richess, a thirty-three-year-old from West Hollywood.
But he insisted he was the one, the only, Santa Claus. He said he could prove it, too. He pointed repeatedly to his hat.
The police officer who initiated the stop—for not wearing a seat belt—mentioned the Santa hat in his report, and the G-string. Also the open, nearly empty bottle of Jose Cuervo Gold on the seat next to the jolly elf.
After noting red eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of an alcoholic beverage, the officer ordered Richess out of his car for field sobriety tests.
Richess protested that he was late, that his reindeer needed to be fed. He said this even as he was failing the heel-to-toe and lateral gaze nystagmus tests.
He loudly screamed the same thing at Hollywood station, where they had him blow into the Intoximeter a couple of times. And again when they cuffed him to a metal rod on one of the wooden benches outside the holding tank. He was still muttering about reindeer when they booked him into the jail and stuck the six-foot-five, 280-pound would-be Kringle in a cell. They gave him some old clothes to cover himself.
They took his hat, let him keep the G-string.
Three others shared the community cell with St. Nick—two gangbangers and a Korean street performer who’d been fire-eating in front of the Pantages Theater. I found out later he set a well-dressed woman’s hair on fire, which is against several city ordinances.
About the time Father Christmas was being cuffed and stuffed—copspeak for arrested and jailed—I was nursing a Gandhi Latte at the Ultimate Sip. The Sip is an honest coffee establishment owned and operated by one Barton C. “Pick” McNitt, a former philosophy professor at Cal State Northridge who went crazy and now pushes caffeine and raises butterflies for funeral ceremonies.
He makes up drinks that have philosophical significance. He is serious about this. He came up with the Gandhi Latte because his style of foam, he believes, encourages nonviolence in those who drink it.
This has yet to be proven scientifically.
Pick also waxes loud on any subject he deems appropriate for the betterment, or castigation, of mankind. He does not believe in God. Father Robert Jackson, who everybody calls Father Bob, does. In the middle I sometimes sit, watching a philosophical Wimbledon.
But on this particular night there was no match, so I was wrestling with the Dialogues of Plato. That’s one thing to do if you’re trying to recalibrate your life and figure out what, if anything, it means. At that moment it was a tie between not much and something just out of reach. Which is why I was digging hard into the dialogue called Phaedrus.
And then I got a call from Father Bob.
“There’s a fellow in jail in Hollywood,” he said. “He needs a lawyer.”
“Anyone in jail in Hollywood needs a lawyer,” I said.
“I mean it. His mother called me, very upset.”
“What’s he in for?”
“He told his mother he sort of got arrested for drunk driving and telling the police he was Santa Claus.”
I cleared my throat. “My dear Father, it is illegal to drive drunk, but not to say you are Santa Claus.”
“He was dressed in a Santa hat and, I guess, a G-string. That’s what he told his mother, anyway.”
I put the Dialogues down on the table. “Are you sure it’s a lawyer he needs?”
“His mother says he’s been under a lot of strain lately.”
“Does he have money to pay a lawyer?”
“His mother does.”
“I’m reading Plato.”
“She was in tears.”
“I would be, too, if my son got busted in a G-string.”
“Ty, will you go?”
“To see Santa Claus?” I said. “By golly, who wouldn’t?”
Excerpted from Try Fear by Bell, James Scott Copyright © 2009 by Bell, James Scott. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow! This third book in the Ty Buchanan series does not disappoint. Bell's wit, humor, and skillful storytelling are an unbeatable combination. All three books keep you engaged and guessing. Bell masterfully develops a protagonist who lives in the real world, struggles with who he is and what he believes (or doesn't believe), and successfully balances the character study with fascinating courtroom drama and interesting tidbits of Los Angeles history. What a pleasure to read really good suspense, laced with lots of laughs and great romance, without the vulgarity of a James Patterson.
Tyler Buchanan is a trial lawyer, a man still recovering from the loss of his beloved finance and a literary philosopher. He is well rounded and did his time in corporate law to have seen enough that nothing should shock him. But yes when he is asked to bail out Santa Claus in a G-String on Christmas Eve this charts new territory even for him. His client Carl Richess is determined to beat the conviction and right after Ty accomplishes that his client is found dead as a result of an apparent suicide. But everything is not as it seems and before the body is laid to rest Carl's brother Eric is arrested for the murder and the plot not only thickens it almost coagulates. Pleading his innocence and begging for Ty to take his case the problems start to arise as Eric is vague on his whereabouts during the time of the murder, he lies about witnesses and back tracks on facts - all things a lawyer do not want to work with but move on with the case is what Ty decides to do. While trying to find the witness that could resolve all of Eric's issues should be uncomplicated it is not. Trying to find a high priced escort is not as easy as it appeared to be at first and then when she does magically show up to verify all of Eric's facts Ty is even more suspicious. Helping Ty out with all of this is his investigator and right hand person Sister Mary Veritas. How did Ty wind up with a Catholic nun as his sidekick and moral compass when he isn't even Catholic, doesn't believe in the church's basic doctrine and butts heads with the head nun Sr. Hildegarde - well that proves to be its on interesting story all on its own. This case tests his legal mettle and emotional compass where Sr. Mary is concerned when a gunshot meant for him finds her instead. They have always danced around feelings that were best left unexplored but when she is hurt there is nothing he won't due to solve the case and work on what is best for both of them. But are his feelings for Sr. Mary clouding his judgment and affecting his ability to work the case, absolutely not. He will deal with everything including an eager Assistant DA that would love to have a "mentor". When the case is concluded and everything falls into place Tyler has an epiphany that shakes every fiber of his being. How did he miss so much when he picked up everything or so he thought. Is it possible to be so right about the wrong man? This book is a pleasant surprise to me because it is not one I would have considered reading because it falls under the inspirational category. Well shame on me because this is a wonderful read with a fresh set of perspectives on how two completely different people can work together and pull off a wonderful story and maintain diversity. The religious aspects do not impeded the story but enhance it from start to finish and while some may think a Catholic nun could bring nothing to the table - guess what you are wrong she brings so much just by being herself. Buy the entire set of these books as one is as great as the other.
Who doesn't love a good whodunit? In James Scott Bell's newest novel, "Try Fear" (Book three of the Ty Buchanan Series); the story begins with a visit to Santa and ends with the smooth jazz of Eric Marienthal. James Scott Bell is to Legal Suspense as Raymond Chandler is to Private Eye dramas. You had better hold on to your hat though, this novel reads like a movie and you will find yourself waiting for a commercial break along the way, a fast paced legal thriller with memorable quick-wit dialogue that you will find yourself repeating after you've finished the book. The story opens as Ty Buchanan is called to advise and defend Carl Richess in a drunk driving charge. In court on this matter, Buchanan displays his ability in legal maneuvering. Later, Carl Richess is found dead and his brother Eric is charged with the murder, though Buchanan believes it to be suicide. Still feeling the affect of the loss of his fiancé' (Try Dying), Buchanan identifies with the mother of the two sons, Kate and agrees to defend Eric in the murder charge. The case is not an easy one. All the evidence points to his clients' guilt. Buchanan will need the help of his basketball playing investigator, Sister Mary Veritas, to discover the truth, defend his client and hopefully give the mother one of her sons back. Adding to the interesting plot are the location descriptions and the laugh out loud dialogue. Set in Los Angeles, there is no want for comic material and the author does a fine job of what one would find on the streets of LA. Portions of the dialogue exchanges could be used in a Comedy Central act with great success. There are interesting relationship twists, car chases, intrigue and corruption with a little romance also. This is a great read, one I would recommend to those who love a fast paced legal suspense.
This is the third Ty Buchanan book by James Scott Bell, an accomplished writer of fiction and a self-described "recovering lawyer." Frankly, each book in the series has been better than the last. There's no doubt in my mind that this one is his very best. Ty Buchanan, a lawyer who practices out of a coffee shop and lives in a trailer on the grounds of a Benedictine convent after being tried (and acquitted) for murder, is joined once more by his sidekick, basketball opponent, and investigator, Sister Mary Veritas. The characters are compelling, the plot is slick, and the courtroom scenes are some of the best I've seen anywhere. I'll pay this book my ultimate compliment: I read it in one sitting, because I couldn't put it down, and was sad when it ended because I wanted more.
I have become an ardent fan of his writing style and storylines.
Try Fear is about a series character in the Ty Buchanan books they are what James Scott Bell created. When readers enjoy your hero they want him to return. Fiction lovers like protagonists who change, develop and age, over time. The Try books are narrated in first person and evolve in Ty’s perspective. They are crime classics, with modern settings and scenarios. Ty with his heels up on his desk, puffs on a cigar, sips strong coffee and tells the story in his irony style. There’s tenacity and hope on every page. That’s one of the refreshing aspects in these novels. James Scott Bell’s Christian faith comes through authentically with his Catholic characters. In many ways Father Bob and Sister Mary live out their faith. This time, what at first seems like a routine DUI case spirals into something much deeper and deadly. Ty needs to keep his wits; but hard to do when he’s attracted to his investigator assistant,—who happens to be a nun. Sister Mary Veritas is dealing with a cyber-stalker that has her in his sights, and Ty is determined to bring down the stalker. Bell’s clipped dialogue is always crisp; now it’s sharper and wittier, noticeably in the lively chat between Ty and Sister Mary. With not much time to reflect and explore deeply into the characters, Bell throws several hallmark turns. Each successive book in Ty’s series has been better than the last. I enjoyed the suspense in this well done novel.