In Her Defense : A Novel

 
9780060197544: In Her Defense : A Novel
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A lawyer with an appetite for risk. A gorgeous socialite accused of murder. It's the case of a lifetime--if only she were innocent.

Following in the blockbuster tradition of Scott Turow and Richard North Patterson comes Stephen Horn and In Her Defense, and intense, riveting debut thriller with a twist.

Frank O'Connell's need to live on the edge cost him his family, his home, and a partnership in his father-in-law's prestigious Washington firm. Now he combs the cell blocks for clients and wonders if he's sunk too low ever to come back. His ex-wife wants to see less of him, his therapist wants to see more, and his last link to professional survival just gave him an ultimatum.

Then into his office walks Ashley Bronson. The murder of a former cabinet official has just propelled her from the society column to the front page, and, inexplicably, she wants Frank to defend her. She hands him her case, followed by her confession and some damning physical evidence. Frank thinks his biggest challenge is her guilt. He's got a lot to learn.

Ashley's admission proves just another detail in a defense in which ethics are bent and morals compromised. As the trial date looms closer, the goverment's case seems insurmountable. A desperate Frank hits upon an inspired strategy--and unwittingly becomes a threat to people in high places when he unravels a tangled web of events that began a generation ago.

Their personal lives in tatters and confronted by forces they don't understand, besieged lawyer and client have only each other as the courtroom battle begins.

In this fast-paced legal thriller, former federal prosecutor Stephen Horn brings his knowledge of law and government to stunning life with this absorbing tale of love, betrayal, and murder that is sure to be one of the most entertaining and engrossing stories of the year.

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Review:

In Her Defense is a sharply funny and ironic debut legal thriller that obligingly serves up all the best elements of the genre: a seemingly unwinnable case, mysterious forces conspiring against the attorney and his client, and a tumblingly relentless pace. D.C. defense attorney Frank O'Connell isn't climbing the career ladder anymore--he's been to the top, looked around, and then jumped. Deeply unsatisfied with his comfortable life, he's abandoned a successful partnership with his powerful father-in-law, jettisoned his marriage, and is clinging to an uncertain existence funded by court appointments to represent indigent shoplifters and drug dealers: "I was in trouble and I knew it. I'd come to rely on little tasks and routines, like closing the sofa bed each morning and washing the dishes as soon as I ate--not to mark my progress but as hedges against a backslide into oblivion."

Enter Ashley Bronson, a beautiful and wealthy socialite who stands accused of murdering her father's best friend, Raymond Garvey. Ashley claims that Garvey drove her father to suicide but won't explain how or why. Frank is a pragmatist, keenly appreciative of life's myriad ironies: "I could probably design a trial strategy around her physical assets alone--get a jury of men, put her on the stand, and have her look 'em in the eye and talk. Christ, she could read the phone book and we'd get a deadlock. It was too bad I knew she was guilty." Ashley's admission of guilt and Frank's desperate attempt to create a trial strategy over, under, around, and through that admission make for a cleverly Machiavellian legal procedural. Add to this Frank's growing conviction that something isn't quite "clicking" in this seemingly open-and-shut case, and you've got a narrative that accelerates toward an unashamedly over-the-top denouement. In Her Defense is a welcome addition to a crowded genre--we hope that Frank O'Connell (and Stephen Horn) will be around for many more pitched legal battles. --Kelly Flynn

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9 1.5-hour cassettes

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Book Description Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2000. Soft cover. Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1st Edition. First Edition/First Printing. This is the softcover, Advance Reader's Edition in pictorial wraps, of the author's debut legal thriller, that was published in hardcover in May 2000. As new. Unread. From my smoke-free collection. Seller Inventory # 6717

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Book Description HarperCollins, New York, 2000. Original Wraps. Condition: Near Fine-. Special Advance Reading Copy. Beautiful Advance Reading Copy of Stephen Horn's debut novel In Her Defense. This copy is NEAR FINE- with slightly crumpled and straightened back top corner. In original publisher's wraps, this copy is nice, tight, bright, shiny, clean and unread. Great copy. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Advance Reading Copy (ARC). Seller Inventory # 001320

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