Due to his alcoholism, Detroit criminal judge Nelson Connor has hit bottom, but he quickly sobers up when two paroled prisoners frame him for murder and demand a hundred grand for his redemption, and decides that he is not about to let a couple of blackmailers ruin his life. Reprint.
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Cool, contrived, but smooth and by-the-numbers debut thriller pits a recovering alcoholic judge against a blackmailing ex-con. After three true-crime books (Forever and Five Days, 1992, etc.), Cauffiel applies Elmore Leonard's mano mano formula on Leonard's home turf, Detroit. Forty-ish Wayne County Circuit Judge Nelson Connor, unnerved by the despair that haunts his inner-city courtroom and the chilly silences of his marriage, knocks back a few too many at a local dive, where his Wayne State college chum Jimmy Osborne, a good boy gone sleazy, gives him a vial of cocaine to prop up his spirits. Showing less wisdom than one would think possible, Connor not only accepts the drug but writes Osborne a check for the merchandise and stupidly pockets the vial. A few hours later, cops haul a seriously drunken Connor out of his car for reckless driving. They find the vial in Connor's car but agree to let him off lightly. Then Connor refuses to disqualify himself as Osborne's sentencing judge, hoping that no one will find out that they're buddies. All this provides grist for the grinding stone of Lawrence Gary, a maliciously cunning ex-con photographer who gets his hands on Connor's check, tries to blackmail the judge, and maneuvers himself into a tawdry affair with Connor's wife Katherine. Embraced by the treacly sweet camaraderie of a local AA chapter, Connor tries to hold Gary off until Gary actually kidnaps Katherine, forcing a climax involving pistols and fisticuffs on the dramatically scenic Mackinaw Straits Bridge. Cauffiel's crooks are standard issue and his formulaic plot offers few surprises, but his disillusioned, morally conflicted judge carries the show as he struggles to stay on the wagon while fighting for the ideals he used to cherish. Derivative, gear-grindingly slow in places, but strongly evocative of the mean-spirited, morally bankrupt placelessness of Motor City and environs. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
True crime writer Cauffiel (Eye of the Beholder, LJ 7/94) enters the fictional territory of Elmore Leonard and Jack Higgins with his latest. Detroit judge Nelson Conner jeopardizes family and livelihood with high-risk actions: drinking to excess, occasional drug use, gambling, and helping Ozzie (a college pal and drug supplier) with a possessions charge. Ozzie owes Lawrence Gary, a newly freed convict who prefers planning elaborate crimes to legitimately employing his considerable photographic skills. Then Gary's slow-witted and violent partner, Torino Dentz, kills Ozzie, and they frame Connor. Discovering and dumping the body in a drugged and drunken daze, Connor is scared straight into a shaky recovery. While Gary tries to extort money from him, first with incriminating photographs and then by kidnapping his wife, Connor must remain sober. Moving via vignettes, the book reaches a denouement at the Labor Day Mackinaw Bridge walk. For all popular fiction collections, especially where Leonard et al. are in demand.?V. Louise Saylor, formerly with Eastern Washington Univ. Lib., Cheney
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Book Description St Martins Mass Market Paper, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312964978
Book Description St Martins Mass Market Paper. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0312964978 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1916748