L.A. Justice

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9780446523271: L.A. Justice

The murder of a wealthy L.A. woman finds homicide detective Virgil Sykes and Assistant D.A. Nikki Hill on the case, as they deal with the prime suspect, the dissolute son of one of the city's leading financiers.

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Review:

Chris Darden, better known for his courtroom performance in the O.J. Simpson trial than as a writer, makes his fiction debut with a suspense thriller whose two protagonists, L.A. prosecuting attorney Nikki Hill and her lover, police detective Virgil Sykes, seem like an idealized version of Darden and Marcia Clark. The good news is that Nikki and Virgil make a more interesting (and sexier) dream team in fiction than Darden and Clark did in real life. When Nikki is assigned to a high-profile case prosecuting Randy Bingham, the spaced-out son of a wealthy financier, for the murder of his girlfriend, Shelli Dietz, she and Virgil develop a special relationship with Shelli's orphaned son, a brilliant and precocious 10-year-old computer genius who's the chief witness against Bingham.

At the same time, an exceedingly ambitious woman who has her sights set on replacing Nikki's boss as district attorney is playing political games with a case involving Virgil's friend and partner, Dan McNeil, whose role in a shooting incident has already attracted the attention of Internal Affairs. When a prostitute who was a special friend of McNeil's is murdered, her pimp blames the death on him. When the pimp and his business partner are slain while McNeil is in jail, suspicion falls on Virgil. There are enough dirty cops and sleazy crooks to keep the action moving, plus a psychopath or two. The book benefits from the contributions of collaborator Lochte, a skilled plotter, but there are a lot of dead spots and awkward phrases, superficial characteristics, and contrived situations, which aren't typical of Lochte's own fiction. Draw your own conclusions about the guilty party. --Jane Adams

About the Author:

Christopher Darden was the assistant prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial. He is the bestselling author of In Contempt and coauthor of The Trials of Nikki Hill.

Dick Lochte is an acclaimed mystery writer, screenwriter, and critic for the L.A. Times. He has won the Nero Wolfe Award and been nominated for the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards.

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Dick Lochte, Christopher Darden
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