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Ellis, David

329 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0399149791 / ISBN 13: 9780399149795
Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 2003
From Cindamar Books LLC (Newark, OH, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

388 pgs. Dimensions: 9 1/4 x 6 1/4. Very Good+ in Fine dust jacket in Brodart cover. Remainder mark. Signed by author on title page. Number line to "1." Past mistakes return to haunt a lawyer involved in big city politics. Bookseller Inventory # ELLILIFESHJ1S

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardback

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Line of Vision, David Ellis's debut, garnered resounding praise. "Expertly written [and] intricately plotted," hailed the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "A surprisingly fresh take on the legal thriller" (San Francisco Chronicle), it inspired words like "seductive" (BookPage), "spellbinding" (Publishers Weekly), and "stylish" (Kirkus Reviews).

In Life Sentence, Ellis brings us a second legal thriller, again evocatively set in an unnamed Chicago, in a Byzantine world of big-city politics full of payback and promise, ambition and disgrace. Jon Soliday is legal counsel to a powerful politician-also his childhood best friend-who is running for governor. The two have shared political success and undying loyalty. They also share a dark secret from the summer of 1979: a party that resulted in the death of a teenage girl. Soliday was implicated but, through his friend's political connections, escaped legal trouble.

Soliday remembers little from that night, but carries an uncertain guilt he can't shake. Now, as the players from 1979 fall prey to an unknown killer, Soliday is himself accused of murder. And as the puzzle unfolds, the people he most suspects are those he has entrusted with his defense-his ambitious defense attorney and his oldest friend.

A man's past, both what he remembers and what he fears, has never felt so crushing-and may well leave him without a future.


An innocent man falsely accused of murder is a staple of suspense fiction. In Life Sentence, David Ellis provides a briefcase-full of fresh variations on this familiar theme, crafting a tale that delivers many delights and only a few disappointments. Like his first book, the Edgar-winning Line of Vision, this is a legal thriller, but the setting is refreshingly unusual: the narrator, Jon Soliday, is the chief legal aide to a powerful state senator in an unnamed city that's obviously Chicago. So there's plenty of bare-knuckle political intrigue even before Jon finds himself the main suspect in a murder.

Ellis's prose is sharp, clear, and intelligent, and his cast of characters is vividly varied. The complex plot setup is occasionally clumsy, with loose ends left lying around in the open for too long. But by the end, Ellis has gathered them all in masterfully, not once but several times, as we see the key facts of the case--several murders, a cryptic blackmail note, a long-ago party that ended in tragedy--through completely different lenses, each creating a fresh perspective that points to a completely different culprit. Right up to its socko surprise finish, Life Sentence is an intellectually and emotionally satisfying thrill ride from a promising young writer. --Nicholas H. Allison

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