Jamie Brock is an assistant DA with some very specific beliefs. She is known for her unwillingness to plea bargain - ever. Part of her passion lies in the fact that her mother was murdered in their home when she was 16, and this truly sets the tone for the course of her life. During the time period of this story, she is under extreme stress for a number of reasons - the execution of her mother's killer is looming, her father has had a stroke and is on life support, things at work go a tiny bit haywire. Additionally, (in a sub- yet related storyline), a well known local lawyer is arrested for allegedly killing his wife - and while in jail creates a serious stir with the gangs in the system, where no one will take a plea of any kind (and those that do, they or their loved ones are killed.) This greatly affects her workload, and she is most definitely in need of a break.
It was nice to catch up with Jamie Brock again (a character originally introduced in "False Witness", where she was a law student) - this time as a full fledged lawyer. This book focuses a great deal on ethics and behind the scenes of the justice system, as well as the death penalty. I love reading Randy Singer because he obviously knows a lot about the law, so the rules, etc. ring very true - but he also knows people. And these characters were interesting to me.
This was a very well done mystery, lots of detail but not ever overwhelming, and I enjoyed trying to figure out "who done it"....(and I was half right!) :)
Plea bargains may grease the rails of justice, but for Jamie Brock, prosecuting criminals is not about cutting deals. In her three years as an assistant DA, she has never plea-bargained a case and is convinced she never will. However, when her nemesis Caleb Tate, a powerful defense attorney, is indicted for murder, he comes up with a plan to bring down the entire justice system. Suddenly all the prisoners begin rejecting the deals. If they try to plea, then they are mysteriously killed. Prosecutors become helplessly overwhelmed, and criminals start to be let free on mere technicalities. To break the logjam and convict Caleb, Jamie may have to violate every principle that has guided her career. However, it seems she has little choice. To convict the devil, sometimes you have to a cut a deal with one of his demons.
Randy Singer delivers an absolutely powerful legal thriller in The Last Plea Bargain. The plot line flows quickly and is well thought out. There were several times throughout the novel where I thought I had figured out the perpetrator and those employed by him, but I was constantly stunned by yet another twist. I never figured out the method and the person behind the madness until the very last chapter. The central characters, particularly Jamie Brock and Mace James, were very realistic. Despite being Christian characters, they all had character flaws and sins they had to work through and repent from. The tone of The Last Plea Bargain was also well done. There were instances of melancholy, happiness, forgiveness, etc.
The Last Plea Bargain was a well crafted novel which brought up many important issues to consider about the legal system. The book made me truly consider the role of plea bargains in the legal system and whether they were truly brought justice to the victims and protected the rest of the community when the felons were being released through those plea bargains. The novel also brought up whether it is moral to have a death penalty, especially when the person has repented and may not have been guilty of the crime in the first place.
I truly enjoyed The Last Plea Bargain, and Randy Singer is one of my all time favorite authors. I highly recommend this novel to those who wish to be challenged in the morals of the legal system and who enjoy great legal mysteries.
I received this galley for free from Net Galley and Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.
Jamie Brock is a prosecutor who is known for never offering a plea bargain to any case that comes across her desk. Her resolve is tested though when a prominent defense attorney is charged with the murder of his wife and manages in the process to cause a massive log jam in the court dockets. Criminals start to run the judicial system by refusing plea bargains and swamping prosecuting attorneys desks. This leads to felons walking free on the streets. Faced with many tough decisions along the way, will Jamie be able to hold onto her convictions and protect the reputation of her father? Or will she set it all aside to convict a man who murdered his wife?
Randy Singer has written a masterful book that kept me hooked to the very last page. Jamie's struggles with her convictions and her ethics clashing with her desire for justice are gripping. The book takes so many twists and turns, it made it extremely hard to put down. Mr. Singer is a genius at the legal thriller. I sincerely hope to see the character of Jamie Brock again!!
I received a complimentary advanced reader copy from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for review purposes.
Justice. Grace. Which one is heavier? more important? easier? Which would you choose?
I guess that depends on what side of the issue you are on.
Jamie Brock is most definitely on the side of justice. The thought of exhibiting grace rarely seriously crosses her mind. And for good reason. Jamie has not been the recipient of much grace, it seems. The man who murdered her mother has still not received his just punishment, and so many others have abused the grace that others have exhibited. For her, it is a matter of integrity.
But everything changes as one case after another begins piling up and pieces to puzzles she didn't understand before start falling into place. So many questions come up, and she is unsure who she can trust and where she should turn. It could end up costing her her life, and the lives of those she loves. What will justice do for her then?
The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer is a legal thriller that forces you to think through these questions. I read The Justice Game by Singer last year and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to see this book scheduled to be released this year. Randy's books have a way of making you think and ask difficult questions. He will not put a proposition before you and expect you to agree with him, and I really appreciate that in an author. I also learn a lot when I read Singer's books. He is a good author/teacher, and that makes it fun to read books outside of my general area of understanding. Singer has given us a story that is fast-paced and exciting, but also includes a lot of thought-provoking questions. There are a lot of twists and turns to the story, so you are constantly guessing what is going to happen.
On a critique side, there were times when I felt that there were maybe too many twists, and I myself never knew who to root for or support. It was not enough to ruin the story, but at the end I was maybe a little disappointed with some of the resolved relationships and exposed secrets. If it were up to me, those things could have stayed secrets, so I could keep liking the characters! This is a novel, there ought to be some suspension of reality in the mind of the reader, so the critiques I have would not cause me to not recommend the book.
On the contrary, I would highly recommend this book. Sometimes it is hard to come across good, solid fiction written from a biblical worldview that is not offensive and yet is set in the real world and deals with real world issues. This is one of the few. You won't regret it, I promise!
FTC: I was given a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
For Assistant DA Jamie Brock protecting her clients means prosecuting criminals not offering them a deal. When she crosses path with an infamous defense attorney on trial for the murder of his wife, she finds herself between a rock and a hard place. As he attempts to bring the justice system to its knees by convincing prisoners to reject deals and demand speedy trials, Jamie must face a compromise that not only affects the people she's sworn to protect but also her own life as the execution of the man who murdered her mother may be in jeopardy.
Randy Singer's "The Last Plea Bargain" is a gripping story about the intricacies of the justice system and how far both defense attorneys and prosecutors will go for their clients and reputations. From the first page to the last, Singer never disappoints. As a veteran trial attorney, Singer has been called the Christian John Grisham. He was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I won a copy of this book from entering a blog contest. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."