Body of a Crime Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Body of a Crime

Sean Barrett is an up-and-coming criminal defense attorney with an already “brilliant and ferocious” reputation in the courtroom. When a judge appoints a “no body” murder case to Sean (a case in which the alleged murder victim's body has not been found), Sean knows that if he were to win this case, it could seal his reputation as a great lawyer, as a “no body” murder case that goes to trial is rare. Sean sees a big hurdle, however, his boss Jonathan Spann is only concerned about the bottom line, and is not likely to let Sean take on a court-appointed case which doesn't pay much and which will take all of Sean's time. As Sean expected, Spann tells Sean that he cannot accept the case. At that time, Sean realizes how much the case means to him, as he walks out of the firm. Sean shows good will toward Spann and the firm, however, as he goes back the next day to brief the lawyer who will be taking on all the cases he had been working on.
Click here to see the rest of this review

Sean talks to Chad, the accused murderer, who is in jail. Chad tells Sean he was Robin's (the alleged murder victim) boyfriend in high school, and that he never stopped loving her. Sean is satisfied with Chad's story; however, after Chad's arraignment, Sean finds out Chad didn't tell him everything he knew: the day after Robin disappeared, Frank Johnson, an acquaintance of Chad, was found with Robin's car. The D.A. thinks Johnson could have only gotten the car through Chad, but Chad says he doesn't know how Johnson got the car. Sean doesn't believe Chad and is angry that Chad left this out of their initial talk.

Shortly after Sean begins working on the case, a man with a Jamaican accent calls and tells him to look in a certain city for Robin. Sean sends his investigator, an ex-detective, Craig MacDuff, to check this out, reasoning that even if he doesn't find Robin, he might be able to find witnesses there who can testify in court that they saw Robin recently. MacDuff doesn't find her, but the Jamaican man calls Sean again, and tells Sean another place where he can find Robin. Sean himself goes to the town the Jamaican man mentioned, and there he gets lucky. He shows a bartender Robin's photo, and the man is sure Robin was in his bar the night before. Then he tells Sean that he sees Robin in front of the hotel getting into a car. Sean follows the car and catches up with it, and is sure he sees Robin in the car. However, he only sees her face for a few seconds, and afterward he is not all that sure if he actually saw Robin, or just saw someone who looks like her.

Also, Carrie, Robin's best friend from high school, flirts with Sean. This is surprising because earlier, before he took on the case, she called Sean and told him she didn't think he should defend Chad. Sean only knows her through her father, and he doesn't even know her father that well. Carrie apologizes to Sean for being hostile before. She says she has realized she isn't sure Chad is guilty. Sean and Carrie start dating. Carrie is, incidentally, also a lawyer, and they inevitably start talking about the case. Sean enjoys spending time with Carrie; however, at the back of his mind he wonders why Carrie wants to spend time with him, when she could have just about any guy she wants. Sean also gets a call from Spann, his former boss, who offers Sean re-employment. Sean turns down the offer, but Spann then tells Sean that he can give him advice about the case. Sean wonders why Spann is being so nice to him, but at the same time, he knows Spann was a former criminal attorney with very good trial instincts, and Sean knows Spann could be a big help with advice.

Sean sees that this case will not be easy. Why does the Jamaican man keep calling him? Is the man working for the D.A., trying to slow down Sean's investigation? Or is Robin actually still alive, and he wants to make sure Sean knows it? Why is Spann, Sean's former employer, being so nice to him? Does Carrie really want to spend time with him, or is she just trying to get information from him about the case? If so, why does she want it? Did Chad kill Robin, or did someone else? If so, who? How did Johnson get ahold of Robin's car? Also, if Robin is still alive and free, why is she letting Chad take the rap for this?

The review of this Book prepared by Crystal

Chapter Analysis of Body of a Crime

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   skilled citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards lover Legal Thriller    -   Yes Legal Plotlets    -   finding out whether someone is really guilty Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   a lawyer creature Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California Water?    -   Yes Water:    -   pleasure/love boat    -   swimming on City?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   actual description of sex Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--swords/knives Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Body of a Crime

Michael C. Eberhardt Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian