Putnam, Jan 2001, 25.95, 416 pp.
The law firm of Madriani and Hinds of Coronado, California consists of two partners, Harry Hinds and Paul Madriani. They are an ethical pair who refuse to accept drug cases. At the coaxing of his trophy wife, Nick Rush, a criminal attorney at the legal giant Rocker, Dusha and DeWine, asks Paul to take on the case of Gerald Metz, a business man entangled with a grand jury probe. Nick explains he is unable to provide Metz with legal support because of a conflict of interest.
Paul has doubts but meets Metz. Paul quickly figures out that his potential client is lying to him and that he might be indicted for money laundering. After consulting with Harry, they agree they want no part of the case. Paul reluctantly tells Nick he won't represent the man. A few minutes later as Paul is walking away from the scene, someone kills Nick and Metz in a drive-by shooting. Though he knows he has no reason to, Paul feels guilty and decides to investigate Nick's death. He almost gets himself and Harry killed in the process.
Crime thriller fans will find Steve Martini's latest work exciting and so engrossing that it is impossible to put down until the last page is turned. Paul Madriani is the Perry Mason of the new millennium, an attorney with ethics who goes the extra mile for his client and will even work for free to see justice occur. THE ARRAIGNMENT is realistic and believable, yet so vivid a novel with strong believable characters that the story line would make an exhilarating movie.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner