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Prime Witness
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The third electrifiying legal thriller from Steve Martini - featuring hot-shot lawyer Paul Madriani; 'a real page turner' Telegraph

About the Author

Steve Martini, a former trial attorney, has worked as a journalist and capital correspondent in the California State House in Sacramento. He has been engaged in both public and private practice of law. He lives on the US West Coast.

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More courtroom drama, legal wrangling, and concentrated investigation arise from a series of double murders in a rural California college town. Special investigator Paul Madriani hustles to find the killer before he strikes a fourth time. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/93.

``The ugly marketplace of justice''--as one character terms the judicial process--is scrutinized with a riveting, you-are-there immediacy in the new legal procedural by the author of Compelling Evidence. When attorney Paul Madriani offers to assist a friend--the county's ailing district attorney, who subsequently dies--in investigating six brutal killings, he becomes entangled in a series of machinations that threaten his career and even his private life. Though Martini's plotting proves ingenious (the story is capped off by a nail-biting encounter in a darkened courtroom), the legal maneuvers themselves take center stage here. From the crime scene--the banks of California's Putah Creek--to a deceptively simple arrest to fascinating pre-trial scheming, Martini packs his novel with the quotidian details of the wheels of justice--and the numerous cogs therein. Madriani's first-person, present-tense narration invigorates the often intricate proceedings with first-rate wisecracks and one-liners. His character descriptions are by turns pithy and funny (frequently both): the prosecuting attorney ``looks like nothing so much as Robert Duvall's incarnation of the Great Santini''; the county's female victim-witness coordinator is ``the crime victim's answer to Don Corleone in drag . . . known as `Attila the Hen.' '' Prime is indeed the word for this involving read. (July)

YA-When Paul Madriani agrees to fill in temporarily as Special County Prosecutor, he has no idea that he will become involved in a serial murder case. The search for the ``Putah Creek Killer'' leads to the arrest of a college security guard, Andre Iganovich. Adrian Chambers, the defense counsel, has a shady professional past and a deep-seated dislike for Madriani, who was instrumental in the attorney's previous suspension from the bar association. As the evidence unfolds, discrepancies between the first two double murders and the third one become apparent, leading the prosecution to believe that a copy-cat murderer is on the loose. Threats against Madriani's family, legal posturing, the identification of a witness to the third set of murders, and a killer's desperation combine to produce a thrilling story.-Grace Baun, R.E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

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