Things aren't as simple as they appear in this thrilling debut from Alafair Burke, the daughter of James Lee Burke, one of the most popular mystery writers of all time. When Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid begins work on what is seemingly a simple assault charge, the intrepid attorney uncovers a mess of illicit and dangerous activity, including a possible serial killer. Performed with an energetic authority by the veteran narrator Betty Bobbitt, Judgment Calls is a suspense-filled audiobook that will keep listeners' hands frozen above the pause button. This debut is sure to prove the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid walks into her office in Portland's Drug and Vice Division one morning to find the sergeant of the police bureau's vice unit waiting for her. A 13-year-old girl has been brutally attacked and left for dead on the city's outskirts. Given the lack of evidence, most lawyers would settle for an assault charge; Samantha, unnerved by the viciousness of the crime, decides to go for attempted murder. But as she prepares for the trial, she uncovers a dangerous trail leading to an earlier high-profile death penalty case, a prostitution ring of underage girls, and a possible serial killer.
In Samantha Kincaid, Alafair Burke has created a complex, appealing character. Seamlessly moving between courtroom and criminal investigation, Judgment Calls reveals not only an insider's knowledge of the justice system but a fresh new voice in the world of crime writing.
"Narrated in a crisp first person and injected with good-natured humor, the book is tightly plotted and detail laden." (Publishers Weekly)
"First-rate, suspenseful entertainment...we'll be hearing more from tough, tart, sexy, high-minded Samantha Kincaid." (Washington Post)
"Burke blends courtroom drama and criminal investigation with surprising aplomb, and she uses her Northwest setting to good advantage." (Booklist)
Well read! Betty Bobbitt has done an excellent job of reading an above average thriller. The protagonist is a lady DA who has problems that all authors seem to build around any character who is a lady DA, mainly complex relationship with a boyfriend and high principles in a notorious society. If anyone knows of a happily married DA please write a book on her, there seems to be a market for this starting with me.
The book is about a trial of a child rapist. But the child, a 13 year old, was soliciting sex and was high on drugs when raped. The defense lawyer is committed to giving a full fight and has a surprise plan to defend her client. While the character building is ordinary, the plot above average, the tension of a who did it good and the reading excellent, the entire package makes the book worth a book credit. Go ahead and download. No hidden disappointments in this one.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
The mispronunciations of local place names were incredibly jarring. I live in Portland where the story takes place. Did no one from Oregon review the audio book?
What did you like best about this story?
Learned a lot about how the local courts actually work. Very much liked the caring focus on the victims and the female perspective.
What three words best describe Betty Bobbitt’s performance?
Pretty darn good.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
There is a significant age difference between the characters and the narrator. I am really struggling to get into the story because she is so disconnected. I wish they had someone else reading it.
Like the story line - it was tight and believable. Would like to listen to the next book in series - but the narrator is the same (aaaarrgh!!!) Had a real problem with the narrator. There was an obvious 30-year age gap between narrator and main character. With the story being first person narrative - could not suspend belief and get into the story. Secondly - narrator’s Aussie-influenced accent for a Portland D.A. - seriously!?! Story made it worth the cringing.
What made the experience of listening to Judgment Calls the most enjoyable?
The fast pace of the story kept me waiting for more action. And the ending was not what I expected.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Judgment Calls?
The ending certainly wasn't what I was leaning towards and this was a surprise.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
pronounce the words as a northwesterner would
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Weird having an english accent on a character that is clearly not from England. Set in the northwest, that bothered me the most.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Frankly if the reader is not important then this might work.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
Am still trying to finish the book
What didn’t you like about Betty Bobbitt’s performance?
She doesn't sound right for the story. She sounds too old for the main character.
What character would you cut from Judgment Calls?
Any additional comments?
I am determined to complete the book because I want to move forward with her other books but must hear the first one.
Story is good but narrator is a little dry. It was a struggle to get into it.
As a fan of James Lee Burke, I am enjoying Alafair's Burke first novel. The narrator does a decent job then suddenly projects a harsh Brooklyn accent although the story is set in Oregon. Overall, I am pleased with Alafair's book. It is hard not to visualize her as the "Alafair" in the Dave Robicheaux series.
Don't compare Alifair with her father James Lee and you won't be disappointed. Let's be fair very few writers working today compare with James lee Burke so this isn't a criticism.
It's an assured thriller. Solid, believable, characters well developed and plot twists not telegraphed.
Maybe a little too solid and unexciting for the genre but I will certainly read more to see how she grows as a writer.
Only real criticism is the terrible narration. The woman has the most irritating voice and accent. No gravity, power or subtlety just a finger nails down the blackboard scratchy hesitant delivery.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Please don't take my star rating as a guide as I'm only on Chapter 3 of the book so have, as yet, no idea whether it's a good story or not. However I am reviewing the book in advance solely because of the reader. Betty Bobbitt has the absolutely perfect voice to read text books. If I didn't know better I'd swear I was listening to a forensic psychology text book. Her voice is dry and monotone and plainly boring. Also, I'm fairly - but only fairly - tempted to pop into the library to see if Alafair Burke actually wrote the laughing into the story or whether this was added by Betty. Not that it matters, I will listen for a while longer but cannot imagine being able to listen to the end - I've dozed off twice already and have had to rewind
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Alafair Burke out Cornwell's Patricia Cornwell. Both of her lead female characters (Samantha & Ellie) are well worth reading. Read them. Or better still, listen to them, they are narrated really well.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This was way too graphic for me. The narrator was good, but the frequent slip into Aussie accent detracted from an otherwise competent performance.
A writer I will continue to follow ,I enjoy the certainty and uncertainty of her main protagonists many thank for the good reads to come