"Trial By Fire," by D. W. Buffa, New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2005. ISBN 0-399-15281-4- HC, 293 pp. & 9.25" x 6.25".
The latest of 7 novels by experienced crime fiction author, DW Buffa, Esq., who writes with an assured, vigorous & winning style, expected qualities of a practicing successful courtroom defense attorney.
Buffa again makes use of San Francisco criminal defense lawyer & protagonist Joseph Antonelli, junior member of lawfirm run by Albert Craven, friend. Reluctantly steered by Craven, Antonelli joins as panel guest on the TV Bryan Allen Show along with Daphne McMillan, ADA; Julian Sinclair, Law Prof. UC; & Paula Constable, societal Trial Attorney -- for a lively discussion on hearsay evidence suggesting a husband had butchered his young wife -- a TV spectacle when even a trial date had not been set! Antonelli & Sinclair voice feverent oppostiion to the thrust of TV panel indictments & are dismayed at the jeopardizing portentous perils & media feeding-frenzy ejaculated by the Bryan Allen Show. As fate would have it, Daphne McMillan's butchered body in Julian Sinclair's home makes him a suspect & so he too is subjected to a TV Newsmedia Trial shaping public opinion on the Bryan Allen Show.
The story unfolds realistically - indeed, we are tacitly prompted to identify the machinations & frequenters with the Scott Peterson trial, Paula with Gloria Allred, Bryan with Larry King (an/or now Nancy), etc...perhaps.
The mockery of the plot, the devious stratagem of some principals & the inventive closure is affably engineered - & perhaps we are wont to a sequel...? The book is not only timely, but worse, its theme is too dreadfully true of our USA "Land of the Free". The courtroom drama is told shrewdly & the writing is succinct, no superflous words or embellishments. I was fortunate to have attended an author's book signing in Napa, CA in May '05 & Dudley Buffa discussed his Antonelli character, reading Chap. 2 so invitingly I purchased a copy of his book & look forward to reading the others.