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The #1 Lawyer

por James Patterson, Nancy Allen

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A small-town lawyer with a big-time reputation, Stafford Lee Penney, Mississippi's #1 lawyer who has never lost a case, when his wife is scandalously killed, spirals into a legal and personal legal streak, ruining his career, and making him the nation's #1 suspect.
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The #1 Lawyer: He’s America’s Best Lawyer Until He’s Its #1 Murder Suspect; James Patterson and Nancy Allen, authors; Kevin Stillwell, narrator.
Stafford Lee Penney is the lawyer extraordinaire of Biloxi, Mississippi. He had never lost a case. After winning a contested rape/murder case, his life turned chaotic. This case involved the defense of Dr. Daniel Caro, who was accused of murdering the woman, Aurora Gates, with whom he was having an affair. Daniel was a married man and Aurora Gates discovered she was pregnant.
The District Attorney, Henry Gordon-James, was her uncle. He was not happy when Stafford Lee convinced the jury to acquit Dr. Daniel Caro of the charges against him. The doctor was a well-known OB/GYN with a good medical reputation. His father, however, was a casino owner, reputed to be connected to the mob. Stafford Lee’s father, Charles Jackson Penney, was also a lawyer who had represented the notorious Hiram Karo in the past. Stafford Lee was estranged from his wife and his father.
After the case ended successfully, he went out drinking, something he had become prone to overdoing. He wondered who would retaliate against him for the verdict. He knew not everyone was happy.
While he was out partying, his wife, Carrie Ann, and her lover, a coach, were murdered. There was also a third murder victim who happened to be the father of Aurora Gates. Was it a murder/suicide? The police and the wagging tongues suspected Stafford Lee of the murder of his wife, Carrie Ann and the others also found dead. The theory stretched the reader’s credulity since it seemed obvious that it was more likely a murder/suicide, but was it? There is a lot of misdirection in this novel.
Eventually the case against Stafford Lee is dropped and it is ruled a murder suicide, but the trauma of his wife’s death drove him over the edge and he drank even more, becoming an alcoholic. Soon, he was a drunk, unable to practice law. HIs two closest friends, Mason Burnett and Jenny Glaser, staged an intervention, and they drove him to a rehab. He cleaned himself up, but his record was tarnished, along with his reputation. He took a job as a lifeguard while he tried to resume the practice of law, taking any cases he could get or were thrown his way. He hired Rue Holmes as an intern. She was related to Alicia Holmes, the woman he represented in a sexual harassment case, which was his first loss. He gave Rue free room and board at his house, so she could continue to go to law school while she worked for him. Coincidentally, Rue worked as a housekeeper, part-time to make ends meet, for the Caro family.
After Stafford Lee and Jenny received threatening phone calls telling them to stop investigating a case, Rue is suddenly accused of stealing a diamond necklace from Iris Caro, her employee. Of course, she denied it and Stafford Lee defended her, but then the charges exploded. Iris Caro is found murdered and both Rue Holmes and Stafford Lee are arrested for her murder. The evidence points to him, and to her as an accessory. Who is framing them? Why would anyone frame them? Is it Hiram Caro and his henchmen? Who else is angry with Stafford Lee? Are all the cold case murders that Jenny is investigating connected? Can they connect the dots and solve this crime?
Stafford Lee decides to defend himself and things get really sketchy. As the evidence piles up, it all points to Stafford being a monster, as he is called by the DA, the same DA he defeated in the original Dr. Caro case, the very DA who was the uncle of the murdered Aurora Gates. Does he bear a grudge against Stafford Lee? Should he have recused himself? While the story seems very contrived, at times, as the twists and turns distract the reader from what seems obvious, the conclusion is surprising and totally unexpected. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Jun 25, 2024 |
Oh how I love a fast paced and exciting legal thriller. If you’re like me, this one will fit the bill.

Set mainly in Biloxi, Mississippi, the novel features defense attorney Stafford Lee Penney, named the #1 lawyer in the small town because he has won every case he has tried. His biggest trial lately involved Dr. Daniel Caro — accused of rape and murder of a local woman. Daniel is protected with his father a casino owner and possibly mob connected, but Stafford Lee has to mitigate a lot of circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime. Just as he emerges victorious, Stafford Lee’s wife, Carrie Anne, is viciously shot to death in their home. Stafford Lee goes into a downward spiral and loses his reputation. As he claws his way back into the courtroom, he’s suddenly the top suspect in a new murder investigation. He’s got to find out who the real killer is and save himself this time.

I liked the main characters in the story, especially Stafford Lee and his private investigator, Jenny Glaser. Very much relished all the courtroom scenes and the details of trial preparation. The situations that Stafford Lee gets embroiled in are fraught with drama and he and Jenny engage in some complicated maneuvers to try to suss out the villain while being unfairly accused of crimes. I read along while listening to the audio which was narrated by Kevin Stillwell with a southern accent adding to my enjoyment of the story. I highly recommend the experience.

Thank you to the publisher for the e-book ARC to read, review, and recommend. ( )
  CelticLibrarian | Apr 25, 2024 |
This is an OK book. As far a legal thrillers go, I'll stick to John Grisham. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny, it just goes on and on and on. Not what I would call a thriller. ( )
  lewilliams | Apr 4, 2024 |
New from James Patterson and Nancy Allen - The #1 Lawyer.

Patterson and Allen take us down to Biloxi, Mississippi and to the law office of Stafford Lee Penney. Stafford Lee hasn't lost a case yet - hence the #1. But you know what they say - what goes up, has to come down....

I have always enjoyed legal thrillers. The machinations behind closed doors, the hunt for a clue, a witness, that 'thing' that will turn the tables and secure a favorable win. In this case Stafford Lee is a defense lawyer. I enjoy the theatrics of the courtroom, the keen eyes that 'read' the jurors and the abilty to turn tactics on the spot.

Patterson and Allen give us a great case in the first few chapters of the book. And it was everything I detailed above. There's a great surprise at the end of that case that caught me off guard. And the book took a different direction. One I was happy to follow! The direction the plot took kept me engaged.

Now, the characters. Stafford Lee is a good lead and embodies what you would expect in a lawyer as a lead. He thinks quick on his feet, but again - that up has to come down. I really liked Jenny, the firm's private eye. She's tough, thinks for herself and is driven.

The novel is told in short chapters and succinct sentences - classic Patterson style. Nancy Allen is a lawyer herself and the book benefits from that inside knowledge. Patters and Allen have co-written two previous legal tales together. I wonder if there will be a second book with Stafford Lee and company? I would happily pick it up. ( )
  Twink | Mar 18, 2024 |
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A small-town lawyer with a big-time reputation, Stafford Lee Penney, Mississippi's #1 lawyer who has never lost a case, when his wife is scandalously killed, spirals into a legal and personal legal streak, ruining his career, and making him the nation's #1 suspect.

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