Old City Hall: A Novel
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Old City Hall: A Novel (Detective Greene #1)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  805 ratings  ·  178 reviews
“Breathtaking . . . A tightly woven spiderweb of plot and a rich cast of characters make this a truly gripping read.” —Jeffery Deaver, author of The Bodies Left Behind
It should be an open–and–shut case. Canada’s leading radio–show host, Kevin Brace, has confessed to killing his young wife. He had come to the door of his luxury condominium with his hands covered in blood an...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Peter
Nice mystery set in Toronto in a good way that captures parts of the city in an amazing fashion...the identity of the suspected killer is a neat twist. Has all the earmarks of a potential series.
Kathleen Hagen
Old City Hall, by Robert Rotenberg, A. narrated by Paul Hecht, Produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from audible.com.

Rotenberg himself is a defense lawyer, and you can tell he knows his way around a courtroom. Here we have a man who is famous on the radio, known as Mr. Canada, everyone listens to his shows. When the man who delivers his newspaper is met by the man at his door with the sentence: “I killed her, I killed my wife,” it would seem to be a slam-dunk case. The defense lawyer and the a...more
Karen
Despite a rather shaky start in the legal profession, Robert Rotenberg's background in criminal law explains the perspective of his first novel OLD CITY HALL, most of the the book is being told from either the defence or the prosecution viewpoints.

OLD CITY HALL starts off in a decidedly disarming manner, with polite, proper and very Indian Mr Singh going about his daily job of distributing newspapers which always involves a chat with Mr Kevin in Suite 12A. On this particular morning the door is...more
Justin Melter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dee
I really liked this mystery. Set in Toronto, third- person narrator, jumping from a variety of characters in the story, starting with a minor character, Mr. Singh, a 74-yer-old Indian who now delivers papers. He is delivering papers in an upscale condo apartment building, when the owner of one of the two top=floor apts. tells him he has killed his wife.

The story then introduces Dectective Ari Greene, a Jewish man (somewhat mysterious to his team) who takes care of his father, a survivor of the H...more
Aaron
This book was recommended by the 2012 Book Lover's Page-A-Day Calendar. Entry was for June 30/July 1, 2012.

I gotta say that the inclusion of this novel on the Book Lover's Page-A-Day Calendar now makes recommendations by the calendar slightly suspect. I didn't hate this novel-- I did, after all, finish it-- but it didn't "wow" me in any way, shape, or form. It's your typical cookie-cutter quick pick off an airport gift shop book rack type mystery, and it isn't even a tremendously well-done one a...more
Amy Harris
A wonderfully well-written novel that transcends its genre.

the best thing I can say about this excellent book is that, as I neared the end, I read more and more slowly because I didn't want it to end.

Rotenberg's greatest strengths are the quality of his prose and his characterizations. The complicated humanity of his protagonists is vividly realized throughout the novel.

As a police procedural Old City Hall might be criticised for getting off to a bit of a slow start (the early chapters do dra...more
Lianne
I received a copy of this novel thanks to the GoodReads First Reads program. Old City Hall is an intriguing murder mystery with a few unexpected twists and turns that unfolds at a realistic pace. I enjoyed getting to know more about these characters, who they are and how they react in certain situations and how they handle the mystery before them. Perhaps my favourite part of the novel is how the author brings the city of Toronto to life--from the districts and structures to the multiculturalism...more
Vicki
"Old City Hall" is breathtakingly good. It's a crisply paced murder-mystery with a satisfying plot and sufficient twists to keep it addictive and infectious to the very end. The novel boasts an intriguing and consistently sympathetic cast of characters, the most colourful and endearing of which is the city of Toronto itself. Rotenberg rounds out the story with historical and cultural background on the city, and behind-the-scenes legal, law enforcement and incarceration insights that add interest...more
Kelli Stephenson
This book took me a minute to get into, it is one of those books where each chapter is about a new character so it takes a while to figure out who everyone is. Once I got past that, it was pretty darn good. The female lawyer had a potty mouth, but everyone else was pretty well-behaved. When the book began to unravel and the crime investigation and court case came together, it was really well done. I was thrown for a loop a few times, which I like!! BUT the last 5-6 chapters just got way to twist...more
Joe
Starts off strong, with lots of Canadian flavor. I liked the way the multiple characters' narratives weaved together in separate chapters, leading you through the plot from different directions. Unfortunately, some mystery conventions took over in the second half, and characters make "Ah ha!" discoveries without sharing them. It's not a puzzle that the reader can figure out, and so you just have to plug along and wait for the reveal, which felt strung out in this case.

Recommended for people who...more
Bernie Charbonneau
I live in the Toronto area so reading this book was fun in the sense that I recognized all of the landscapes described in the story. A murder mystery involving a radio personality who is charged with the murder of his live-in wife found dead in the family condo. Well written by this Toronto area lawyer and his first book to boot. Lots of good twists to this mystery just when you think you have it figured out. Kept me turning the pages and looking forward to his next mystery.
Kendra
This is a legal thriller that focuses on its setting, Toronto, with loving attention. The author clearly has a love for his home city. The story is told from multiple perspectives: from the Crown Attorney, to the policemen investigating, to the newspaper delivery person. Interestingly, the story is never told from the perspective of the victim or suspects, so we get a wholly police/legal view of the case.

I will be sure to pick up his next book, Guilty Plea.
Melanie
Things I liked about this book:

1. Tight plot, no meandering.
2. Well-drawn, memorable, realistic characters with real names.
3. Satisfying ending with no certain conclusion.

Things I didn't like:

1. Detached, almost clinical tone.
2. Too many main characters (I personally would have cut out the reporter as a main character because he didn't make much difference.)
3. The way the author cut important conversations off and never filled the reader in.
Anastacia
If I could, I would give this book 2.5 stars. It was interesting and engaging, but at the end I was so bothered by the complexity of the "whodunit" I can't say I truly liked it. If the author had kept the resolution a bit simpler, or outlined it more completely (by giving hints earlier, perhaps), I would have given it 4 stars. It could be a great book but for the ending - far too contrived for my taste.
Mike
As a native Torontonian, I wanted to like this book, but alas... The sub-sub-plot about the city's hockey team is pointless, as indeed is the title which has nothing to do with the story other than to advertise the book's Toronto-ness. The ending is not fulfilling and Rotenberg lets the protagonists figure out stuff which the reader cannot for lack of information. Very disappointing!
Jackie
Set in Tornonto, the book unfolds with an intersting cast of characters in what should be an open and shut case. The killer confessed but as the legal procedures take place many inconsistencies are revealed. Good writing but too much about the Toronto Maple Leafs! The ending was unsatisfying as it just became too convoluted. I would try this author again.
Stephanie
Oct 21, 2009 Stephanie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephanie by: Mom, Dad
I'd give this three and a half stars if I could; I can't quite justify a fourth star, but the strong Toronto location certainly helps nudge it in that direction.

I didn't really get a strong hold of any of the characters, especially the victim of the crime, but I liked the characters and the writing; I'd read more by this author.
Lauren
I liked this legal thriller - a genre I'm usually not interested in. The writer has a warm and engaging style and I found the characters very appealing.I hope to read about them again - the book has the feeling of being first in a series.
Elizabeth
Very well written first novel. The author spins out bits and pieces of information, a little at a time. The setting is Toronto, and the characters reflect the influx of people from many parts of the world. The author knows hockey, too.
Al
Extremely well written. One of the best written that I've read recently. Good story with a decent plot.

I learned about the city of Toronto and the Canadian justice and criminal sustems.

I look forward for other books by the author.
Jonathan
Nice descriptions of life in Toronto, although there were many characters and the basic plot was a little unbelievable--the client who won't talk to his defense lawyer--and the twist was telegraphed early. Still, it was a fun read.
Margaret
Well-written legal thriller set in Toronto. This is a first novel, so hopefully we can look forward to more from this author, a criminal lawyer who lives in Toronto and knows whereof he writes.
Lynn Bornath
Old City Hall had some really nice twists and I was often surprised. Read the full review.
Heather
entertaining mystery set in Toronto. Sometimes its hard to keep all the characters straight and some of the characters seem slightly too earnest (but then again, it is Toronto ;-)
Penny
I like to read books set in Toronto and this one really brings the city alive. It's an entertaining courtroom drama/mystery with believable characters, a good read.
Lynn Kearney
Nice to have a courtroom thriller (sort of) set in Toronto. A few too many twists, but quite readable and fun sorting out thinly-disguised Toronto personalities.
Nick Brett
Set in Toronto this is a well written detective story with properly developed characters. When a famous radio show host confesses to murdering his wife it all seems very clean cut. Except he refuses to speak and the story does not quite stack up.
The author has a range of characters here and uses them well, they have distinct personalities and it is easy to engage with them. Toronto is brought to life and you do get sucked in as the plot develops. It works well right up until the conclusion where...more
Sheila
Loved the setting (Toronto). Loved the characters and I hope there is series in the offing!
Heidi
This mystery was just ok. Wasn't the page-turner I was looking for.
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After graduating from law school in Toronto, Robert Rotenberg became the managing editor of Passion, the English-speaking magazine of Paris. He then returned to publish and edit his own magazine, T.O. The Magazine of Toronto.Eighteen years ago he opened his own law practice and is today one of Toronto’s top criminal lawyers, defending, as he likes to say “everything from murder to shoplifting.”Rot...more
More about Robert Rotenberg...
The Guilty Plea (Detective Greene, #2) Stray Bullets (Detective Greene, #3) Stranglehold (Detective Greene, #4) The Art and Craft of College Teaching: A GUIDE FOR NEW PROFESSORS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS The Guilty Plea, eBook Sampler

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