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Legally Dead (Michael Venturi #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  399 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
U.S. Marshal Michael Venturi of the Witness Protection Program relocates a mobster, now a government witness, to a small rural town after creating a new identity for him. The man proves to be a monster unleashed on an unsuspecting community. The results are tragic. To make amends Venturi leaves the Marshals Service and assembles a team of close confidants to secretly creat ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Simon & Schuster (first published July 29th 2008)
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Oct 08, 2008 LJ rated it did not like it
LEGALLY DEAD (Susp-Michael Venturi-Florida-Cont) - Poor
Buchanan, Edna – Standalone
Simon & Schuster, 2008, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780743294775

First Sentence: She was all he desired but everything forbidden.

Former US Marshall Michael Venturi worked with the witness protection program. After being fired, he and a long-term friend, Danny, from military days decide to help innocent people—those whose lives have been ruined—disappear and start anew.

Someone breaks into Venturi’s house, steals his l
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I suppose this qualifies as brain candy, but what the heck. Edna Buchanan always tells a good story with neither too many nor too few details.
This one's about Michael Venturi, a former U.S. Marshall who unofficially goes into the business of helping good people disappear and convincingly faking their deaths. Someone starts finding and killing the people he has helped disappear and relocate. The answer to the mystery of who's doing it is a little lame, but the very ending to the story is just ri
May 06, 2013 Bonnie rated it liked it
Michael Venturi works for the Witness Protection Program in New York, but when he hears on the news that a mobster he had relocated to New Hampshire has killed two local girls, he is infuriated. He had realized the man was a pedophile, but the higher ups wanted him to testify against organized crime. Michael argues with his superiors and then takes vacation leave to Jersey City. Instead, he drives to New Hampshire and kills the mobster. He is blamed for his death and fired. He drives to Miami wh ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Legally Dead, by Edna Buchanan, B-plus, narrated byMark Deakens, Produced by Books on Tape, downloaded from

Michael Venturi was a U.S. Deputy Marshall assigned to the FBI Witness Protection program to create new profiles for people willing to testify to put criminals away. He became increasingly disillusioned as he saw these witnesses behaving in ways not much better than the people they were ratting out, but the end came when he realized that one of his witnesses, placed in an innoc
Jan 20, 2009 Laura rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 19, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, action
Non-series novel from the author of the Britt Montero, Miami crime reporter series.

Michael Venturi is fired from the US Marshals after a criminal he placed in WITSEC is exposed for killing two girls and committing an armored car heist. He moves to FL and with Force Recon buddy, Danny, winds up faking the death of an unjustly harassed man to let him start life over. Similar missions follow until his WITSEC placements and his new life people start getting killed.
Jacquelynn Fritz
Jan 19, 2013 Jacquelynn Fritz rated it really liked it
US Marshall Michael Venturi has placed a government witness in a small town when he learns that two young girls have been killed. He learns that the witness killed the girls and has him brought to justice. After this he leaves the Marshall service. He relocates to Florida and begins his own relocation program with the help of his friend Danny, his mother-in-law Vicki, and Keri an OB. The people he helps are legally dead but relocated to other countries. After he has relocated several people, usi ...more
Nov 22, 2014 Trish rated it liked it
This story was interesting. The ending has the potential to be a cliffhanger if the author wants to revisit this storyline. She may have already and I just haven't seen it yet. All in all I was surprised by the culprit but not the motivations. I'll likely read this author in the future.
Jul 23, 2015 Norma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was out of the norm from what I usually read, but I loved this story. Usually I can figure it out somewhere in the first chapter, but this one had me guessing until the reveal. I will be reading more from this author.
Nov 23, 2015 Jeanne rated it did not like it
I really enjoyed Buchanan's Britt Montero series. I thought it was well-written and interesting. This stand-alone is a far-cry from that. Michael Venturi, a disenchanted ex-WITSEC agent, begins a new career helping others fake their deaths and begin new lives. The book mostly reads like a series of short stories, and apparently faking death and getting new documentation and beginning a new life in a new country is easy-peasy. Lots of coincidences and lucky timing help, as does a best friend who ...more
Susan Kosel
Apr 15, 2016 Susan Kosel rated it liked it
Listened to this on book CDs. Love an interesting book in the car. Surprise ending.
Oct 13, 2008 Pam rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I've never read Buchanan before, but apparently people are fans of her series. THIS novel, however, is a "standalone." The main character is an agent who creates new lives for criminals via the Federal Witness Protection Program. A horrific event causes the agent to quit his job, relocate to Miami & reconnect with an old special ops buddy. Then the plot changes to what a character calls a "blend of Mission Impossible, CSI &Extreme Makeover." The book's theme of whether people in society ...more
Amy Sapp burr
May 19, 2015 Amy Sapp burr rated it liked it
It held my interest throughout the entire book. No complaints.
Sep 07, 2010 Marti rated it really liked it
This book was very interestingly crafted so that the main character, Michael Venturi, his buddy Danny Trado, his savvy ex mother in law, and finally Keri, a doctor make up a team that can provide a service for persons wanting to be legally dead with a new profile, perhaps in a foreign country. Michael had been a US Marshal in the WITSEC program, and his young pregnant wife had died in a ferry accident. There are any number of nice persons pursued by baddies, and really crummy characters. It is f ...more
Vannessagrace Vannessagrace
Michael Venturi, former U.S. Marshal, leaves the service after one of the monsters they’re protecting brutally rapes and kills eight years old girl, puts his experience to use by helping good people start over with new identities. He is successful for a while but his plan seems to foil when he accidentally lets a bad guy into his program. After a while Venturi is being hunted by the police, prosecutors, The U. S. Marshal Service, and, of course bad guys. The cat and mouse chase is interesting.
Aug 14, 2008 Carrie rated it really liked it
“In this stand alone novel by one of my favorite mystery authors Michael a U.S. Marshal with the witness protection program becomes disillusioned after several young girls are killed. He quits his job and moves to Florida looking for meaning and purpose. He finds it when he helps a deserving man flee his horrible life and start over. Now though Michael's witnesses are dying and someone is pointing the finger at him. Who hates him that much? This is a fast paced adventure with lots of action.”
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it liked it
I thougth this was a bit more far fetched than I usually like in a murder mystery, with a number of improbable events converging together and alot of deaths pile up along the way. i liked the chracters, and I would be happy to see them again (if that were indeed possible). It is also a cautionary tale about trust when you have money invovled with people--especially as we go down the financial crisis path that we appear to be solidely going down
Feb 22, 2009 Rebecca rated it liked it
This was good, I stayed up late reading, but just in case you're curious, my star rating is based on how well I remember the book a week or more after I read it. I read a lot that are gripping in the moment, but very forgetful, so they get less stars. I almost only rate books 5 stars if I think I'd buy them. A lot are great reads, but I wouldn't purchase to re-read, hence four stars even though I would recommend you read them.
Oct 06, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Excellent book! Engaging characters, mystery, intrigue. I couldn't put it down. This is the first book I have read by this author. I enjoyed her writing style - fast paced, just enough detail, but not overly so. This is the type of story that I really enjoy - characters who are given a chance to die and start with a new life! For fans of Thomas Perry and his Jane Whitefield series.
Aug 19, 2008 Peggy rated it really liked it
I loved this book! I have read all of Edna's other books and this is a stand alone. The main character works for the US Marshall's office in the Witness protection agency and for reason good and bad gets fired. He takes what he knows and uses it in the "public" field. It was very interesting and thought provoking and really hard to put down. I read it in a day!
Aug 31, 2012 Jose rated it it was amazing
This is a first in many ways for me. First time I have read a book by this author. Second it was a book I found in a discount store stuffed in a basket. It was easy to read and flowed well. The two main characters were energizing. This is the first that made my mouth drop with the ending. The only word to describe the ending is BAMM!
Vickie T
Nov 27, 2008 Vickie T rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Witness protection agency puts a child molester that it wants to testify in a trial against a mobster in a small town where 2 young girls end up missing. Michael Venturi takes care of the problem which sends his life in a different direction. A great read that kept me guessing until the very end.
Feb 17, 2009 Jenn added it
I read this book because Dr. Laura said it was good. It is. And it is cleverly written. However, if a lot of profuse swearing is offensive to you, you will not like this book. There are some pretty shady characters and Edna Buchanan has depicted them correctly - down to their choice of words.
Sep 05, 2015 Ray rated it liked it
First time reading a solo book by Edna Buchanan. Good story, and likable characters. The ending was both predictable and unpredictable. The very end, I had seen from many pages earlier. However what happened a little before the end took me by surprise. Good book overall.
Apr 03, 2009 Joyce rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Edna Buchanan's books. This one is about an ex- US Marshall who, with friends, develops his own version of the witness protection program for people who actually deserve it. The conclusion has a great twist and the ending is perfect for the story line!
Joe O'c
Aug 26, 2009 Joe O'c rated it liked it
Very Good; Marshal who gets tired of providing witness protection for bad guys, quits but then finds a new calling helping good people get a new start by faking their deaths and creating new identities for them - until someone starts finding and killing them.
Oct 21, 2008 Barb rated it really liked it
Whew - this book was edge-of-the-chair exhausting and I couldn't put it down. It reminded me of an Indiana Jones movie where you are beat just from the activity you're hearing about. Enjoyed the book; compelling to read; had the perfect ending.
Barbara Button
May 28, 2010 Barbara Button rated it liked it
I love how Edna can carry the action through multiple characters and not slow the pace or lose the story. I listen mostly to her on tape - she's not serious enough for me to actually take the time to read. It is pure entertainment.
Lee Ann
Aug 29, 2008 Lee Ann rated it it was amazing
Awesome Awesome Awesome

I thought it would be another Brett Montreno (sp) book so I was pleasantly surprised to see she introduced another character. Loved it!!! Hope see will write more about him.
Aug 31, 2008 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mary
I could not put this book down. It was very suspenseful and Buchanan is good as always! I picked it up at the library expecting a Britt Montero book, but this was just as good if not better.
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Edna Buchanan knew she wanted to be a writer since she was 4 years old. She moved to Florida where she got a job at a small newspaper. Ms. Buchanan became a reporter for the Miami Beach Daily Sun in the late 1960s.

In 1970, she was hired as a general assignment and police-beat reporter at the Miami Herald. In 1973, Ms. Buchanan became a police beat reporter, which coincided with the rise of Miami
More about Edna Buchanan...

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