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Death Qualified (Barbara Holloway #1)
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Death Qualified (Barbara Holloway #1)

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3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,794 Ratings  ·  212 Reviews
Barbara had given up the law five years before, but she's still "death qualified," still able to defend clients in Oregon who face the death penalty if convicted. And now her lawyer father needs her back in the arena to defend Nell Kendricks, who's been indicted for the murder of her estranged husband, Lucas Kendricks.
But did she do it? After not seeing him for seven years
...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 25th 2002 by Mira Books (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Cherie
Mar 15, 2016 Cherie rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, read-audio
A new series for me.

I was glued to the edge of my chair as the story and the unfolding events take place in a small town in the cascades in Oregon. Barbara Holloway, estranged from her father for 5 years, comes home to help him and take over the defense of a young woman in a murder case. A small cast of quirky characters and a strange group of scientists and a mental health professional are involved too. The writing is haunting and beautiful but the story regarding the "Chaos" may have been ove
...more
Yvonne Mendez
Jul 18, 2011 Yvonne Mendez rated it really liked it
This is the first book in the Barbara Holloway series and it had a little bit of everything. The mystery itself was very good and the culprit nobody I guessed. The court room drama was very good, I liked the interaction and the fact you already know the accused is innocent but looks guilty as hell, so you have no clue who will win. Then there's the whole sci-fi thing with chaos and math and weird psychology that kinda went over my head, and finally the whole part about Barbara hating the legal s ...more
Donna
Jan 21, 2010 Donna rated it really liked it
I enjoy Kate Wilhelm's writing. Over 20 years ago I read "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang," a sci-fi book and it became one of my favorites. "Death Qualified" is a legal/courtroom drama, but Wilhelm still grapples with many of the same ideas - though perhaps more subtly - as those in Sweet Birds. The characters have depth, the story is well thought out, and she gives you things to think about - individuality/chaos vs. conformity/order, etc. My one complaint would be that she banged the nail a fe ...more
Lesley~aka Ella's Gran
Mystery, thriller, courtroom drama, and a suggestion of sci-fi make up a story that's a little slow to get going, has red herrings galore right to the last chapter when it finishes with a twist.
Maggie K
Dec 17, 2013 Maggie K rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
meh.
It has a really slow and whiny start where this lawyer is so sick of the system that she gets a job in retail. that didn't have much to do with anything. She goes to visit her lawyer dad, who likes to cook constantly. He cooks so much, or else is taking her out to eat so often, that this should be about all the weight they're gaining. They also ride around in cars not talking a lot.

yeah, meh

Later, this is about how the lady lawyer who discovers the true killer while defending a women charge
...more
Kristen
Sep 04, 2008 Kristen rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2008
I am listening to this book on CD and it's not setting my hair on fire so far. I'm giving it a little while longer, but if something doesn't HAPPEN pretty soon, I'm going to abandon it. What a slow start, and what an unlikable character to start out with.... slooooowly.
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Man, I am really struggling with this audiobook. If it doesn't get to the legal stuff pretty soon, I'm finished with it.
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This turned out to be one of those books I simply couldn't finish. I had to force myself to liste
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Lindalee
Jan 12, 2010 Lindalee rated it it was ok
Barbara is an attorney who doesn't want to practice anymore. She finds herself representing a young mother who is charged with murdering her husband. Barbara is "death qualified" because she is qualified to represent someone who might get the death penalty.

Where has the husband been for 7 years before suddenly showing up in the woods near home? This is a complicated plot featuring small-town life, university research, and the legal process. It describes in detail the thoughts and feelings of th
...more
Petula Darling
Nov 10, 2010 Petula Darling rated it liked it
Shelves: series
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aerykah
May 23, 2017 Aerykah rated it did not like it
I do *not* recommend this book. I didn't finish it because there is quite a bit of bad language-- not just "mild"-- and some non-explicit sex scenes. And there may be more than that past where I stopped reading.
Morgan Dhu
Jan 06, 2016 Morgan Dhu rated it liked it
When I was younger, I enjoyed Kate Wilhelm's science fiction writing - indeed, I've been collecting ebooks of those classics that are still available with an eye toward rereading them. But I had never explored her other genre writing.

That has now changed. I have read Death Qualified, the first of her mystery/courtroom drama series of novels featuring lawyer Barbara Holloway, and found it to be quite an enjoyable read.

At the outset of the novel, Holloway has been away from her home town of Euge
...more
Elizabeth
Sep 17, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: legal-thriller, audio
I've been reading the Barbara Holloway series for a few years now. I don't remember which I read first. I started in the middle somewhere. I probably started with one that audible had on sale. I really liked it. While I didn't have the big introduction to the characters, it was enough to go on and I really liked the series.

"Death Qualified" is the first of the series. I finally put myself on the list at Overdrive to read it. As I read it, I asked myself if I would have kept up with the series if
...more
Carolyn
Jun 18, 2012 Carolyn rated it really liked it
I was familiar with Kate Wilhelm from her science fiction but wasn't aware of this mystery series until recently when I was looking for a quick-read, MP3 audiobook to borrow from eNYPL. I enjoyed the fast pace and interesting characters of this first in the series and will probably listen to more. I guess this is a cozy mystery along the same lines as JA Jance and Margaret Coel. Barbara Holloway is a 40-something attorney who has been purposely avoiding the political games of legal practice for ...more
Laurie
Dec 31, 2015 Laurie rated it liked it
I started the first book before I listened to this one. I was surprised that some reviewers thought the audiobook was a waste of time, but then I have been listening to it while I sew and I do get into a kind of cocoon. After listening to almost two Wilhelm novels is what seems to me to be a more realistic take on the practice of law. Cases don't usually come together with big break-thrus, but instead are a put together bit-by-bit. Testimony is often wrenchingly slow. That was true here, but it ...more
Shawna Hansen
Jun 15, 2012 Shawna Hansen rated it it was amazing
My favorite line is when Barbara's father tells her you solved a murder, but not the one you're working on! This was an all-around fantastic read. I love the down-to-earth characters and the intensity of the legal battles. Barbara's father also tells her slow down, you're working 5 jobs - not to mention defense attorney. With the help of her new boyfriend, Mike and her father, Barbara solves the mystery of two murders - the supposed victim of Lucas Kendriks and the murder of Lucas Kendricks. The ...more
Lois
Nov 24, 2010 Lois rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gerald Curtis
Jul 26, 2013 Gerald Curtis rated it it was ok
This was my third book in the Barbara Holloway lawyer and courtroom drama series by Kate Wilhelm.

I loved the first two books I read and they filled the hole left by having no more Grisham books to read.

But this book (her first in the series) was a huge disappointment. Had it been my first read, I would not have bothered with any more.

So what was wrong with it? The plot was good but way overly expanded and unneedfully complicated by side trips. She went in so many directions that the actual story
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John
I read this awhile ago. I like the Barbara Holloway series.

I have so many good things to say about this novel. First, the sub-title, A Mystery Of Chaos, which Kate Wilhelm brilliantly uses in crafting her story. If you aren't aware of Chaos Law, you should research it. Second, she is a brilliant story-teller who combines words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and chapters bringing a suspenseful tale to the reader. Third, she created a powerful woman protagonist on Barbara Holloway (I've been rea
...more
Jane
Jun 21, 2010 Jane rated it liked it
I'm not a big "who dun it" fan, but this book was well written, had a great plot, and a terrific twist at the end. The biggest treat was that the book took place between Sisters, Oregon, and Eugene, Oregon, and I could visualize the exact places the author discribed. I would have given more stars to the rating, but I felt a couple of the characters were weak would have benefited from another editing.

Merged review:

This is a great "who done it". One of the best parts is the setting; our very own M
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Melissa Armato
Aug 27, 2011 Melissa Armato rated it really liked it
This book was a little slow to start but I stuck to it and I am glad I did. Around the middle of the book I found it hard to put it down.
Barbara Holloway is a lawyer (same as her father) and is trying to free herself from her chosen profession when a call from home tracks her to her fathers town to help defend a woman that could have murdered her ex husband. There are many twists and turns in the book that keep you guessing.
I love that there are pretty much two different types of stories goi
...more
Judy
Jan 02, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
Well, until I got to the end of the book I thought it was great. I liked (or at least they were real) the characters. And Wilhelm writes very well and weaves a good mystery. The courtroom scenes were good, and I thought the love/hate relationship between Barbara Holloway and her father adds another dimension to the book. What I didn't know before I read it is that Wilhelm writes both sci-fi and mystery. She combines the genres in this book with the mathematics and chaos theory. I didn't care for ...more
BeParticular
Oct 10, 2016 BeParticular rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the father/daughter relationship, the detailed sense of place, and the introduction to chaos theory. The courtroom scenes and background information on legal machinations were also well done. The mystical aspect was just okay (and I hope loose ends are tied up in future installments). Most of the secondary characters were thinly drawn and the murder was almost superfluous. Plus, as is far too often the case, the reason for murder was basically that the killer was unhinged. Lazy writing ...more
Stacielynn
This audio book was available to download so I did. I knew nothing about the title so was pretty open-minded. I was pretty pleased with the story. In general I enjoyed the many twists and turns the author took. I liked the characters and the Oregon setting. SPOILER: The character of Mike was very suspicious to me and I was always expecting him to betray his dark intentions. Sometimes the characters' motivations were a little fuzzy and the math/science thing made little sense, but that's been tru ...more
Alex
May 22, 2010 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, procedural
Although in this book we get to know a more self-doubting Barbara, it is not my favourite among the ones I read in the serie. There is this touch of supernatural that Kate Wilhelm seems to affectionate, as I have seen with the Dark Door, but for me, her mystery serie really doesn't need it and i prefer the pure mystery, and especially the procedural part, once the trial begins. That for me is her forte.
Megan
Jun 15, 2014 Megan rated it it was ok
This book starts out as a decently entertaining murder mystery. Then it kind of morphs into a mystery/sci-fi blend, and I wasn't really buying the sci fi parts. Also, I got bored with the excessive introspection. Wilhelm is supposed to be an excellent sci-fi author and I'm willing to give some of her other stuff a shot. But this particular book didn't really do it for me.
David_lowder
Feb 12, 2013 David_lowder rated it it was ok
Verbosity is inversely related to significance. Frustrated.
Elaine H
Oct 26, 2014 Elaine H rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Holloway is too crabby.
Jill
Jun 11, 2014 Jill rated it liked it
I like the Barbara Holloway books, but this first story is kind of disjointed and hard to follow, and not all of the threads that were brought up were resolved
Kate
Jan 14, 2010 Kate rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish it - a rare event for me.
Barbara Schultz
3.7 Mystery/Psychological thrillers are my "go to" books. But I also like good courtroom drama! I am new to Kate Wilhelm's novels ~ this is only #4 but I have become a fan. I especially like Barbara Holloway ~ I enjoyed the banter between Barbara and her dad. Although I am NOT a fan of nasty language. Have to say it totally fit Frank! But so much ...Barbara . I really enjoy a good audio ~ Anna Fields did a great job performing these characters.

Aiesha
Jun 20, 2017 Aiesha rated it it was ok
This book started off excellent but then I started to not like it as much. I found it to be way too wordy... it was longer than it needed to be. I started to lose track of who was who after a while but the story did keep me interested. In the end, it was an decent listen.
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Kate Wilhelm’s first short story, “The Pint-Sized Genie” was published in Fantastic Stories in 1956. Her first novel, MORE BITTER THAN DEATH, a mystery, was published in 1963. Over the span of her career, her writing has crossed over the genres of science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy and magical realism, psychological suspense, mimetic, comic, and family sagas, a multimedia stage producti ...more
More about Kate Wilhelm...

Other Books in the Series

Barbara Holloway (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Best Defense (Barbara Holloway #2)
  • Malice Prepense (Barbara Holloway #3)
  • Defense for the Devil (Barbara Holloway #4)
  • No Defense (Barbara Holloway #5)
  • Desperate Measures (Barbara Holloway #6)
  • Clear and Convincing Proof (Barbara Holloway #7)
  • The Unbidden Truth (Barbara Holloway #8)
  • Sleight of Hand (Barbara Holloway #9)
  • A Wrongful Death (Barbara Holloway #10)
  • Cold Case (Barbara Holloway #11)

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