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Death Qualified - A Mystery of Chaos (Barbara Holloway #1)
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Death Qualified - A Mystery of Chaos (Barbara Holloway #1)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,257 ratings  ·  152 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
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Mira Books (first published 1991)
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Yvonne Mendez
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
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.
Man, I am really struggling with this audiobook. If it doesn't get to the legal stuff pretty soon, I'm finished with it.
This turned out to be one of those books I simply couldn't finish. I had to force myself to liste
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
Maggie K
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
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Gerald Curtis
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
Petula Darling
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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
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.
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.
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.
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

Prob closer to 2.5
this was my first-and I did like the court room and I pretty much agree with this review. I will try one more...then judge about this author if I want to continue

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 c
Verbosity is inversely related to significance. Frustrated.
Couldn't finish it - a rare event for me.
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
Not disappointed, at the same time it wasn’t what I expected.

It’s not a simple courtroom drama though. It’s a mystery, who actually killed Lucas and why. Of course, we assume it wasn't his wife Nell even if she's been accused. It also has an almost science fiction aspect. While researching Lucas’s history, Barbara finds that he was involved in an experiment involving treating young men as guinea pigs, attempting to use chaos theory to change the observer’s perception of the universe. The theory
Shawna Hansen
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
It's got a mystery. It's got a romance. It's got lawyer stuff. And along with all that--some science fiction, with fractals and stuff that come out on your computer, and make you get all strange. Written in the nineties, but not too out of date. Some ecology too, since the evil people are all trying to fell the trees and the good people are trying to stop them. But are they really trying to fell the trees, or to do something more sinister?
Cheryl Turoczy hart
Alright, I have to admit, this is one of about 3 books on CD that I have downloaded from the library to listen to when I am on long car trips. That happens infrequently enough that I don't remember what happens from one trip to the next. I enjoyed this one (again) on my recent road trip to Idaho. Keeps me guessing every time.
Jenna Glading-razeghi
This is my first time reading this author and I would recommend it to anyone who likes legal, suspenseful, mysteries. I was very happy that I already had the second book in this series download and ready to go. All I will say is that the first one is a cliff-hanger so I hope the next will pickup where the first one ended.
I like Kate Wilhelm's mysteries. Her characters are so real as to make me want to find the next book right away. The mysterious project that is a focal point of this book was never described very well. I'm not sure what the scientists were striving to achieve or what powers were obtained by those that were able to make progress with "the discs" other than "they laughed". Kind of a cliffhanger of an ending. I'm not sure it will be resolved in the next book, but I'm ready to find out.
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
Despite some scathing reviews I gave this book from '91 a chance and really liked it. I'll be looking out for this author again. It wasn't too legal and set the scene really well.

There was only one aspect that infuriated me and in NZ law would have been unacceptable but maybe it's different in the US.
Wow, another excellent writer that I have missed out on! Great story, well written, easy visualization of the wonderful Oregon woods. Wish I had found her when this '91 novel was first published. Still a great read!
Barbara Holloway had given up practicing law 5 years ago but she receives a plea from her father to help him defend a young mother accused of murdering her husband who had returned after 7 years absence. Nell Kendricks was at the scene when he was shot but she asserts that she did not shoot him. The police believe that Lucas Kendricks had slaughtered a girl he had picked up earlier that day and that he came after Nell, forcing her to kill him in self defense. Nell refuses to plea self defense as ...more
Wendy Matthews
This was a compelling experience. Not committed to this type of action story, picked up at random..I was very pleased to enjoy this time. Good writer. Good characters. Plenty of surprises.
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
Sue Graften has her wonderful Kelsey Grammer, Private Investigator and Kate Wilhelm has Barbara Holloway, Attorney at Law. Seems to be a wonderful series!
Anne C.
Kate Wilhelm is one of the best mystery novelists out there. Her ability to give out details, while not falling into the trap of predictability is wonderful.
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Kate Wilhelm has won the Hugo and several Nebula Awards. She is the widow of author and editor Damon Knight.
More about Kate Wilhelm...

Other Books in the Series

Barbara Holloway (1 - 10 of 13 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)
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang The Best Defense (Barbara Holloway #2) The Deepest Water A Wrongful Death (Barbara Holloway #10) Desperate Measures (Barbara Holloway #6)

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