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Hostile Witness (Victor Carl #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  654 ratings  ·  57 reviews

Hard-luck Philadelphia lawyer Victor Carl is just itching for the opportunity to sell out. Then good fortune comes knocking at his door in the guise of William Prescott III, a blue-blood attorney from one of the city's most prestigious firms. Prescott wants Victor to represent a councilman's aide who is on trial, along with his boss, for extortion, arson, and murder. It's

Kindle Edition, 608 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1995)
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Tim Warner
this is an excellent work. I literally relished every word as I plunged into the depths of the brilliance of William Lashner. I am amazed that it took so long to hear about him. this is top-notch in every way. IF you like to read, I heartily recommend Hostile Witness. if you like deep character development, logical plots, and justice, I recommend Hostile Witness. I cannot say enough good about this.
Derek Davis
Can you really trust anyone with two first names?

Victor Carl is a weaselly lawyer of no repute who digs his own legal grave by getting involved with people he shouldn't. Never much to begin with in his ratty office on 21st st. in Philadelphia, by the end he's forever disgraced in his first major courtroom appearance.

So why should we care? Because Carl's a better man than he ever admits to himself, and in most things his instincts and intuition lead him to a level of truth that his more cerebral

This very long book masterfully written with some sense of humor and fine prose, portraits one situation any lawyer may confront any point in his working life, to decide to follow ethic principles and be financially strained or grab the opportunity that comes once in life, quick career advancement and social prestige working in association with the top company of the city in the litigation field performing dishonest maneuverings in order to protect the shady deals of the powerfu
Dec 07, 2007 Lynn added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lawyer lovers

This is my second William Lashner novel and now I am hooked. What reeled me in is the marvelous complexity of Victor Carl, the lawyer-protagonist-everyman. He is, contrary to the grishamlike model, a man who has been dealt a hand that is not quite up to his ambitions. He is the prototypical American hero with a dose of realistic ambivalence thrown in.
Hostile Witness also gives Carl a sex life. Lashner doesn't exactly write sex scenes, what he does is give us the protag's view of what's happenin
Marshall Thornton
I enjoyed this. It was pretty obvious that the mc was being used, at times I thought it was too obvious, but overall I liked it. Very solid legal thriller.
I am happy that I paid less than a dollar for this lengthy hardcover book. A young, flailing, Jewish, Philadelphia lawyer is presented with a chance of a lifetime opportunity to fulfill all his dream-- that basically boil down to "making it" in terms of wealth and status. The only problem is that he will have to sell out in many ways, though, he seems not to have a high moral standard to begin with. What follows is a trip through the dark side of politics, the drug trade and the world of "organi ...more
Victoria Jelinek Jensen
Hard luck Philadelphia lawyer Victor Carl yearns for the opportunity to get rich, be respected in the legal community, and have hot women begging to date him. Then William Prescott III, upper-cruster from one of the city’s most distinguished firms, comes knocking at his door. Prescott wants Victor to represent a councilman’s aide who is, along with his boss, accused of extortion, arson, and murder. It’s a high-profile court case that promises everything Victor longs for, and all he has to do is ...more
So this summer, on the recommendation of a reader, I read Marked Man , the sixth book about Victor Carl, the unfortunately named Philadelphia lawyer. I wasn't wowed by it, but I enjoyed it enough that I wanted to go back to the beginning and try at least one more in the series.

I'm not convinced that was such a great idea. It wasn't until the last 100 pages that I cared about anything going on in this book -- I even started to really like it, actually. But 80% of the way through a book is far to
Loved the descriptions of Philly!! Good crime novel.
Joyce Lagow
Victor Carl is a Philadelphia lawyer who, to his bitter regret, is about as far away from a job with a successful law firm, money, flashy cars, and, in general, a celebrity life style as it is possible to be without being bankrupt and homeless--all of which is looming around the corner. Deserted by one of his partners who had the gall not only to steal the firm's best clients but also to marry the society woman with whom Carl was sleeping, Victor--to put it mildly--is not a happy camper.[return] ...more
Robert Bacal
If you are looking for a fast paced legal thriller this probably won't be for you. It's different, full of flawed characters, a complex plot, and a writing style some will find a bit tedious. Not me. It's hard to find legal fiction that isn't the same old thing, and this is different.

Savor the words, and the writing, but this is a long book, longer than some would care for. Worth reading.
Love this book not as a grand work but the writer is very clever and its filled with remarkable insight, things I know but would never articulate as he has. Its a learning experience in little surprising pieces. Witty and raunchy and very interesting with meat on its bones. Fab kindle price. Im hooked.
Lee Belbin
An overly predictable dumb lawyer, gumshoe police, bad politicians with cute lovers and other gangsters story that was too easy to give up on after reading 30%. Hubris in the extreme on the part of the lead character - dumb as they come lawyer. Unreadable, unlovely USA underbelly.
Jay Caselberg
This would have probably garnered one more star, but...It was a good enough read, the thing that has turned me off is that it was packed to the rafters with stereotypes. Instead of a low-rent gumshoe, we get a low-rent lawyer with questionable moral judgements. There is the femme fatale, and the whole rich versus poor scenario, however, the Italian mobsters who speak like Italian mobsters with the accent spelled out, the Hassids who speak like Hassids in that homespun way with all the Yiddish th ...more
It was .... fine. I'd heard of the Victor Carl series by Lashner and I wanted to start at the beginning. It was sort of needlessly complex, and I didn't think some of it was believable. But it kept me reading and I'll probably pick up another of Lashner's books at some point.
shearita lopez
I found a new Lawyer.

I was in a rut. Reading the same authors. Then Amazon offered this book by William Lashner. A fresh perspective, and intricate weaving of story line and the protagonists mind.
Janice L Bergman
Hostile Witness

Loved this book! Just discovered William Lashners novels and I will read them all! This story will have you guessing through the whole book!
Karen Patterson
This the first book I've read by this author and when it started out I said to myself "oh, just another legal thriller similar to John Grisham," however I was pleasantly surprised and I got further involved with the story and characters and things I thought were obvious turned out to be something else. The main character is not your usual talk, good-looking, smartly dressed attorney either. He makes mistakes, often times obvious ones but somehow it made him more real to me. I also grew to love h ...more
I like this genre as my guilty pleasure. I enjoyed the book but at times was long. But picked up during the trial and kept me interested to the end
Marsha Stevenson
Hostile Witness

Victor Carl is a lost and tortured soul. As he changes he really does grow, unfortunately it's almost too late.
The book was descent (mot terrific). Thought that the story dragged on and on when it didn't have to.
Richard Weber
I thought I would try an author whose thrillers I have not read before. This turned out to be enjoyable. The main character is likeable. I will read more.
Peggy Walker
A very well written legal thriller. Evidently this is the first in a series of books about attorney Victor Carl, so I'll have to seek out some more. He's not the typical protagonist. He's a Philadelphia lawyer who couldn't get into the best law schools or the best firms. He's working on a nearly hopeless civil suit, and the main thing he has going for him is stubbornness....he just refuses to give up. The investigator character is wonderful. He's given a golden opportunity and catches on sooner ...more
Loved it and I think Victor Carl goes down as one of my favorite characters ever. His questionable morals and slimy ways are somehow endearing. He makes no bones about the fact that he wants one thing, to be rich and have money. He will do almost anything to get the money, but in the end, even though he struggles with the right motivation, he somehow ends up doing the right thing every time. I love this entire series and have been looking for a good legal series since the early works of John Gri ...more
First in the VIctor Carl lawyer series. Victor is co-opted by a white shoe law firm to represent a councioman's aid accused of murder while the big firm represents the councilman. All VIctor has to do is keep his mouth shut and he will win a lot of law business from the big boys. But it gets very complicated with cross, double cross, and soon Victor faces a raging moral crossroad. Great character in crack Hassidic detective Morris Kaputsin and his son. We also meet Victor's dying father. Lots of ...more
Keith Trullinger
I enjoyed this story, and look forward to reading more from Lashner.
Jul 26, 2014 Steve rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Steve by: Library
Shelves: legal, library
First of this author, but not my cup of tea.
I loved it until the last page, I don't really like the way it ended perhaps if I buy another in the series I will like the way they took it in the end. But the rest of the book I loved!
Victor Carl - finally got chutzpah !
I'm a huge Lashner fan!
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William Lashner, a former Philadelphia lawyer, is a graduate of New York University Law School and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has served as trial attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Justice Department. He lives with his family outside of Philadelphia.

Under the pseudonym Tyler Knox he wrote the noir novel, Kockroach.

* Victor Carl Mystery
More about William Lashner...

Other Books in the Series

Victor Carl (9 books)
  • Veritas (Victor Carl, #2)
  • Fatal Flaw (Victor Carl, #3)
  • Past Due (Victor Carl, #4)
  • Falls the Shadow (Victor Carl, #5)
  • Marked Man (Victor Carl, #6)
  • A Killer's Kiss (Victor Carl, #7)
  • A Bite of Strawberry (Victor Carl, #7.5)
  • Bagmen
The Barkeep Fatal Flaw (Victor Carl, #3) Accounting, The A Killer's Kiss (Victor Carl, #7) Marked Man (Victor Carl, #6)

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