Avid Series Reader's Reviews > Compelling Evidence

Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini
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Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini is the first book of the Paul Madriani legal thriller series. Unlike many mysteries, the setting does not factor into the story until the very end, when a bridge over the American River (CA) is mentioned. Paul Madriani is a defense lawyer in a solo practice. He formerly worked for a high-powered law firm, before his affair with a partner's wife led to a quick exit. Now the partner, Ben Potter, is short-listed for a Supreme Court position. With his departure for Washington imminent, Ben is concerned about the personal use of trust funds by partner Tony Skarpellos. He asks for Paul to investigate.

Before Paul can start, Ben is found dead, apparently a suicide. Paul doesn't believe it. Neither does Paul's police detective friend "Coop". When Ben's widow Talia, Paul's former lover, is charged with murder, she asks for Paul to defend her. The circumstantial evidence all points to Talia, but Paul senses it's a frame. He suspects Tony, who stands to inherit all if Talia is convicted.

Paul tangles with a hostile judge ("the coconut") in the courtroom. He fears key facts may not be allowed into evidence; justice may not prevail. After a press leak that Paul had an affair with Talia, his credibility with the jury seems doomed. But hang on, there's a surprise twist at the end.

Like another reviewer, I didn't realize this audiobook from the library was an Abridged version. It seems all the audiobooks in the series are. That does explain what seemed to be an abrupt shift in courtroom scenes (at first Paul cannot introduce Tony's inheritance if Talia is convicted, then suddenly he can question Tony about it - seemed odd).

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