Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Closing-Ken Oder

The Closing Ken Oder Skipjack Publishing, Apr 23 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9781939889164 In 1968, former Selk County Commonwealth Prosecutor Nate Abbitt tells death row inmate Kenneth Deatherage that his lawyer Swiller died from a heart attack before filing an appeal and the Supreme Court put a moratorium on state executions while studying the constitutionality. Finally the defrocked DA, who as an alcoholic fixed several cases before being removed, says he will act as Deatherage’s defense attorney. Deatherage insists the Buck County oligopoly framed him for the rape and murder of Darlene Updike. Nate rejects Deatherage’s conspiracy theory; as he believes his client is guilty, but knows as the defendant’s attorney that should not matter. He obtains Swiller’s file that contains almost nothing and reads the court record to find the attorney did nada for Deatherage. When he calls Deatherage’s mom for information, the woman refuses to get involved with her son she claims is evil. Even more shocking is the executor of Swiller’s estate mentions three other Buck County capital offense cases in which the lawyer mounted no defense. Stunned by what he read and not read, Nate heads to Buck County to meet with Commonwealth Prosecutor Maupin and others; but is unprepared for the nightmarish reality he faces there. The Closing is an intriguing legal thriller that looks deeply at corruption in the jurisprudence system. The recovering alcoholic protagonist is a fascinating lead as he begins to regain his lost life when he accepts the harm he committed to innocent people, his wife, his mother, his mentor and himself. Although the enjoyable storyline spins from a superb capital case to a more conventional David vs. Goliaths thriller, fans will appreciate Ken Oder’s strong historical fiction. Harriet Klausner

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