Cover image for Above the law
Above the law
Freedman, J. F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton, [2000]

Physical Description:
452 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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The bestselling author of Against the Wind turns his focus to a government cover-up in the death of a drug lord shot and killed despite director orders from the U.S. Attorney General to take him alive at any cost.

Author Notes

J. F. Freedman lives in Santa Barbara, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Luke Garrison is a high-profile former prosecutor turned defense attorney, burned out from celebrity and cynical about the practice of law. He reluctantly accepts a plea for help from an old college friend, currently a small-town district attorney, investigating the killing of a drug dealer in a botched raid by overzealous federal agents. Reynaldo Juarez, a notorious and reclusive drug dealer, is killed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, despite strict orders from the U.S. attorney general to take him alive. It looks like an accident, but it could have been murder. Haunted by a recent near-death encounter with rogue cops turned killers, Luke is outraged that a federal agent may have taken the law into his hands, however unsavory the suspect. Luke is also lured by the neediness of his friend, Nora Ray, living in obscurity in a sleepy northern California town after a fall from grace for herself and her husband, and his eventual suicide. Nora's neediness turns to unwanted sexual attention, jeopardizing an old friendship and complicating Luke's job as special prosecutor. Freedman builds plot suspense as he builds Luke's case and moves the action to a surprising twist in the trial that examines police tactics, drug law enforcement, and criminal enterprise. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

Former DA Luke Garrison is back in another tricky and exciting Freedman thriller (after The Disappearance). Now a defense attorney in Santa Barbara, he gets a surprise call from an old law school friend, Nora Ray. As the DA in remote Muir County in Northern California, Ray wants him to investigate the murder of drug overlord Reynaldo Juarez, which occurred during a violent and botched DEA raid on the Juarez compound in Ray's district. Garrison finds it hard to believe that anyone cares about who murdered the drug lord. But Ray thinks the DEA is conspiring to cover up something else, especially as they had orders to capture Juarez so he could be detained as a witness in other investigations. Reluctantly, Garrison agrees to be hired as her special prosecutor. The key players in the case are a twisted and intriguing lot: mysterious, needy, possibly dangerous Ray, attracted to the attractive prosecutor; elderly local sheriff Miller, exiled to Muir County long ago by the FBI and cut out of the DEA raid; Miller's deputy, Wayne Bearpaw, the liaison to local Native Americans who are trying desperately to haul themselves out of poverty; and federal agent Sterling Jerome, arrogant leader of the drug bust. As the case unfolds, Garrison uncovers the workings of Juarez's West Coast drug enterprise, the movement of large sums of money, startling passions and connections that go deep (including a long-ago link between Jerome and Juarez). Finally, as past and present converge, it becomes clear that nearly everyone has been hiding a secret. Though in need of some editorial tightening, Freedman's complexly plotted mystery builds to a surprising and satisfying climax. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) raids the remote Muir County, CA, compound of drug dealer Reynaldo Juarez, he is killed despite orders from the U.S. attorney general to take him alive. D.A. Nora Ray suspects a cover-up and convinces her law-school friend Luke Garrison to become a special prosecutor. Evidence piles up against Sterling Jerome, leader of the DEA bust, but during the subsequent trial, Garrison begins to suspect that all may not be what it seems. A prelude in which the prosecutor kills two men holding hostages in a desert diner is tightly constructed, but the rest of Freedman's tale seems padded. Much of the trial consists of tedious legal maneuvering and banal testimony, and too much attention is devoted to Garrison's family life. Even estimable reader Dick Hill seems challenged by the "Potty, Daddy" pleas of the hero's small son. While any attentive reader will guess the outcome, Freedman does provide some colorful minor characters and creates a vivid portrait of rural Northern California. Recommended for popular collections.ÄMichael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.