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
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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

Legal thrillers of near-epic proportions are the author's forte. Luke Garrison, criminal lawyer hero of The Disappearance, and Kate Blanchard, private-eye protagonist of House of Smoke, return as star and supporting player in this absorbing story of a police cover-up in the northern California wilderness. Garrison is lionized by the media after killing two men who had held him hostage in a roadside caf, and his newfound celebrity brings him a prestigious job offer--to serve as special investigator of the murder of one of the FBI's ten most wanted men. The leader of an international drug-dealing conglomerate has been shot, despite the U.S. attorney general's order to take him alive. Who is concealing the truth--law enforcement officials, gang members, or both? Garrison's former law school classmate, an attractive, troubled woman, happens to be the local district attorney. She gets too involved--both in the case under investigation and with Garrison himself. Freedman creates rich, complex tapestries but has a tendency to introduce minor characters who clutter the landscape until they disappear. Overall, Above the Law is an expertly plotted page-turner that holds the reader in its grip right up to the 11th-hour surprise ending.--Joyce Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.