Cover image for Equivocal death : a novel
Equivocal death : a novel
Gutman, Amy, 1960-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown and Co., [2001]

Physical Description:
355 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Just out of Harvard Law School, Kate Paine is on the fast track at Samson & Mills, the nation's richest, most powerful law firm. Assigned to assist the charismatic managing partner in a high-profile sexual harassment case, Kate can hardly believe her good luck. But with the brutal murder of Madeline Waters, a beautiful female partner, Kate's carefully constructed world begins to collapse. A mysterious warning from the dead woman just hours before her death leaves Kate terrified and confused -- could she be the killer's next target?

Kate finds herself in a race against time to unlock the secrets of Madeline's violent death. Delving far beneath Samson & Mills' smooth veneer, Kate discovers a shocking legacy of abuse and betrayal -- a legacy that may hold the key to solving the murder, as well as to Kate's own survival.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Fresh out of Harvard Law School, Kate Paine starts her career on the fast track with the big-time firm Samson & Mills. Assigned a controversial case, she's eager to please her high-profile colleagues, although she senses that something is not quite right with Madeleine Waters, Kate's idol and the only female partner. Once Madeleine turns up dead, Kate realizes that her friend had been trying to warn her. But about what exactly? As Kate delves into the firm's clouded past, she uncovers secrets that may explain Madeleine's death and prevent her own. In the style of Lisa Scottoline, Gutman brings a fresh, young, female voice to the legal thriller. This is a fast-paced, enjoyable debut featuring a woman you want to know better. Let's hope Kate Paine returns to action soon. --Mary Frances Wilkens

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gutman's debut woman-in-peril crime thriller set amid the skullduggery of a prestigious New York City law firm provides doses of good, light entertainment but suffers from a serious case of plot overload and red herringitis. Weaving her way through the tangle is Kate Paine, a rising star at Samson & Mills and a favorite of the firm's managing partner, Carter Mills. Soon after immersing herself in an important sexual harassment case, Paine is taken aside by Madeleine Waters, one of the firm's few female partners and Mills's former lover, and is cryptically told to be careful. Before Paine has time to ask for an explanation, Waters's body is found in the Hudson River. Paine, horrified but intrigued by Waters's death, starts poking around and uncovers sinister evidence of bitter rivalries, sexual affairs and a billing scandal at Samson & Mills. When she is sexually assaulted one night in her office, she begins to fear for her life. Is it coincidence that she resembles Madeleine Waters? Then Carter Mills is shot. Did he commit suicide? In between these breathless twists and turns, Gutman, an attorney, colorfully describes what life is like for young lawyers in high-powered law firms. Her story, despite its many unnecessary sidelights and extraneous characters, maintains a measure of suspense until the end. Paine, however, disappoints as a marquee player. Weak-willed and prone to flee from trouble, she's hardly the take-charge type truly prepared to battle evil. Agent, Nick Ellison. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

New lawyer Kate is thrilled to assist the managing partner at her firmÄuntil a beautiful female partner is murdered. From a Harvard Law School grad with other tricks up her sleeve: she was also the founding director of the Mississippi Teacher Corps. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.