Cover image for Witness for the defense
Witness for the defense
Jacobs, Jonnie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Kensington Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
328 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Blending courtroom drama and feverish suspense, acclaimed author Jonnie Jacobs once again delivers an explosive, fast-paced thriller infused with authenticity and well-drawn characters

Straightforward and short term: that's precisely the kind of case Kali O'Brien needs at the moment. Yet the Harper adoption makes her uneasy from the start. Maybe it's because psychologist Steven Cross -- a man whose path hasn't crossed hers since the tragedy that shattered his life and their forbidden relationship -- unexpectedly referred the couple to her. Or could it be that Ted and Terri Harper's previous brush with parenthood ended in heartache when the birth mother changed her mind?

This time around, the former star quarterback and his gorgeous blonde wife aren't taking any chances. They've even moved pregnant Melissa Burke into their lavish Pacific Heights home. As Kali watches her determined clients shower the lonesome teenager with love and attention, she can't help wondering just how desperate theyare to claim the unborn child. When Melissa delivers a healthy baby girl and promptly signs the final adoption papers, Kali breathes a sigh of relief.

Then Bran Weaver, a controversial, chauvinistic radio talk show host, announces he's the baby's father -- a claim Melissa can't dispute. With a sinking heart, Kali prepares to defend the Harpers in a bitter custody battle that's certain to end in the birth father's favor ...until the case takes a shocking turn when somebody murders Weaver.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

When Oakland attorney Kali O'Brien decides to finish adoption paperwork for Terri Harper, the case seems straightforward. But Harper's brother is Kali's old lover, and Bram Weaver, a right-wing talk show host, contests the adoption, claiming to be the biological father of the child Harper wishes to adopt. Then Weaver is murdered, shifting Harper from prospective parent to prime suspect. This fourth Kali O'Brien thriller combines solid Bay Area atmosphere with a complex and fascinating legal case. Jacobs capably shows the hard work and uncertainty facing both the prosecution and the defense. Kali's poor judgment in the area of romance strains credulity, but otherwise she is an appealing protagonist. Jacobs has a knack for pacing and making the law suspenseful and compelling, though her ending seems a bit contrived. A respectable entry in a solid series that seems just on the verge of jumping to the next level. --John Rowen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Jacobs's latest legal thriller (Motion to Dismiss, etc.) will catch the attention of anyone captivated by current scandals involving botched adoptions and bitter custody battles. Following the collapse of her brief love affair with a married man, crackerjack attorney Kali O'Brien returns to San Francisco to single life and a languishing law practice. When psychologist Steven Cross, a grief-stricken widower from Kali's past, refers Terri and Ted Harper to her for what seems like a simple adoption case, Kali accepts. But she is wary because Ted and Terri's previous adoption attempt ended with the birth mother reclaiming her infant. This time Ted, a former quarterback, and his beautiful wife take the extra precaution of moving the pregnant girl, Melissa Burke, into their home until the birth of the baby. Melissa and the birth father both sign the requisite papers, to the Harpers' relief. But their joy is short-lived: when the baby arrives, brash, reactionary radio talk-show host Bram Weaver announces he is the father and sues for custody. Kali prepares to fight an uphill legal battle until Bram is murdered and police arrest Terri based on evidence found at the crime scene. As Kali gathers information about Bram, uncovering his many enemies, her relationship with Cross becomes more personal. And when an eyewitness with a shady past surfaces, she must convince him to testify. Though the deus ex machina ending disappoints, swift pacing, multiple motives and twisting plot lines will satisfy and keep readers guessing. (Apr.) Forecast: The Kali O'Brien series is gaining in popularity Motion to Dismiss was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and while sales won't rival those of Lisa Scottoline, Jacobs has picked a hot topic that should pique the interest of readers outside the usual legal-thriller crowd. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved