Cover image for The last defense
The last defense
Darden, Christopher A.
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Publication Information:
New York : New American Library, [2002]

Physical Description:
360 pages ; 22 cm
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Mercer Early, a young litigator at the most prestigious African-American law firm on the West Coast, has everything going for him. That is, until a labyrinthine murder case drops into his lap-and threatens the pillars on which his many laurels rest. An incisive look at criminal justice and race relations, this novel will challenge your assumptions about guilt and innocence-and keep you turning pages until the very end.

Author Notes

Christopher Darden lives in Los Angeles, California.

(Bowker Author Biography) Christopher Darden won international recognition as an assistant prosecutor on the O. J. Simpson criminal trial. His memoir In Contempt was a #1 New York Times bestseller and will become a major motion picture.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Mercer Early is the hottest young criminal defense litigator for Los Angeles' most prestigious African American law firm. He recently secured an acquittal for the obviously guilty drug-dealer son of an influential local clergyman by discrediting the testimony of an LAPD investigator with a racist reputation. Too bad if the audiotape Early presented as evidence was a fake--winning is all that matters. But his fast-track career slows to a crawl when the preacher's dope-dealing son does a header out a fifth-story window. The prime suspect is Claude Burris, the cop Early humiliated. Burris' lady, a high-end hooker named Redd, approaches Early with a nonnegotiable demand: defend Burris on the murder rap or she reveals Early's dark past to the world and trashes his career forever. This is a wildly entertaining roller-coaster ride through L.A.'s legal corridors. Darden is the best-selling author of In Contempt (1996), his account of working the losing side in the O. J. Simpson trial. Lochte is a Nero Wolfe Award winner and Edgar nominee. They make a great team. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

The third pairing of former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Darden (In Contempt) and veteran mystery author Lochte (Sleeping Dog, etc.) pinballs the non-stop action from courtroom to bar room to bedroom. At the center of it all is Mercer Early, an ambitious young lawyer at the prestigious African-American law firm Carter and Hansborough. From his successful defense of a punk drug dealer whose father is a pillar of the church and the community to his romance with Vanessa Hansborough, the senior partner's daughter, Mercer appears to be on the fast track. But Mercer has a secret that could derail him. The authors' dark view of the Los Angeles legal system extends from the antiquated courts to the corrupt or incompetent police force, to the lawyers and law firms litigating, to the victims and defendants on trial. Amid the simmering stew of sex, drugs, alcohol, violence and courtroom pyrotechnics are a stable of memorable characters, including a racist white cop Mercer must defend and a homicide cop who lost his gun and his badge while drunk in a bar. Darden and Lochte (L.A. Justice; The Trials of Nikki Hill) make a formidable team, as murder and a frame-up reach from street dealers to boardrooms to pulpits to politics. It's a fast ride with a jolting, surprise finish. (Oct. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In another legal thriller from the authors of L.A. Justice, young lawyer Mercer Early juggles a puzzling murder case and a forbidden love affair with his boss's daughter. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.