Book Banter: Malice Prepense by Kate Wilhelm

Malice PrepenseTitle: Malice Prepense
Author: Kate Wilhelm
Genre: Legal
Length: 412 pages
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: Oshkosh Public Library

Plot Basics:  Barbara Holloway’ s client is Teddy Wendover, a 28 year old grown man who has the intellect and moral judgement of an 8 year old.  Teddy was the victim of an accident that captured him at that age.  Teddy becomes Barbara’s client when he is suspect of murder, something that anyone who knows him cannot believe.  But who really committed the three murders?  And why was Teddy their target?

Banter Points:  This is the third title in the Barbara Holloway series.  Barbara’s client starts as Teddy Wendover, but quickly switches to his father as it is very clear that there is no way that Teddy could have committed the murders.  As Barbara prepares her defense of his father, Ted Wendover, Barbara has to defend a man with several motives — and no clear defense.  I really like that this wasn’t a clear cut, slam dunk for her.  Of course, as a reader, you are positioned to believe that Ted didn’t commit the murders and someone else must have, but who?

Bummer Points:  Barbara Holloway has a pattern that is becoming slightly tedious.  She does outrageous stuff in the court room that the judges consider a violation of the sanctity of the law.  Yet, as a non-lawyer, I don’t understand why they are banging their gavel so much.  Perhaps too much sympathy is built for Barbara and we need a foil to understand what is going on.  Maybe I simply haven’t read enough legal thrillers to understand the significance of certain actions and moves.  Either way, I’m a little lost at times as to the reactions.

Stacie’s Recommendation:  I’m going to push the pause button on this series and pick-up something else.  I really want to know how certain parts of Barbara’s life develop and plan to return later.

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