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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Thrillers / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:415
  • eBook ISBN:9781620951231

The Alternate

by John Martel

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In an opulent San Francisco mansion, a beautiful woman lies dead. Her husband stands accused of her murder and two ambitious lawyers step into the courtroom for the most challenging trial of their careers. Defense attorney Barrett Dickson represents the accused—an ex-congressman whose alibi is as questionable as his past. Prosecutor Grace Harris's case rests on a piece of evidence that has mysteriously vanished. Driven by personal vendettas and plagued by controversy, the trial is spinning dangerously out of control. And one person's agenda is about to turn deadly…
In her opulent Pacific Heights mansion, above a city glittering in the night, Lara Ashford lies dead. A former beauty queen and the wife of a powerful ex-congressman, she was a woman who made mistakes--married to a man who made even more. Now, from all over San Francisco and across the country, cops and investigators, lawyers, and politicians, are being drawn into the most controversial case to hit the Bay Area in years. They claim they're coming for justice. But for some of them, justice will be at the ultimate price. Grace Harris and Barrett Dickson are the two attorneys caught in the fray, clinging to their careers, their troubled lives, their shaken ideals. The trial of Elliot Ashford for the brual murder of his wife will turn them into adversaries in the courtroom, even as they find themselves dangerously close to each other outside of it. With a key piece of evidence mysteriously vanished...with the D.A. trying to run from his secrets all the way to the Governor's mansion...and with influential people pulling strings on both sides, an innocent jury will be drawn into the cross-fire, as a case driven by personal vendettas and hidden motives erupts in violence. For behind the headlines, the politics, and the legal maneuvering, behind the lies, the evasions, and the stunning reversals--another player is in the game: one with a front row seat, and a history of madness and murder... In The Alternate, top trial lawyer and bestselling author John Martel combines a richly textured, morally complex portrait of a justice system spinning out of conrol and an electrifying novel of page-turning suspense.
About the author
After serving as a U.S. Air Force pilot, John Martel studied creative writing at the University of California at Berkeley, then obtained a law degree at U.C.'s Boalt Hall. He soon became a named partner in the now-130 lawyer firm of Farella, Braun + Martel in San Francisco and is a veteran of more than one hundred trials to conclusion with only four losses. He has been hailed by the National Law Journal as one of the top ten trial lawyers in America and brings an insight and stunning realism to his four novels unsurpassed by any other writers of legal fiction. His best-selling debut suspense novel, Partners, spent 15 weeks on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list in 1988 and drew rave reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Review, and Booklist. The Sunday Times (London) described his second novel, Conflicts of Interest, as "An exciting and authentic tale . . ." and Denver's Rocky Mountain News said, "John Martel is one of the best." Equally glowing comments came from peers, such as Richard North Patterson and Clive Cussler. His third novel, The Alternate, also spent months on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list in hardcover in 1999 and reached #17 on The New York Times paperback bestseller list in 2000. Gannett's Marin Independent said The Alternate as ". . . confirms--like Grisham and Turow--that John Martel is an accomplished spinner of legal thrillers." Booklist, in a starred review, described Billy Strobe, Martel’s “remarkable” fourth novel, "as .a legal thriller in the manner in which Dickens might have written it; an epic . . ." His new novel, The American Lawyer, out next Fall, has already garnered praise from his peers. Richard North Patterson says, “The American Lawyer is a true original in the realm of courtroom drama—smart, scary, flavorfully writing, and laced with international intrigue and memorable characters. This is John Martel’s best work yet.” John Lescroart adds, “The American Lawyer is a gem of international legal suspense. Martel is a total pro at the top of his game.” John is a modern renaissance man. While writing Conflicts of Interest, he took time off to become the1997 National Masters Champion in the high hurdles, running the fastest time in the world that year. In his "spare time," John, a singer/songwriter with nearly one hundred compositions, has performed his original country-rock songs under the pseudonym "Joe Silverhound" at numerous Bay Area clubs and such venues as the Troubadour in Los Angeles and the Palomino Club in North Hollywood.