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Offer of Proof    by Robert Heilbrun order for
Offer of Proof
by Robert Heilbrun
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It's hard to believe that Offer of Proof is Robert Heilbrun's first novel. It's a lawyer solves the case and saves the day book. Lots of them out there, but this one is different. Arch Gold is a public defender in New York City. He's presented with a defendant accused of mugging and killing Charlotte King. Damon Tucker swears he didn't do it. Sure. Right. Aren't all prisoners innocent?

But somehow this eighteen year-old black man gets to Arch. He believes him. Now he must prove the kid didn't kill the woman. So begins a tale including blackmail and murder, a virtuous stripper, an aged bookie, a stick-up artist who wants to go straight, a judge who believes in the death penalty, an affluent PI and his black bodyguard, and the public defender who takes them all on. What more can a reader want?

The author takes the reader behind the scenes of a courtroom, explaining the procedures that govern our legal system. I found this fascinating, although I would hope to never be in the accused's shoes. The reader attends the trial as well as participating in Arch Gold's investigations. The action moves along nicely with wonderfully unusual characters peopling the scenes.

I like Arch Gold who has not gotten jaded by the system and is ready to fight to save a defendant, at the risk of his own life. Offer of Proof is a fun book, quickly read. I look forward to more from Robert Heilbrun, who himself is a Staff Attorney with the Legal Aid Society - he writes of what he knows.

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