Breach of Trust (Joseph Antonelli #6), by D.W. Buffa

Eight stars

D.W. Buffa takes this series in an interesting direction with this piece, straddling past and present as Joseph Antonelli faces events from law school and a chilling trial that has the country watching. When Joseph Antonelli is invited to attend his law school reunion, he is skeptical, but accepts nonetheless. While a Harvard grad, the reunion takes place at a posh hotel in New York City, a town that has an ominous connection to Antonelli’s law school days. Back in 1965, Anna Malreaux fell from a hotel balcony and many wonder if a friend last seen with her, Jamison ‘Jimmy’ Scott Haviland, might have been responsible. However, Haviland has always said that he is innocent, as have many others. Antonelli is approached by Thomas Browning at the reunion to say that the Malreaux case has the District Attorney and a grand jury quite intrigued, with an indictment sure to come soon. As it happens, Browning is also the one who twisted Antonelli’s arm to attend these festivities, and is the current Vice-President of the United States. Many wonder if there are those within the Administration who want to bring this ghost out of the closet and somehow tie Browning to the mess. When an indictment comes and Haviland is fingered as the one who likely pushed Malreaux, Antonelli agrees to serve as his counsel, having made a name for himself in the legal world. With Browning offering strategy and parading him around Washington before the trial, Antonelli can only wonder if there is a motive here, ahead of the next presidential election. Faced with a sarcastic prosecutor and a judge who is anything but timely, Antonelli must help this law school friend while also swimming in memories of life at Harvard and how Browning was anything but inclusive at the time. With the world watching, Antonelli will have to try this case and hope the pressure is not too much, especially as he is across the country from all his supports. Buffa knows how to impress and uses this novel to explore yet another side of Joseph Antonelli for series fans. Recommended to patient series fans who know Buffa well and the reader who enjoys a legal thriller with complex plot lines.

My affinity for novels by D.W. Buffa continues as I binge read this series. It continues to be a wonderfully complex set of novels that pit the protagonist in the middle of legal and personal struggles at a time when his career is blossoming. Delving yet again into the world of electoral politics, the reader discovers new and dastardly angles that pull Joseph Antonelli in many directions. Away from all he knows in San Francisco, he is forced to revisit his youth and some of the drama that befell him that Christmas Eve in 1965. The reader is subjected to a great deal of flashbacks as it relates to Antonelli’s law school days and those with whom he surrounded himself. The politics of the day, though, is nothing like modern times, where a presidential election hangs in the balance. With a seemingly new and vivacious woman ready to warm his bed, Antonelli is forced to divide his time, while admit to himself that he is not as young as he might once have been. Sharp-witted, Antonelli is ready for anything and pours it all out on the courtroom floor, impressing jurors and jurists alike. Others make one-off appearances, as the story shifts to NYC, leaving Antonelli to reinvent himself. The plot is excellent and propels the story forward effectively, keeping the reader enthralled throughout and does not lose any of its impact as the narrative moves forward. An effective progression in the series that takes the reader on quite the ride. Buffa knows what he is doing without compromising in the least.

Kudos, Mr. Buffa, for a fast-paced story that mixes past and present together, with an eerie political cloud looming overhead.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: