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The best defense

Ellis Cose

6 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 006017496X / ISBN 13: 9780060174965
Published by HarperCollins c1998., New York, 1998
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Ex-Libris; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 259 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 91482

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The best defense

Publisher: HarperCollins c1998., New York

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Edition: First Edition; First Printing.

About this title


It's a case of office politics turned to murder. Or is it?

Acclaimed, award-winning journalist Ellis Cose delivers this provocative and timely courtroom drama in which the passions of ambition, envy, and outrage intertwine, and the best defense isn't always the truth.

Cutthroat defense lawyer and rising media star Felicia Fontaine has her work cut out for her. She's agreed to defend John Wisocki, a Manhattan businessman accused of killing his office rival, a Hispanic man, over a question of affirmative action policies at work. With her reputation on the line, not to mention her usually unflappable confidence, Felicia will need to watch her every step if she is to get through this controversial case with her career and pride intact.

Unfortunately, her opponent in court is a former flame, now-married prosecutor Mario Santiago. Mario is an underdog assistant district attorney with more than one reason to want to triumph over his ex, Felicia, in the highly publicized trail.

As the legal showdown begins, Felicia and Mario are determined to keep their personal lives on the sidelines and face off in the fireworks trial that will explore the difference between justice and revenge.

Ellis Cose is the distinguished author of a number of powerful, thought-provoking books on American society. He now turns his, pen to fiction for an outstanding debut novel that probes the fascinating, and sometimes violent, depths of the workplace battle to succeed.


Ellis Cose has written so many books and magazine articles on issues of race, work, and gender that it should come as no surprise to find that his first fictional outing is a legal thriller about a killing caused by affirmative action. What is surprising is the amount of suspense Cose can conjure up by being scrupulously fair to all sides of a complex and explosive issue. When John Wisocki, a white computer-training expert, shoots the Hispanic coworker who got his job after a corporate takeover, his first move is to hire Felicia Fontaine--an African American defense attorney whose response to the constant cry of "We never seem to get our due" (from what she calls "a whole motley tribe of the so-called disadvantaged who were unsure of how to get ahead in life") is "We get what we know how to demand." Does Felicia really believe Wisocki's story that he was planning to shoot himself when the coworker got in his way? Or, as her prosecutorial opponent and ex-lover Mario Santiago puts it, is it a case of "You're damned good at playing the game, but you don't particularly care about the people involved. Sometimes I wonder whether you care about right and wrong." Before the case is over (and even after), Felicia and most readers of Cose's smart, heartfelt novel will find lots of their preconceived notions taken out for a brisk airing. --Dick Adler

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