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Publisher's Weekly
The third pairing of former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Darden (In Contempt) and veteran mystery author Lochte (Sleeping Dog, etc.) pinballs the non-stop action from courtroom to bar room to bedroom. At the center of it all is Mercer Early, an ambitious young lawyer at the prestigious African-American law firm Carter and Hansborough. From his successful defense of a punk drug dealer whose father is a pillar of the church and the community to his romance with Vanessa Hansborough, the senior partner's daughter, Mercer appears to be on the fast track. But Mercer has a secret that could derail him. The authors' dark view of the Los Angeles legal system extends from the antiquated courts to the corrupt or incompetent police force, to the lawyers and law firms litigating, to the victims and defendants on trial. Amid the simmering stew of sex, drugs, alcohol, violence and courtroom pyrotechnics are a stable of memorable characters, including a racist white cop Mercer must defend and a homicide cop who lost his gun and his badge while drunk in a bar. Darden and Lochte (L.A. Justice; The Trials of Nikki Hill) make a formidable team, as murder and a frame-up reach from street dealers to boardrooms to pulpits to politics. It's a fast ride with a jolting, surprise finish. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Library Journal
In another legal thriller from the authors of L.A. Justice, young lawyer Mercer Early juggles a puzzling murder case and a forbidden love affair with his boss's daughter. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Hotshot lawyer Mercer Early, the putative hero of this third collusion between Darden and Lochte (L.A. Justice, 2001, etc.), wouldn't recognize a legal principle if it were labeled as such and personally delivered by Thurgood Marshall. What Mercer-black, bright, and ethically challenged-does recognize is the path to partnership at prestigious Carter & Hansborough, a path he's following lickety-split as this courtroom drama opens. On behalf of a drug-dealing lowlife, he uses a doctored tape to discredit a key witness. Mercer's client walks, but not far: he's offed that very night. Indicted for the crime is LAPD Detective Claude Burris, the selfsame key witness discredited by Mercer. Along with virtually everyone else, Mercer thinks Burris guilty, but his belief becomes irrelevant when Burris's girlfriend, armed to the teeth with a Mercer indiscretion, cows him by demanding: Defend my boyfriend, or I'll ventilate your checkered past. So here's the made-for-daytime-TV situation: a white cop with a black lover, on trial for killing a black drug dealer, is represented, under duress, by a black lawyer. Carter & Hansborough, as morally myopic as its star litigator, wrings every single set of its hands at this scenario until certain political advantages become evident. Hand-wringing stops, bullets fly, blood flows, bodies fall, Mercer triumphs, readers yawn.

Riddled with knowing banalities ("In most cases, D.A.'s and defense lawyers choose different kinds of jurors") and bad prose: hackwork unredeemed by occasional bursts of courtroom energy.

Used availability for Christopher Darden's The Last Defense

See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US

Hardback Editions

September 2002 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: The Last Defense
Author(s): Christopher Darden, Dick Lochte
ISBN: 0-451-20732-7 / 978-0-451-20732-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

December 2003 : USA Mass Market Paperback
thumbTitle: The Last Defense
Author(s): Christopher Darden, Dick Lochte
ISBN: 0-451-41122-6 / 978-0-451-41122-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Onyx
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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