Judgment Calls

Narrated by: Betty Bobbitt
Series: Samantha Kincaid, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
4 out of 5 stars (134 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An apparently simple assault case spirals into a complex web of violence and deception in this bold debut thriller.

Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid walks into her office in Portland's Drug and Vice Division one morning to find the sergeant of the police bureau's vice unit waiting for her. A 13-year-old girl has been brutally attacked and left for dead on the city's outskirts. Given the lack of evidence, most lawyers would settle for an assault charge; Samantha, unnerved by the viciousness of the crime, decides to go for attempted murder. But as she prepares for the trial, she uncovers a dangerous trail leading to an earlier high-profile death penalty case, a prostitution ring of underage girls, and a possible serial killer.

In Samantha Kincaid, Alafair Burke has created a complex, appealing character. Seamlessly moving between courtroom and criminal investigation, Judgment Calls reveals not only an insider's knowledge of the justice system but a fresh new voice in the world of crime writing.

©2003 Alafair Burke (P)2004 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Narrated in a crisp first person and injected with good-natured humor, the book is tightly plotted and detail laden." (Publishers Weekly)
"First-rate, suspenseful entertainment...we'll be hearing more from tough, tart, sexy, high-minded Samantha Kincaid." (Washington Post)
"Burke blends courtroom drama and criminal investigation with surprising aplomb, and she uses her Northwest setting to good advantage." (Booklist)

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Well read above average book

Well read! Betty Bobbitt has done an excellent job of reading an above average thriller. The protagonist is a lady DA who has problems that all authors seem to build around any character who is a lady DA, mainly complex relationship with a boyfriend and high principles in a notorious society. If anyone knows of a happily married DA please write a book on her, there seems to be a market for this starting with me.

The book is about a trial of a child rapist. But the child, a 13 year old, was soliciting sex and was high on drugs when raped. The defense lawyer is committed to giving a full fight and has a surprise plan to defend her client. While the character building is ordinary, the plot above average, the tension of a who did it good and the reading excellent, the entire package makes the book worth a book credit. Go ahead and download. No hidden disappointments in this one.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the Voices - Hated the Mispronunciations

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The mispronunciations of local place names were incredibly jarring. I live in Portland where the story takes place. Did no one from Oregon review the audio book?

What did you like best about this story?

Learned a lot about how the local courts actually work. Very much liked the caring focus on the victims and the female perspective.

What three words best describe Betty Bobbitt’s performance?

Pretty darn good.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Narrator Ruined This Book

I usually LOVE this author but the narrator completely destroyed my listening experience. I had the next two of this series in my wish list but will remove as they are narrated by the same awful voice.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Narrator was bad!

The story was OK - got a little boring at times, but it was hard to get past the narrator. She had a British accent, and some of the words and inflections were completely off. She also tried different voices for different characters, and that was a BIG failure.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Ok Story. Mismatched Narrator

Like the story line - it was tight and believable. Would like to listen to the next book in series - but the narrator is the same (aaaarrgh!!!) Had a real problem with the narrator. There was an obvious 30-year age gap between narrator and main character. With the story being first person narrative - could not suspend belief and get into the story. Secondly - narrator’s Aussie-influenced accent for a Portland D.A. - seriously!?! Story made it worth the cringing.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Possibilities

The plot was slow getting started but once it did it was good. However, the narrator was not good at all. She couldn’t pronounce simple words. Difficult to get past her.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not the clever and suspenseful writing

Had this been the first Alafair Burke book I’d read, I’m afraid to say, I would have never read another. Boring for Burke, takes a long time to get into the story (I never really did) somewhat of a anticlimactic ending and poor narrating. This book is a dud compared to Burke’s usual witty and clever thriller. Don’t waste your money.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Judgment Calls

We enjoyed the story. However, we did not care for the person reading the book. She sounded too old and we felt her accent was not authentic to the locale.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

performer is horrible.

Book is ok. performer ruined the story. She sounded too old for the main character and her voices were ridiculous.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story but performance was ill matched

The story is what kept me listening and tolerating an ill matched performance. I do not like giving negative reviews and Betty Bobbitt is talented but this story is set in Portland, Oregon and the narrator has an accent and pronounciation that make it very clear she is not native to the NW. While that would be fine, it did detract from the enjoyability.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stewart
  • 04-16-11

Solid debut

Don't compare Alifair with her father James Lee and you won't be disappointed. Let's be fair very few writers working today compare with James lee Burke so this isn't a criticism.
It's an assured thriller. Solid, believable, characters well developed and plot twists not telegraphed.
Maybe a little too solid and unexciting for the genre but I will certainly read more to see how she grows as a writer.
Only real criticism is the terrible narration. The woman has the most irritating voice and accent. No gravity, power or subtlety just a finger nails down the blackboard scratchy hesitant delivery.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Charmaine
  • 01-30-14

Narrator issues

Please don't take my star rating as a guide as I'm only on Chapter 3 of the book so have, as yet, no idea whether it's a good story or not. However I am reviewing the book in advance solely because of the reader. Betty Bobbitt has the absolutely perfect voice to read text books. If I didn't know better I'd swear I was listening to a forensic psychology text book. Her voice is dry and monotone and plainly boring. Also, I'm fairly - but only fairly - tempted to pop into the library to see if Alafair Burke actually wrote the laughing into the story or whether this was added by Betty. Not that it matters, I will listen for a while longer but cannot imagine being able to listen to the end - I've dozed off twice already and have had to rewind

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carôle
  • 10-04-12

Brilliant Female Lead

Alafair Burke out Cornwell's Patricia Cornwell. Both of her lead female characters (Samantha & Ellie) are well worth reading. Read them. Or better still, listen to them, they are narrated really well.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • judith
  • 04-03-16

Too much information

This was way too graphic for me. The narrator was good, but the frequent slip into Aussie accent detracted from an otherwise competent performance.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • annabel
  • 01-02-16

Story with a final twist that cleverly pulls all together

A writer I will continue to follow ,I enjoy the certainty and uncertainty of her main protagonists many thank for the good reads to come

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • jane
  • 07-30-19

Good book, wrong narrator

the story was great, but the mismatched narration was distracting. Her voice sounded frail and elderly, which was odd when narrating in the first person for a 30yo lead character. The voices she gave to the supporting characters were inappropriate and not unbelievable at all. I think i would've enjoyed the book if I'd read it instead.