On the 85th floor of a glittering high-rise in Los Angeles, Robert Tarza steps into the lobby of the Marbury Marfan law firm to discover his partner Simon Rafer lying in a pool of blood - an ornate dagger plunged into his back. Robert had worked with Simon for decades, and their relationship was fraught with conflict. But he never imagined he would wind up as the prime suspect for his colleague’s murder. As the evidence stacks up against him with frightening speed, he quickly falls from his respected position to that of a criminal dragged through the tabloids. With a growing suspicion that he’s being expertly framed, Robert digs into the evidence to clear his name. In the process, however, he uncovers a web of fraud among his closest associates. As time runs out, Robert must uncover the real killer or be prepared to go to prison for murder.
This story revolves around Robert Tarza, a successful and truly snobby 60 year old attorney who finds himself under suspicion of murder. But unlike most central characters, you don't have to identify or even like this man to enjoy his tale. The reason is the astounding characters that surround him, his 30 year old protege and one of the most formidable defense attorneys in L.A.
Not only is he in deep trouble with the law, his case is further complicated by his own arrogant and naive insistence (and against his defense attorney's advice) on investigating his own case. Worse still, his young protege is a brilliant litigator with no criminal experience who insists on being the lead attorney of the defense team. The tensions between the equally brilliant legal minds Tarza and his team leads to a great deal of humor in an ever more mysterious murder.
The trial sequences are truly entertaining as they are suspenseful.
The narration requires the voice of a snob, an impertinent and sexy protege, a frustrated Latino defense attorney, a wise if snarky female judge in prominent roles. He delivers in spades.
Worth your time? It certainly was for me!
72 of 74 people found this review helpful
This is a great mystery, well developed and well narrated. I didn't see the conclusion coming. The author used an intelligent diversion right from the beginning that blinded me. I was on the wrong path as far as who I thought was the killer.
There are well developed minor characters and enough movement and action that held my attention and provided some laughs. This novel included scenes where the two central characters conducted tension-gartering, clandestine investigations and edge of your seat courtroom drama. With this narrator, I never had to consciously think about who was speaking. He was able to make significant changes in his voice to sound womanly and to use the quirks in a couple of the character's voice (eg. stuttering), so I was able to tell who was speaking at all times.
39 of 40 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Death on a High Floor again? Why?
No, but ONLY because I never listen to the same book twice (so many books, so little time) and it is quite a long story. But this audiobook is one of the wittiest, most fun-filled who-done-its I have read or listened to in a long time. It's not a comedy, don't get me wrong; it's a legitimate mystery, but the interplay among the characters -- and the interpretation given to each character by the narrator -- is superbly done. You'll even smile when you get the meaning of the title of the story. I highly and wholeheartedly recommend this audiobook.
Which character – as performed by Christopher Lane – was your favorite?
All three attorneys for the defense: the murder suspect and his co-worker, both of whom are civil attorneys and know nothing about criminal law and courtroom drama, and the elegant, wonderfully articulate, perfectly narrated criminal attorney who worked with the pair with both patience and utter frustration (the "straight man", if you will).
Any additional comments?
I purchased this book by shear mistake. I was irritated when I realized what I had done but reluctantly turned the audiobook on while I was cleaning the kitchen. 30 minutes into the story when I was actually laughing out loud, I knew it was one of the best mistakes I had ever made. Admittedly it is a little slow at times (but never for very long) and it isn't really a "thriller" or "hanging by your fingertips" suspense novel. It is just a sophisticated, clever, darn good mystery that makes you feel good throughout the whole murder suspect's ordeal.
25 of 26 people found this review helpful
With a mystery, I can suspend belief a bit, but this novel pushed me much too far. Robert Tarza is the protagonist. He is a senior partner of a law form accused of killing another partner. Well, he is the dumbest lawyer I know. He hired a non-partner (Jenna) in the firm to defend him. Jenna was not a criminal lawyer, and was the person most likely to have committed the murder. Tarza went on to investigate the crime himself, time and again making his case look worse. None of the characters were especially believable, nor were they interesting. The one good thing about this was the trial. The author does create drama in the courtroom, which is impressive given how little I cared about the characters. There are many clues in this mystery (coin collection stuff), and that puzzle somewhat kept my interest, but the case is resolved in a sudden and not very satisfactory way. The trial almost made me boost my rating to a 3, but the poor ending clinched the 2 rating. The one other good point - a very good narrator. Great narrators are getting to almost be the norm, thanks to Audible, so that is not a reason to get this. To be quite honest, I can't figure out why so many rated this a 5. There are many books I don't like, but I can see what others see in them. Not this. Unless you want generic mystery/legal thriller. Or maybe the author has a lot of friends writing reviews.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed the story and the narration. It wasn't the most complex plot but it was sufficiently puzzling to hold my attention and there were some absolutely hilarious zingers and characters along the way. Given that Rosenberg had a hand in Denny Crane you can imagine some of the color in this story.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this book for some reason--can't explain exactly why. It has a good storyline and compelling characters, however, seems a little far fetched (senior law partner who is pretty clueless about what goes on around him) when you really think about it. He is charged with murder, yet doesn't seem too concerned about it. He let's a young lawyer in his firm take charge of his defense, and then he just goes along with whatever she says.
Even though this is a murder mystery, it never really felt tense or suspenseful to me. Once again, though, as I think back about listening to it --I had fun! There are crooked detectives, rare coin collections, backstabbing lawyers, relentless media problems, and some mild courtroom drama. It isn't the stuff of John Grisham or Scott Turow, but I recommend it for the sheer enjoyment.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
This has its moments -- but it is a bit amateurish -- e.g., we have a sixty-year-old lawyer who has to be told all sorts of things he should know after watching two episodes of Law and Order.
Performance is good.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Christopher Lane's performance of this book brings it to life in an extraordinary manner! The main character, an aging lawyer, is a bit of an out-of-touch snob and Lane's voice nails such a character perfectly! In addition the depiction of the partner/associate/staff culture of the big snooty, black shoe LA law firm is right on.
The story is just excellent with twists and turns that will stump you right to the end. "Who really did it?", you will ask all along the way. There are so many good possibilities. And it is fun to see two attorneys, neither of them experts in criminal law, try to solve the murder mystery. Missteps galore make for humor and suspense. Then throw in the further mystery of an ancient, valuable coin and the circle of suspects grows.
This is a very good book, performed by an excellent reader. It is different in tone and pace, but that is it's secret to success.
21 of 24 people found this review helpful
I know that's a strange word to use in describing a mystery where the main character is a rich snob, but that's what this novel is: delightful. A pleasure to get into the protagonist's head and follow along as he gets ensnared in the murder of his legal firm's managing partner and his perfectly ordered life crumbles. Very enjoyable. Definitely would recommend. (It's a shame that his second book got slammed by almost every reviewer who had loved this one...so I am anxiously awaiting his third. Hopefully that one will be as good as "Death on a High Floor.")
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The protagonist is a wonderfully drawn character with the narrator doing a truly excellent job of reflecting of his fall from grace (sorry about that). You are introduced to this self-satisfied, older than usual, lawyer who is humanly self-deluding. The other characters are equally interesting with ongoing revelations which let the listener get to know them and become suspicious of their motives. The trouble with this book is that you can't comment too much without giving the plot away. A very worthwhile change from the usual. Deserves a high rating.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful