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Publisher's Summary

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Roger "Butch" Karp has been around New York long enough to realize that the judicial system can be dirty and cynical. But he still believes in justice. So when a vicious sociopath tries to dodge a brutal murder charge by convincing the court he is incompetent to stand trial, Karp teams up with firecracker Assistant DA Marlene Ciampi to unleash the full force of their relentless energy, hardboiled wit, and passion for the truth to put the killer away for good. They will accept no lesser plea.

©1987 Robert K. Tanenbaum (P)2013 AudioGO

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    76
  • 4 Stars
    55
  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    17

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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    68
  • 4 Stars
    56
  • 3 Stars
    40
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    10

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    66
  • 4 Stars
    51
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    18
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Lesser Plea

If you could sum up No Lesser Plea in three words, what would they be?

A nice introduction.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I wouldn't say on the edge but it kept my attention.

What three words best describe Traber Burns’s voice?

Interesting at best.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

No escape.

Any additional comments?

I had listened to Tanenbaum before and decided to start the series in order. No Lesser Plea is nice first book. It sets the characters well. I mostly likely will listen to a few more books then decide if I will continue with the series. Tanenbaum and Burns may grow on me but at this time they aren't my favorite.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Star and Stop Rollercoaster - mostly coasts

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Ugh.. There is way too much distractions with office relationships. When it appears that it is going to pick up steam it just dies and goes back to office chit-chat.<br/>

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not this author unless his next books pull back on the sex and off-color stuff

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Best of the best!

I was so delighted to see this whole series on Audible -- at least it appears the first 15 are here, those that Michael Gruber either wrote, or co-wrote, depending on who you believe. The books with Gruber are excellent, just excellent -- action packed, filled with moments of pure hilarity followed by white-knuckle situations, all played out with very likable characters, and best of all, so filled with inside stories of what goes on in the legal system it's impossible to put down.

This is the first of the series, where Butch and the love of his life, Marlene Ciampi meet -- a good introduction, because the series gets even more interesting later, after they're married and have a child who turns out to be a language prodigy, speaking any number of languages fluently, including Chinese. Her unique abilities lead the books in whole new directions and every one of them are just marvelous.

I read the whole series when they started to come out in the 1980's. I loved them so much I packed and moved my creased and tattered paperbacks every time I moved for decades. Now that I can get them on Audible -- or on Kindle, I see -- I can finally let the paper versions go.

As I listened to this one again, I was reminded of how little things have changed in the world of criminal justice since the 1980's. The same people are still committing the same crimes, being put into the same criminal justice systems, with the same woeful result. As Butch Karp remarks, "The criminal justice system is not just, but it most certainly is criminal." Yes, it was in 1988, and still is today -- which makes for some really good books, if nothing else.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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More Character Development Than Plot Development

I found Tanenbaum's first Carp novel more a development of interesting characters than the development of a engaging plot. Still, I enjoyed the listen.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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This Blew My Socks Off

I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard and so often while listening to a book that is a mystery/thriller. And then, to be brought to tears.

Such extreme emotions and it's all part of a terrific legal thriller.

5-stars all the way. Now, I'm going to look for more books by the author.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Better than the sum of its parts

This is one of those titles that I ended-up enjoying more than an individual assessment of its content and the performance suggests. Don't get me wrong, the content and the performance were fine, but not a 4 in either case. Despite this the story was very enjoyable, amusing and interesting. I enjoyed the characters, particularly the likable Karp and the caricature, short Italian wise-cracker (I could see Tony Danza or the ill-fated Robert Blake in this role). I'm amazed that no one has picked-up the rights to this series, or if they have, not put it on the screen (big or small). Maybe it has to do with Tanenbaum's legal and political background, although its hard to wonder what stopping the go-ahead now.
From a plot point of view, it was all good, entertaining stuff until about three-quarters through, when it became slightly unbelievable. I guess anything is possible in NY, but this seemed a stretch to me. It prompted me to check the blurb and reviews for the second book which tended to confirm that the extraordinary takes over. Still, that doesn't stop the plot from being fun and Traber Burns played with it in a fun way. I intend to read Book 2 sometime soon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 08-31-14

A Decent LIsten

Traber Burns is totally competent. He manages to stay invisible while bringing out the idiosyncrasies of each character in this ensemble… The guy has the spoken-artist chops for this Audible major league.

I don't know why it took me so long to try a Tanenbaum novel. If No Lesser Plea's typical… it's sure been my loss. This is a fine legal/thriller. The characters are sufficiently complex even when improbable. Even the toss-away folks in this book grabbed my attention. Tanenbaum has the pace of a NASCAR driver. He wails around the curves of internal action without losing traction.

How much did I like it? I'm off to download another Tannenbaum.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • JD
  • 12-09-14

Yawn. All character development with no plot

Would you try another book from Robert K. Tanenbaum and/or Traber Burns?

Probably not - there was too much focus on developing an uninteresting protagonist and not enough on the plot. This was ironic given that he dedicated the book to someone and thanked them for telling him to focus more on Carp (the protagonist). I guess it's what some people like, but wasn't nearly enough to keep me interested. I made it halfway thought before I gave up.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The narration was ok, but he might as well have been reading the nutrition facts on a box of raisin bran.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lia
  • Sutton, Australia
  • 03-14-16

A legal Thriller That Gets Lost In Its Own Antics

Robert K. Tannenbaum has created a well-regarded series of legal thrillers set in New York City and featuring D.A. Roger 'Butch' Karp. I have listened to one other in this series and decided to start from the beginning. This one is the first and is set from 1970-1973.

The main legal focus of the book and the source of the title is the case of Mandeville Louis, a user of men and women who masterminds a murderous liquor store heist and causes his get away driver to die from an overdose. Louis has a plan to avoid punishment by faking to be mentally ill and eventually plea bargain his way to freedom based on time served in a mental institution rather than a harsher penal institution (shades of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest').

Butch Karp sniffs out the true legal motives of Louis and writes in magic marker on the case file 'No Lesser Plea' just in case it comes up for review again and he is not informed.

The legal story is quite good but Tannenbaum's story bogs down in the antics of the District Attorney's office (it reminds me of the movie M*A*S*H but without the excuse of an insane war to push the characters to the edge of sanity). There are way too much distractions with office relationships. When it appears that the book is going to pick up steam it just dies and goes back to office chit-chat.
Butch's friend Guma is insufferable (he drags pistols out of the evidence room to play cops and robbers and then promptly loses some of them, he sets of a C-4 charge in a reflection pool during an office garden party, has sex on his office desk and so on) and the whole office politics scene is too hurried. If Tannenbaum had paced himself a bit these antics would have been more tolerable. As they are presented, they distract from the legal thriller at hand.

Traber Burns was just OK with the delivery of the story. His male voices were passable but the female voices were way below par.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Irritating voice

This may well be a good crime novel, but I found the reader's voice so grating that I just could not listen to it.