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Publisher's Summary

A gripping, poignant, and masterful courtroom novel, The Best Defense is a major work from one of America's most popular writers.

After her recent harrowing experiences, attorney Barbara Holloway isn't looking to take on any new courtroom cases; instead she's happy working from a booth in a cafe in the local working-class neighborhood.

But when the sister of "Baby Killer" Kennerman asks for help, Barbara reluctantly looks into matters and finds that incompetent lawyers and a smear campaign from the local right-wing press are going to allow a killer to go free. The deeper Barbara delves into the case, the more atrocities she finds and the more she believes that the best defense may not be enough.

With this extraordinary novel, Kate Wilhelm returns to the marvelous milieu of Death Qualified, bringing us a legal thriller of the finest caliber.

It's legal: download more of Barbara Holloway's cases.
©1994 Kate Wilhelm; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    95
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    98
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    51
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    48
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    2
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    2
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Alex
  • Laguna Beach, CA, USA
  • 12-19-04

Couldn't put it down

Anna Fields now has a fan in me for her character readings. And Kate Wilhelm's plot is full of surprises and new twists. Great investigative and courtroom scenes. I could not put it down, and found myself looking for an excuse to get back to the book. It is a great sequel to Death Qualified. I highly recommend it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Salem, OR, USA
  • 06-17-04

Wilhelm books do not disappoint

Because it was a recent release, I got it thinking it was next in the series. It is actually an earlier novel, and that is the only thing I regretted. The book kept my interest and the narration brings the characters alive. I recommend.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Triple Winner

This book is a winner three times over for its characters, plot and narration. Once again, Kate Wilhelm has written a compelling, creative, and challenging story that is very hard to put down until the very end. Barbara Holloway is a complex character and despite the brilliance of her legal acumen, her humanity is what comes through most clearly on every page. The plot takes a remarkable number of disparate facts and weaves them together slowly until the very end when the entire picture becomes suddenly clear -- the result of Wilhelm's masterful writing. The continually developing relationship between Barbara and her father is another intriquing element of the plot that captures the most human elements of Barbara's character, necessary to counter the brilliance of her skills as a trial lawyer. Anna Fields narration is another fine example of her skilled mastery of an artform.

I highly recommend this book, but also recommend it best for a long drive or flight, as it is very difficult to put down once you begin.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Love this author!

I have read another of Kate Wilheim's from Audible and absolutely loved both of them. Your interest never wanes and the pace of the story is such you don't want to quit listening. Also, the narrator is so good, I Googled her and was not surprised how "seasoned" she is in her craft. Changing her voice for the various characters is amazing. Don't miss this one!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Love the author, love the reader

I first downloaded this book in 2006. I really like Barbara Holloway and her dad and Bailey - Just relistening for the 3rd time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

90 when you are 96

Would you consider the audio edition of The Best Defense to be better than the print version?

yes, because the late great Anna Fields reads this, and it was a non stop listen

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

yes, very well done. this is my first kate Wilhelm, and I have purchased more that are read by ms fields.

Which scene was your favorite?

when "Bill" apologizes

Any additional comments?

If you like a "who dun-nit" and a great reader who can bring a story alive, this one is for you

  • Overall

Excellent -- and a great narrator!

The first Wilhelm novel heard, and excellent story. She took a tough topic and wrote it brilliantly. Loved this narrator, and was disappointed by some of the others. WHY does an author use many different readers?

  • Overall

Might be good ...

The story was interesting enough, especially the beginning. Unfortunately, by 3/4 of the way through, I couldn't stand to listen to the narrator any longer. I didn't even care anymore how the story ended. Interestingly, my husband really liked this audiobook.
This narrator really "overacts" and tries too hard to sound male during the male parts, and just sounds silly. It's a shame more narrators don't "get" that reading an audiobook is not the same as radio theatre. Maybe some listeners enjoy that approach. I like audiobooks read with enough expression to capture the atmosphere created by the writing. If I "notice" the narrator much, it's probably because they're annoying. If I forget that I am listening instead of reading, the narrator is a master.
I gave 2 stars instead of 1 because the story isn't bad.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Language

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Anyone who doesn't mind profanity! I love a good mystery and have read hundreds without bad language.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Still looking!

Would you be willing to try another one of Anna Fields’s performances?

I would have to give it a lot of thought.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment!

Any additional comments?

I didn't even listen to 5 minutes of this book. WHY do authors use bad language in their books? I would never recommend this author to anyone! I question the narrator in their choice too!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good Story - Distracting Reader

I will listen to other books by this author, but I'll first try to find a different reader before purchasing. The story was a good one - especially for anyone near the Caylee / Casey Anthony case hear in Central Florida. It shows how quick we can be to judge, and be wrong. The reader was fine until she did male voices. The low, gruffness coming from a woman was LOL comedic and distracted from the story. The balance of her reading was quite good.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful