Capitol Offense by William Bernhardt
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Reviewing William Bernhardt's "Capitol Offense" is not an easy task. This mystery/court drama has so many utterly moronic features that a one-star rating would be overly generous. Yet, it is not completely devoid of interesting stuff. For instance, the opening sentence, "I died three days ago", is pretty neat.
A female doctor in Oklahoma disappears, after having a car accident in a remote area. Her husband tries to have the police look for her, but for seven days he is unable to convince a detective to issue an APB or even to begin a search. After his wife is finally found, too late to be saved, he apparently has plans to kill the detective who indirectly caused her death and consults Ben Kincaid, a senator and a successful lawyer, to arrange a pardon for him for the murder. The whole premise is so idiotic that I was almost ready to stop reading the book, which I almost never do (I have not finished only two books in the last 20 years).
While the author's writing is occasionally so bad that I enjoyed it for entertainment purposes, the court drama part is quite interesting and competently written. Plausibility of the denouement is rather feeble. I enjoyed one passage: "People might not be willing to admit to extreme, even uncontrollable emotions with regard to their spouses. But a kitty was a different thing altogether."
"Capitol Offense" is quite a readable book, but in a wrong way. One wants to turn the pages, without reading them, just to learn the ending.
One and a half stars.
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