Saturday, December 22, 2007

Enemy Combatant-Ed Gaffney

Enemy Combatant
Ed Gaffney
Dell, Mar 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9780440243748

In Phoenix, the jury selection in the case against Hispanic Muslim Juan Gomez accused of being a terrorist mass murderer is an injustice as the public defender appointed to represent the indicted does nothing. In the gallery watching the proceedings, a disgusted attorney Tom Carpenter opens his mouth that the proceedings are a travesty as no objections to obviously biased people have occurred. The judge assigns Carpenter to represent the seemingly already convicted Gomez.

During the trial Carpenter finds justice is not blind it is dead in this case as everything is set for the prosecution to gain a conviction. In the courthouse bathroom a hooded attacker holding a gun to his head warns Carpenter that if he is overly zealous in his defense, meaning acquittal, his family will pay the price. When he sees the same person working for the defense, Carpenter realizes he needs to learn who his adversary is and what he really knows as he begins to believe that the bathroom incident was a warning to protect his family not a threat.

This interesting legal thriller raises the question whether justice in American can be blind when it comes to a radical fundamentalist Muslim. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that Carpenter opens his mouth in court and never slows down as the audience is captivated by his defense of his client, who fascinatingly he does not like. Although the support cast on all sides of the courtroom and elsewhere seem more caricature than developed, readers will appreciate this entertaining thriller in which entitlement to a lawyer is not entitlement to a reasonably good defense.

Harriet Klausner