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The King of Torts

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 2004
Theofficeofthepublicdefenderisnotknownasatraininggroundforbrightyounglitigators.ClayCarterhasbeentheretoolongand,likemostofhiscolleagues,dreamsofabetterjobinarealfirm.Whenhereluctantlytakesthecaseofayoungmanchargedwitharandomstreetkilling,heassumesitisjustanotherofthemanysenselessmurdersthathitD.C.everyweek.

Ashedigsintothebackgroundofhisclient,Claystumblesonaconspiracytoohorribletobelieve.Hesuddenlyfindshimselfinthemiddleofacomplexcaseagainstoneofthelargestpharmaceuticalcompaniesintheworld,lookingatthekindofenormoussettlementthatwouldtotallychangehislife—thatwouldmakehim,almostovernight,thelegalprofession’snewestkingoftorts...


FromtheHardcoveredition.
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Specificații

ISBN-13: 9780440241539
ISBN-10: 0440241537
Pagini: 472
Dimensiuni: 108 x 175 x 27 mm
Greutate: 0.24 kg
Editura: Random House
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Recenzii

“Rousing...Anotherpedal-to-the-metalcrowd-pleaser.”—People

“OfferseverythingoneexpectsfromGrisham...deliverswithavengeance.”—TheSeattleTimes

“Satisfying...alotoffun...Whenyoufinishit,you’rereadytodashontothenextGrisham.”—EntertainmentWeekly
 
“Athrillrideoftwistsandturns.”—ThePhiladelphiaInquirer

Notă biografică

JOHNGRISHAMistheauthorofSkippingChristmas,TheSummons,APaintedHouse,TheBrethren,TheTestament,TheStreetLawyer,ThePartner,TheRunawayJury,TheRainmaker,TheChamber,TheClient,ThePelicanBrief,TheFirm,andATimetoKill.


FromtheHardcoveredition.

Extras

THESHOTSTHATFIREDthebulletsthatenteredPumpkin'sheadwereheardbynolessthaneightpeople.Threeinstinctivelyclosedtheirwindows,checkedtheirdoorlocks,andwithdrewtothesafety,oratleasttheseclusion,oftheirsmallapartments.Twoothers,eachwithexperienceinsuchmatters,ranfromthevicinityasfastifnotfasterthanthegunmanhimself.Another,theneighborhoodrecyclingfanatic,wasdiggingthroughsomegarbageinsearchofaluminumcanswhenheheardthesharpsoundsofthedailyskirmish,verynearby.Hejumpedbehindapileofcardboardboxesuntiltheshellingstopped,theneasedintothealleywherehesawwhatwasleftofPumpkin.

Andtwosawalmosteverything.Theyweresittingonplasticmilkcrates,atthecornerofGeorgiaandLamontinfrontofaliquorstore,partiallyhiddenbyaparkedcarsothatthegunman,whoglancedaroundbrieflybeforefollowingPumpkinintothealley,didn'tseethem.Bothwouldtellthepolicethattheysawtheboywiththegunreachintohispocketandpullitout;theysawthegunforsure,asmallblackpistol.Asecondlatertheyheardtheshots,thoughtheydidnotactuallyseePumpkintaketheminthehead.Anothersecond,andtheboywiththegundartedfromthealleyand,forsomereason,ranstraightintheirdirection.Heranbentatthewaist,likeascareddog,guiltyashell.Heworered-and-yellowbasketballshoesthatseemedfivesizestoobigandslappedthepavementashemadehisgetaway.

Whenheranbythemhewasstillholdingthegun,probablya.38,andheflinchedjustforainstantwhenhesawthemandrealizedtheyhadseentoomuch.Foroneterrifyingsecond,heseemedtoraisethegunasiftoeliminatethewitnesses,bothofwhommanagedtoflipbackwardfromtheirplasticmilkcratesandscrambleoffinamadflurryofarmsandlegs.Thenhewasgone.

Oneofthemopenedthedoortotheliquorstoreandyelledforsomeonetocallthepolice,therehadbeenashooting.

Thirtyminuteslater,thepolicereceivedacallthatayoungmanmatchingthedescriptionoftheonewhohadwastedPumpkinhadbeenseentwiceonNinthStreetcarryingaguninopenviewandactingstrangerthanmostofthepeopleonNinth.Hehadtriedtolureatleastonepersonintoanabandonedlot,buttheintendedvictimhadescapedandreportedtheincident.

Thepolicefoundtheirmananhourlater.HisnamewasTequilaWatson,blackmale,agetwenty,withtheusualdrug-relatedpolicerecord.Nofamilytospeakof.Noaddress.Thelastplacehe'dbeensleepingwasarehabunitonWStreet.He'dmanagedtoditchthegunsomewhere,andifhe'drobbedPumpkinthenhe'dalsothrownawaythecashordrugsorwhateverthebootywas.Hispocketswereclean,aswerehiseyes.ThecopswerecertainTequilawasnotundertheinfluenceofanythingwhenhewasarrested.Aquickandroughinterrogationtookplaceonthestreet,thenhewashandcuffedandshovedintotherearseatofaD.C.policecar.

TheydrovehimbacktoLamontStreet,wheretheyarrangedanimpromptuencounterwiththetwowitnesses.Tequilawasledintothealleywherehe'dleftPumpkin."Everbeenherebefore?"acopasked.

Tequilasaidnothing,justgawkedatthepuddleoffreshbloodonthedirtyconcrete.Thetwowitnesseswereeasedintothealley,thenledquietlytoaspotnearTequila.

"That'shim,"bothsaidatthesametime.

"He'swearingthesameclothes,samebasketballshoes,everythingbutthegun."

"That'shim."

"Nodoubtaboutit."

Tequilawasshovedintothecaronceagainandtakentojail.Hewasbookedformurderandlockedawaywithnoimmediatechanceofbail.Whetherthroughexperienceorjustfear,Tequilaneversaidawordtothecopsastheypriedandcajoledandeventhreatened.Nothingincriminating,nothinghelpful.NoindicationofwhyhewouldmurderPumpkin.Noclueastotheirhistory,ifoneexistedatall.Aveterandetectivemadeabriefnoteinthefilethatthekillingappearedabitmorerandomthanwascustomary.

Nophonecallwasrequested.Nomentionofalawyerorabailbondsman.Tequilaseemeddazedbutcontenttositinacrowdedcellandstareatthefloor.

PUMPKINHADNOTRACEABLEfatherbuthismotherworkedasasecurityguardinthebasementofalargeofficebuildingonNewYorkAvenue.Ittookthreehoursforthepolicetodetermineherson'srealname--Ram-nPumphrey--tolocatehisaddress,andtofindaneighborwillingtotellthemifhehadamother.

AdelfaPumphreywassittingbehindadeskjustinsidethebasemententrance,supposedlywatchingabankofmonitors.Shewasalargethickwomaninatightkhakiuniform,agunonherwaist,alookofcompletedisinterestonherface.Thecopswhoapproachedherhaddonesoahundredtimes.Theybrokethenews,thenfoundhersupervisor.

Inacitywhereyoungpeoplekilledeachothereveryday,theslaughterhadthickenedskinsandhardenedhearts,andeverymotherknewmanyotherswho'dlosttheirchildren.Eachlossbroughtdeathastepcloser,andeverymotherknewthatanydaycouldbethelast.Themothershadwatchedtheotherssurvivethehorror.AsAdelfaPumphreysatatherdeskwithherfaceinherhands,shethoughtofhersonandhislifelessbodylyingsomewhereinthecityatthatmoment,beinginspectedbystrangers.

Shesworerevengeonwhoeverkilledhim.

Shecursedhisfatherforabandoningthechild.

Shecriedforherbaby.

Andsheknewshewouldsurvive.Somehow,shewouldsurvive.

ADELFAWENTTOCOURTtowatchthearraignment.Thepolicetoldherthepunkwho'dkilledhersonwasscheduledtomakehisfirstappearance,aquickandroutinematterinwhichhewouldpleadnotguiltyandaskforalawyer.Shewasinthebackrowwithherbrotherononesideandaneighborontheother,hereyesleakingtearsintoadamphandkerchief.Shewantedtoseetheboy.Shealsowantedtoaskhimwhy,butsheknewshewouldnevergetthechance.

Theyherdedthecriminalsthroughlikecattleatanauction.Allwereblack,allworeorangecoverallsandhandcuffs,allwereyoung.Suchwaste.

Inadditiontohishandcuffs,Tequilawasadornedwithwristandanklechainssincehiscrimewasespeciallyviolent,thoughhelookedfairlyharmlesswhenhewasshuffledintothecourtroomwiththenextwaveofoffenders.Heglancedaroundquicklyatthecrowdtoseeifherecognizedanyone,toseeifjustmaybesomeonewasoutthereforhim.Hewasseatedinarowofchairs,andforgoodmeasureoneofthearmedbailiffsleaneddownandsaid,"Thatboyyoukilled.That'shismotherbackthereinthebluedress."

Withhisheadlow,TequilaslowlyturnedandlookeddirectlyintothewetandpuffyeyesofPumpkin'smother,butonlyforasecond.Adelfastaredattheskinnyboyintheoversizedcoverallsandwonderedwherehismotherwasandhowshe'draisedhimandifhehadafather,and,mostimportant,howandwhyhispathhadcrossedthatofherboy's.Thetwowereaboutthesameageastherestofthem,lateteensorearlytwenties.Thecopshadtoldherthatitappeared,atleastinitially,thatdrugswerenotinvolvedinthekilling.Butsheknewbetter.Drugswereinvolvedineverylayerofstreetlife.Adelfaknewitalltoowell.Pumpkinhadusedpotandcrackandhe'dbeenarrestedonce,forsimplepossession,buthehadneverbeenviolent.Thecopsweresayingitlookedlikearandomkilling.Allstreetkillingswererandom,herbrotherhadsaid,buttheyallhadareason.

Ononesideofthecourtroomwasatablearoundwhichtheauthoritiesgathered.Thecopswhisperedtotheprosecutors,whoflippedthroughfilesandreportsandtriedvaliantlytokeepthepaperworkaheadofthecriminals.Ontheothersidewasatablewherethedefenselawyerscameandwentastheassemblylinesputteredalong.DrugchargeswererattledoffbytheJudge,anarmedrobbery,somevaguesexualattack,moredrugs,lotsofparoleviolations.Whentheirnameswerecalled,thedefendantswereledforwardtothebench,wheretheystoodinsilence.Paperworkwasshuffled,thentheywerehauledoffagain,backtojail.

"TequilaWatson,"abailiffannounced.

Hewashelpedtohisfeetbyanotherbailiff.Hestutter-steppedforward,chainsrattling.

"Mr.Watson,youarechargedwithmurder,"theJudgeannouncedloudly."Howoldareyou?"

"Twenty,"Tequilasaid,lookingdown.

Themurderchargehadechoedthroughthecourtroomandbroughtatemporarystillness.Theothercriminalsinorangelookedonwithadmiration.Thelawyersandcopswerecurious.

"Canyouaffordalawyer?"

"No."

"Didn'tthinkso,"theJudgemumbledandglancedatthedefensetable.ThefertilefieldsoftheD.C.SuperiorCourtCriminalDivision,FelonyBranch,wereworkedonadailybasisbytheOfficeofthePublicDefender,thesafetynetforallindigentdefendants.Seventypercentofthedocketwashandledbycourt-appointedcounsel,andatanytimetherewereusuallyhalfadozenPDsmillingaroundincheapsuitsandbatteredloaferswithfilesstickingoutoftheirbriefcases.Atthatprecisemoment,however,onlyonePDwaspresent,theHonorableClayCarterII,whohadstoppedbytocheckontwomuchlesserfelonies,andnowfoundhimselfallaloneandwantingtoboltfromthecourtroom.HeglancedtohisrightandtohisleftandrealizedthatHisHonorwaslookingathim.WherehadalltheotherPDsgone?

Aweekearlier,Mr.Carterhadfinishedamurdercase,onethathadlastedforalmostthreeyearsandhadfinallybeenclosedwithhisclientbeingsentawaytoaprisonfromwhichhewouldneverleave,atleastnotofficially.ClayCarterwasquitehappyhisclientwasnowlockedup,andhewasrelievedthathe,atthatmoment,hadnomurderfilesonhisdesk.

That,evidently,wasabouttochange.

"Mr.Carter?"theJudgesaid.Itwasnotanorder,butaninvitationtostepforwardtodowhateveryPDwasexpectedtodo--defendtheindigent,regardlessofthecase.Mr.Cartercouldnotshowweakness,especiallywiththecopsandprosecutorswatching.Heswallowedhard,refusedtoflinch,andwalkedtothebenchasifhejustmightdemandajurytrialrightthereandthen.HetookthefilefromtheJudge,quicklyskimmeditsratherthincontentswhileignoringthepleadinglookofTequilaWatson,thensaid,"We'llenterapleaofnotguilty,YourHonor."

"Thankyou,Mr.Carter.Andwe'llshowyouascounselofrecord?"

"Fornow,yes."Mr.CarterwasalreadyplottingexcusestounloadthiscaseonsomeoneelseatOPD.

"Verywell.Thankyou,"theJudgesaid,alreadyreachingforthenextfile.

Lawyerandclienthuddledatthedefensetableforafewminutes.CartertookasmuchinformationasTequilawaswillingtogive,whichwasverylittle.Hepromisedtostopbythejailthenextdayforalongerinterview.Astheywhispered,thetablewassuddenlycrowdedwithyounglawyersfromthePD'soffice,colleaguesofCarter'swhoseemedtomaterializefromnowhere.

Wasthisasetup?Carteraskedhimself.Hadtheydisappearedknowingamurderdefendantwasintheroom?Inthepastfiveyears,he'dpulledsuchstuntshimself.DuckingthenastyoneswasanartformatOPD.

Hegrabbedhisbriefcaseandhurriedaway,downthecenteraisle,pastrowsofworriedrelatives,pastAdelfaPumphreyandherlittlesupportgroup,intothehallwaycrammedwithmanymorecriminalsandtheirmommasandgirlfriendsandlawyers.TherewerethoseinOPDwhosworetheylivedforthechaosoftheH.CarlMoultrieCourthouse--thepressureoftrials,thehintofdangerfrompeoplesharingthesamespacewithsomanyviolentmen,thepainfulconflictbetweenvictimsandtheirassailants,thehopelesslyovercrowdeddockets,thecallingtoprotectthepoorandensurefairtreatmentbythecopsandthesystem.

IfClayCarterhadeverbeenattractedtoacareerinOPD,hecouldnotnowrememberwhy.Inoneweekthefifthanniversaryofhisemploymenttherewouldcomeandgo,withoutcelebration,and,hopefully,withoutanyoneknowingit.Claywasburnedoutattheageofthirty-one,stuckinanofficehewasashamedtoshowhisfriends,lookingforanexitwithnoplacetogo,andnowsaddledwithanothersenselessmurdercasethatwasgrowingheavierbytheminute.

Intheelevatorhecursedhimselfforgettingnailedwithamurder.Itwasarookie'smistake;he'dbeenaroundmuchtoolongtostepintothetrap,especiallyonesetonsuchfamiliarturf.I'mquitting,hepromisedhimself;thesamevowhehadutteredalmosteverydayforthepastyear.

Thereweretwoothersintheelevator.Onewasacourtclerkofsomevariety,withherarmsfulloffiles.Theotherwasafortyishgentlemandressedindesignerblack--jeans,T-shirt,jacket,alligatorboots.Heheldanewspaperandappearedtobereadingitthroughsmallglassesperchedonthetipofhisratherlongandelegantnose;infact,hewasstudyingClay,whowasoblivious.Whywouldsomeonepayanyattentiontoanyoneelseonthiselevatorinthisbuilding?

IfClayCarterhadbeenalertinsteadofbrooding,hewouldhavenoticedthatthegentlemanwastoowelldressedtobeadefendant,buttoocasualtobealawyer.Hecarriednothingbutanewspaper,whichwassomewhatoddbecausetheH.CarlMoultrieCourthousewasnotknownasaplaceforreading.Hedidnotappeartobeajudge,aclerk,avictim,oradefendant,butClaynevernoticedhim.


FromtheHardcoveredition.