A nail-biting and nuanced true-life police procedural.

STANDOFF

RACE, POLICING, AND A DEADLY ASSAULT THAT GRIPPED A NATION

An absorbing account of a 2016 ambush that left five Dallas police officers dead.

Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, Texas journalist Thompson chronicles the events before, during, and after July 7, 2016, when a disaffected man acting alone murdered five Dallas police officers and terrorized an entire city before being stopped. The author, who covered the shooting for the Washington Post and, later, the Dallas Morning News, avoids discussing the murderer until more than 200 pages into the narrative. Instead, she focuses on law enforcement and civilians who entered the line of fire, explaining why and how they converged on downtown Dallas on that fatal night. Large crowds had gathered to protest against police in various cities killing civilians without cause, especially black men. The death of Philando Castile in Minnesota had especially angered the protesters. Of all the major characters, Senior Cpl. Larry Gordon is the most memorable. A black officer and negotiator on the Dallas SWAT team, his specialty is to talk to holed-up criminals, citizens contemplating suicide, and any others within his jurisdiction who could be persuaded with words. Gordon seems ideal for his specific task due in large part to his empathy and his understanding of the complex racial undercurrents involved in police work, both of which are on full display throughout the text. As Thompson also makes clear, Gordon does not automatically cover for his brethren; he is unafraid to call out injustice when he sees it. Throughout the book, the author deftly weaves Gordon’s opinions and experiences with those of her other significant characters, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, Chief David Brown, trauma surgeon Brian Williams, public transit police officer Misty McBride, and protester Shetamia Taylor, who was shot in the leg by the perpetrator. Thompson's storytelling gift allows her to maintain suspense despite the outcome being known in advance.

A nail-biting and nuanced true-life police procedural. (photo insert)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20421-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

THE DEFENSE LAWYER

THE BARRY SLOTNICK STORY

The Patterson publishing machine clanks its way into the nonfiction aisles in this lumbering courtroom drama.

Barry Slotnick made a considerable fortune and reputation as a defense attorney who had a long list of controversial clients, including mob boss John Gotti and Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. An “urbane lawyer known for his twenty-five-hundred-dollar Fioravanti suits, he was not unacquainted with violence,” write Patterson and Wallace. One of his early cases, indeed, involved a group of Jewish Defense League members who allegedly blew up a Broadway producer’s office, killing a woman who worked there. Slotnick’s defense was a standard confuse-the-jury ploy, but it worked. He put similar tactics to work in his defense of Bernhard Goetz, the “subway shooter” whose trial made international news. The authors open after that trial had concluded in yet another Slotnick win, and with a sensational incident: He was attacked by a masked man who beat him with a baseball bat. The evidence is sketchy, but it seems to place the attack in the hands of organized crime—perhaps even Gotti himself. No matter: Slotnick, “who saw himself as the foe of the all-powerful government” and “liberty’s last champion,” was soon back to representing clients including Radovan Karadžić, the murderous Bosnian Serb who was eventually imprisoned for having committed genocide; Dewi Sukarno, the widow of Indonesia’s similarly bloodstained president, “arrested for slashing the face of a fellow socialite with a broken champagne glass at a party in Aspen”; and Melania Trump, who had chosen Slotnick “to handle her prenup.” In the hands of a John Grisham, the story might have come to life, but while Patterson does a serviceable if cliché-ridden job of recounting Slotnick’s career, he fails to give readers much reason to admire the man.

For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49437-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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