In The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer, Assistant District Attorney Jamie Brock is going through some tough times. Her father is dying. The man convicted of killing her mother years ago is about to be executed. Prison inmates are refusing to accept plea bargains in an effort to tie up the courts. As Jamie struggles with the memories of her mother's death, she must be careful not to get too emotionally involved in a murder case in which the defendant is the lawyer who represented her mother’s killer.
The Last Plea Bargain is an incredible book. It contains all the elements any reader would expect in a legal thriller and so much more. There are courtroom scenes, ethical dilemmas, attacks on the ability of the criminal justice system to operate efficiently, blackmail, convictions, appeals, and the debate over the use of the death penalty. In addition, it is rife with Jamie’s personal and psychological issues. Her unresolved feelings from years ago coupled with her thirst for justice make it difficult for her to view events in shades other than black and white. This also leaves her insecure and unable to trust the motives of other people.
While the premise of many books that center on the law can be predictable or boring, The Last Plea Bargain could never be categorized as such. There is so much action and a multilayered storyline that keeps the reader engaged. In fact, just when I thought everything had been wrapped up, the author drops an unexpected bomb about the role one of the characters played in the manipulation of the legal system.
Randy Singer incorporates many elements to entertain the reader. There are numerous plot twists to keep the reader off guard. He allows the reader to understand Jamie’s character by emphasizing not only her strengths, but her flaws and insecurities as well. I found this helped me feel a more personal connection with her. Because Jamie’s brother is a preacher, religion has a prominent role in the story. However, it is utilized mainly in terms of forgiveness and expressing the sanctity of human life. Any adult looking for a great story with numerous surprises should read The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer.
(Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views)