A Defense for the Dead

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Macmillan, May 1, 2004 - Fiction - 320 pages
2 Reviews
The murderer is known as Van Gogh. Leaving a bloody trail of bodies up and down the east coast, every one of the serial killer's targets receives his gruesome signature: the removal of the victim's right ear. After ten such bodies, the FBI tracks him down and takes him out, putting an end to an horrific mystery. For Boston attorney Jimmy Morrissey, however, Van Gogh's death is only the beginning.

Jimmy Morrissey has problems of his own. His wife has cancer, his practice is floundering, and his receptionist is trying to use him as his own personal bodyguard. Things only get worse when two FBI agents let him in on a chilling piece of evidence found in Van Gogh's apartment: abeautiful woman's headshot, with Morrisey's name and address on the back.

It isn't tool long before Morrissey realizes that he's been sent a message from beyond thegrave. The tightly wrapped Van Gogh case begins to unravel with every new detail Jimmy uncovers, which could mean that a murderer is still at large. But finding out the truth means taking on a client that technically doesn't exist, living Jimmy Morrissey as Defense for the Dead.
 

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This was a very well-written murder mystery - more educated-sounding than many (perhaps because the writer is a lawyer). All in all, I thought it was pretty fun, pretty exciting, with a little bit of a twist at the end. Honestly, it was the ambiguous ending coupled with its implausibility that ruined the book a bit for me. But I think I would still read another by him. 

Contents

The Sheep Lie
13
Brandy Petes
25
Cherchez la Femme
35
Nobodys Perfect
47
The Drooping Lizard
59
Nickel Epiphanies 13
73
Your Mothers Maiden Name
89
Mouthful
99
The Ticker
199
Light Typing
205
The Law Is Not an Ass
217
Tassels
221
Fetish
233
The Divine Plan
239
All Ears
253
The Canary
261

Stock
109
The Grain Exchange 125
124
There Are No Coincidences
131
Body by Fisher
137
St TheresaLutheran
143
Living with a Stranger
147
Incoming
159
Vidi Vici Veni
165
Dolphins and Ashes 115
175
Mine Eyes
193
The Plays the Thing
265
More Than You Can Handle
277
My Hero
285
Vice Versa
289
Sandwich Board
299
Postit
303
Honest John
307
The Next Right Thing
311
Afterword
319
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Michael Fredrickson was born in rural Minnesota. He received his B.A. from Macalester College, studied English literature at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and at the University of Toronto. He worked as a college professor, a hippy farmer, an auto mechanic, a lumberjack, a bar musician, and a singing telegrapher before obtaining his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Fredrickson spent five years working in a large Boston law firm before becoming general counsel to the state agency that polices lawyers in Massachusetts. He has also taught legal ethics and other subjects at Boston law schools. His fascination with the ethical dilemmas lawyers face is evident his crime novels, particularly A Cinderella Affidavit (1999) and A Defense for the Dead (2004). His second novel, A Witness for the Dead (2001), was a Boston Globe bestseller and the biggest seller of the year at Spencer's Mystery Bookshop in Boston.

Fredrickson lives with his wife and son in the Boston area. He summers on Cape Cod and still returns regularly to visit friends and family in Minnesota. He has participated both as a teacher and as a student in the Demos Writers' Workshop.

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