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Remains Silent [Hardcover]

Michael Baden , Linda Kenney

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Book Description

30 Aug 2005
From Michael Baden (former New York City chief medical examiner, chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police and for the U.S. Congress investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and host of the hit HBO series Autopsy) and Linda Kenney (civil rights attorney and guest legal commentator on Court TV, CNN, and MSNBC), a masterful debut crime novel–the first in a stunning new series in contemporary suspense–that brilliantly mines the worlds of forensic science and law and introduces an irresistible crime-fighting team.
Philomena “Manny” Manfreda is a crusading attorney for the disenfranchised. Five years out of law school, with an apartment not much bigger than one of her beloved Prada shoe boxes and a burgeoning reputation as one of the city’s fiercest litigators, Manny is an unabashed shopaholic who changes her hair color weekly, carries her poodle, Mycroft, everywhere, and whose idea of therapy is the preparation of an eight-course Italian meal.

Dr. Jake Rosen is the deputy chief medical examiner of New York City, a confirmed workaholic and bachelor who lives alone in an oversized nineteenth-century Manhattan brownstone littered with morbid memorabilia and forensic artifacts, and who divides his life between the autopsy table and Chinese takeout.

When a body is unearthed beneath the construction site of a mall near the Catskill Mountains, Jake is called to the scene by his elderly mentor, Dr. Pete Harrigan, to examine the bones. Further investigation reveals a gruesome discovery: additional skeletal remains with striking abnormalities. After one of the victims is identified, the family of the deceased retains Manny to represent them, and, with Jake, she is swept into a terrifying vortex of murder and deceit, where a mounting body count hides both a shocking cover-up and a devastating love story.

A chilling debut that introduces a major new voice in crime fiction.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.9 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could be better 22 Aug 2005
By N. Gargano - Published on
I wasn't really sure how to review this book....3,4 or 5 was a really fast, fun, interesting, hard to put down book...yet it was a little shallow, and.....surface.....

not sure how to explain.

I guess what I am trying to say, it was predictable, and mystery "light", yet it was so fun, and I read it in a has been a long time since I started a book and couldn't put it down until it was finished. Well worth the read, I hope there will be another one coming with the same characters because I am not ready to let them go.....

Hard to, quick book, good mystery, interesting forensics, not a five, but a strong four.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Are two sleuths better than one? 16 Aug 2005
By E. Bukowsky - Published on
Michael Baden is a former New York City Chief Medical Examiner and his wife, Linda Kenney, is an attorney and television commentator. Baden and Kenney are also the joint authors of "Remains Silent," a mystery featuring forensic pathologist Jake Rosen and attorney Philomena "Manny" Manfreda. Jake is a recently divorced workaholic and Manny is a crusader who specializes in helping the downtrodden. In many ways, Manny and Jake are polar opposites. She is a fashionista. He dresses in rumpled and out-of-date clothes. She is passionate and excitable. He is cool and collected. However, both Manny and Jake share one important characteristic. Neither one can stand idly by when someone needs help.

Jake's mentor, seventy-two year old Pete Harrigan, is one of the few people in the world whom Jake truly admires. Pete retired from his job as a forensic anthropologist in New York City, and he is now a medical examiner in upstate New York. Although Pete appears to be troubled and physically ill, Jake cannot find out what is tormenting his old friend. All Pete will say is that he wants Jake to come up and examine some old bones that have been found at a local construction site. Jake soon determines that the bones are human and that the skeletons may be the remains of homicide victims. He enlists Manny's help in solving what turns out to be a decades old crime.

Unsurprisingly, there are people who do not want the truth about these old bones to surface, and when Jake and Manny dig into the past, they find themselves in danger. As the plot plays out, there are burglaries, assaults, murder attempts, and quite a few twists and turns. "Remains Silent" is a competently written and mildly humorous novel, and Jake and Manny generate some romantic sparks. However, the novel goes downhill towards the end when Baden and Kenney come up with too many far-out revelations. Overall, this is an average thriller in what promises to be an ongoing series featuring these two amateur sleuths.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars poorly done... 13 Mar 2006
By M.Carlington - Published on
I found this book horribly dull and unbelievable, not to mention very poorly edited. Who edited the book - the authors' dog? Not only the car snafu, but on pgs. 28-30 Harrigan is misrepresented repeatedly as Harrington! A huge disappointment after the back cover's glowing reviews. So glad I didn't spend a penny on the book, rather, checked it out from my local library.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Spend your time on better things. 30 Oct 2005
By Keith Nichols - Published on
This humdrum novel features a pathologist who seems reasonably plausible and a trial lawyer who I believe is supposed to come across as a real courtroom star but who probably should have her license revoked for incompetence. Her real talent appears to be in wearing expensive clothes, which might lead to some sort of viable career after her legal practice expires.

I read that the coauthors of this volume are in fact a well-known forensic pathologist and his wife, who is an attorney. Considering this, the book's mystery becomes less to do with its plot and more with why the lawyer protagonist is such a ditz when she obviously is not supposed to be seen as such.

I did find things about autopsies and other forensic esoterica that were interesting, although the characters are not quite believable. But weak character development is a common problem with most of the vast number of crime novels flooding the market these days.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Authors should not insult the intelligence of their readers 14 Sep 2005
By Jerry Saperstein - Published on
By page 19, it was clear that the authors and editors of this novel don't respect the intelligence of their readers. I gave up entirely at page 47. Within these few pages the authors establish themselves as celebrities trading on their fame, not their ability to write passable fiction.

One of the two primary characters, Philomena "Manny" Manfreda, "a crusading attorney for the disenfranchised" is as believable as a three-dollar bill. "Only five years out of law school, with an apartment not much bigger than one of her Prada show boes and a burgeoning reputation as one of the city's fiercest litigators . . ." raves the dustjacket, a theme further described in the first 19 pages.

However, Manny Manfreda is portrayed as one of the most incompetent litigators ever seen in print. The story opens with Manny rushing to federal court. Of course, Manny's court wardrobe must be described with a catalog of famous names: just the kind of clothes one would wear to impress a jury determining whether the "establishment" had wronged the "underdog" - or if a money-grubbing attorney were simply picking someone's deep pockets. (A federal marshall suggests she not wear her "Italian designer black-on-black fabric-embroidered d'Orsay pumps" with the metal in the heels, so she stop setting off the courthouse security system. Manny, of course, is running late for court when she is once again pulled aside for special screening because of her shoes. Gotta admit: this Manny is one smart cookie, reminding me of Paris Hilton.)

Manny is cross-examining an expert witness, the famous pathologist, Jake Rosen. (Of course, let's not forget for a single moment, that authors Linda Kenney and Michael Baden are, respectively, a civil rights lawyer and patholigist and both television celebrities.)

In four pages of what is supposed to be a riveting cross-examination, Manny (and the authors) reveal themselves as poseurs in the world of fiction and contemptuous of the intelligence of their readers.

Anyone even barely familiar with the civil litigation process will recognize that Manny is a total incompetent: she is cross-examining an expert witness in a civil trial without having deposed him. In civil litigation, an expert witness may be deposed before trial about their opinions. This is done to prevent exactly the kind of surprises the bumbling Manny encounters in court. The expert reveals information about the alleged victim of police brutality that Manny has never seen or heard before. This means Manny did not read the expert's report which must contain all of the expert's opinions. It also means that Manny did not depose the expert prior to trial, something impossible to believe (in real life).

Manny is not only unbelievably incompetent, she's a walking target for malpractice. In short, Manny is not only utterly fictional, but even as fiction she is unbelievable.

Linda Kenney, if her dustjacket biography is at all factual, must know this. That she ignores it is not because of any kind of fictional license: rather it is a blatant insult to her readers.

Some readers may be able to move beyond this portrayal of the well-dressed "fierce" litigator who doesn't seem to have a clue about trial procedure. I can't. For me, fictional characters must be believable. Clancy's Jack Ryan, for instance, is believable. Grisham's lawyers are often believable.

Baden and Kenney's Manny Manfreda is simply nonsensical.

There's a lot more wrong in the 47 pages I read: this is simply the absolute worst of it. This is clearly a novel published because its authors are celebrities: they and their publishers think their names alone will sell a bad story. Hopefully the reading public will prove them wrong --- as wrong as Manny Manfreda's courtroom practice.

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