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The Last Alibi Mass Market Paperback – 3 Jun 2014

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 597 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime; Reprint edition (3 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425267741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425267745
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 10.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Jason Kolarich has fought many cases. This time, he's fighting for his life.
Jason Kolarich, defense lawyer, has it all. Until James Drinker walks into his office. Terrified he's being framed for murder, James is desperate for Jason's help. But as Jason investigates his client's story, it becomes clear that nothing about Drinker is what it seems. Unable to stop a serial killer without breaking his attorney-client oath, Jason must find out the truth, before he loses everything.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Ellis's previous novels include Line of Vision (winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel) and The Hidden Man. An attorney from Chicago, he currently serves as Chief Counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. He lives in Illinois.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Belle Maxwell on 14 Dec 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good legal thriller
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 70 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A page turner not to be missed. 1 Aug 2013
By michael a. draper - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"The Last Alibi" is the latest thriller from David Ellis, the Edgar Award winner who has written eight previous novels. Last year, he co-wrote the "New York Times" bestseller "Guilty Wives" with James Patterson.

Jason Kolarich is a hotshot attorney who has been on both the prosecuting and defense side of the courtroom. In this story, he's fighting off the effects of oxycodone addiction.

Maybe his mind wasn't as sharp as normal but he agrees to see a man who tells him his name and that he will be accused of murdering two women that he knew but had nothing to do with the crimes. He's sure that he's being set-up. Jason tries to get the man to go to the police but the man is unwilling to do so and Jason is bound by the attorney, client privilege.

Two other women are murdered and Jason feels obligated to let the authorities know about his client. When he sends the authorities information, the client calls Jason and tells him he knows Jason betrayed his trust and will suffer the consequences.

Jason ends up in jail being tried for murder. He's being defended by his best friend and partner Shauna Tasker. From this point on, the novel moves from the events in the trial to events in the months leading up to the trial. An additional character, court reporter, Alexa Himmel,approaches Jason and during the turmoil of what is going on, Alexa and Jason develop a relationship.

Jason's co-workers are concerned with Alexa and wonder if she's everything she claimed and Jason's intuition tells him that he should be wary of what is going on as Alexa becomes more and more assertive.

There are many twists and surprises in the novel which Ellis manages to write while creating gut wrenching suspense. The story moves with lightning speed and my fingers were shaking as I turned the pages. It is also one of those one of those excellent books that the reading is so intense that the reader put off other jobs in order to finish the story.

I received a free copy of this book from Librarything early reviewers and intend on going back to see if there are other books from this author so I can add them to my list.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great book BUT 24 Aug 2013
By maggierose - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading "The Hidden Man" and then "The Last Alibi". I loved them both but feel "Last Alibi" was so much better. That is one you cannot put down! However, I am SO confused about a couple of things. In "The Hidden Man", Kolarich is constantly mourning his wife and daughter Emily. But at about 70% through the book, he remembers a birthday dinner he had with his in-laws and his pregnant wife (pregnant with his son) and his daughter Emily, who he lets carry the birthday cake to the table, and he mentions how his mother-in-law passes his other daughter, a baby, Justine over to his wife Talia. Yet that daughter Justine is never again mentioned? How can that be?
He also talks in his "Hidden Man" how his wife Talia went to 3 different high schools because her dad worked for K-Mart and traveled the country opening up new stores. Then in "Last Alibi" he writes the same thing about the new girlfriend Alexa. Alex's dad traveled the country opening up new K-Marts and Alexa went to 3 different high schools. These types of what I call ERRORS bother me greatly so I don't know if I can keep reading David Ellis. I have tried to find a facebook page for David Ellis or somewhere I can contact him and ask him about this but am unable to locate anything. If you know of a way, please let me know!
But "The Last Alibi" was one of the best I have read and highly recommend it. The inconsistencies aren't noticeable if you haven't read "The Hidden Man".
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A Most Satisfying Read 1 Aug 2013
By Judie Amsel - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The plot of THE LAST ALIBI goes from twist and turns to cartwheels and somersaults. There are hints and flashbacks and lies and remembering. And it works extremely well.
The story is told from the perspective of two law partners. It begins with Jason Kolarich, a successful lawyer specializing in criminal defense cases, on trial for murder. His lawyer is his partner and best friend, Shauna Tasker.
Two and a five-line fraction pages later, it goes back six months with Kolarich defending a wealthy teenager who was arrested for the possession of two grams of crack cocaine. Kolarich’s plan is to show that his client was profiled: He was the only white person in a black area, and the discovery of the crack was the result of an illegal search. (This part of the story was eerily reminiscent of the George Zimmerman trial in Florida which ended last week.)
After the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter, Kolarich was prescribed Oxycodone to deal with the pain accompanying knee surgery. He refused to admit he was having any problems and became a serious addict.
A somewhat strange man, James Drinker, soon came to Kolarich’s office and said he was being framed for the murder of two women he knew and didn’t know how to protect himself. He said he expected the police to be questioning him soon and wanted Kolarich’s help. They meet together twice but all their other contact is by telephone: Drinker doesn’t give Kolarich his telephone number but calls him from a throw-away phone.
An additional main character, court reporter Alexa Himmel, joined the story when she brought a copy of the court proceedings to Kolarich’s home. They quickly developed an intimate relationship and she moved into his life which affected his relationships with other people as well as his addiction.
As the story progressed, more women are killed and the media began referring to the killer as the North Side Slasher. Kolarich began thinking that Drinker was the murderer and tried to figure out how to stop him without breaking his legal obligation of attorney-client privilege.
As Alexa became more involved in Kolarich’s life, she tried to drive away his other friends and support his addiction. He learned that Drinker was using both an alias an a disguise. He also realized he, Kolarich, had a connection with each of the victims and that other women he knew were potential victims. He attempted to stop the killings.
Then things changed. Kolarich determined that he was being framed for the killings and had to figure out who he knew or had known that would go after him by killing women and making it seem that Kolarich was the murderer. That became even more important when he was arrested for the murder of someone whose body was found in his home. He had no alibi.
The book was a well-written page-turner. It offered some interesting insight for some of the characters. While doodling on his legal pad, Kolarich recalled his mother saying “You have a flare for art, boy, but she was talking to my brother.”
Shauna talks about how life changed for her when her girlfriends got married and had children while her focus was her career. Their availability to get together decreased, and she either felt left out of the conversations when they talked about their husbands and children or awkward when they would deliberately change the subject so she would not feel left out, making her feel they were pitying her.
My one complaint is not unique to this book, unfortunately. I call it the James Patterson influence because I first noticed it in his books. (Ellis co-wrote two of those books.) I believe too many authors have a low expectation of the intelligence of their readers and have too many too short chapters. I mentioned the first chapter at the start. All the chapters are short, even some that follow the previous one with the same setting, characters, and time. This 465-page book could have been 150 pages shorter with fewer chapters and eliminating all the white space between chapters. Probably at least a forest could also have been saved with the need for less paper.
I received a Early Reviewers copy of this book from LibraryThing and plan to read his previous eight Jason Kolarich books.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Blah 13 Sep 2013
By J. Rodriguez - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Last Alibi continues Mr. Ellis tradition of delivering a multi-threaded plot with lots of twists and a somewhat unexpected outcome. The plot in itself is not bad but I think the author is making a poor job exploiting it.

For one, the story is told from the first person point of view but narrated by two different characters but Mr. Ellis fails to give them each a different voice. This is very confusing. One of the characters is female and the other male so at times, because of the nature of the conversation, the narrator is evident; but most of the time you can't discern who is doing the talking, unless you retrace to the beginning of the chapter where it's clearly stated in the title. Another commenter indicated this (having the name of the narrator at the beginning of the chapter) is very convenient but I find it just bad writing. Also, the purpose of this technique is typically to present different aspects of the same situation or to widen the scope of the story by narrating events in two different settings. None of these two things happen here. The narrative from the secondary character , Jason's (main character) law partner, doesn't really add anything to the story. Most of the time Jason is present and, since the voice of both characters is the same, it really doesn't make any difference who is doing the talking, other than to confuse the reader. On the few occasions in which the main character isn't present, the events described are totally unrelated to the story (the author walks us through an extremely boring trial that has nothing to do with the main plot). I've seen this type of thing done in other novels, in order to add some depth to the story, but in this case the author just brushes over these side plots in a way that never engages the reader. Past half the novel I realized this side plot was meaningless and found myself read-skipping these pages.

Mr. Ellis also employed the technique of alternately narrating events occurring in the present and past. During the 'present' narrative the author shows too much of his hand and the events of the past become unimportant because you pretty much know what happened. In a better written story you might be interested in going over those events if only to get insights on the characters or for the pure pleasure or reading a good story. This is not the case here. Mr. Ellis delivers passable prose adequate for a courtroom drama, but it's really not engaging in any other sense.

About the series, this is the fourth novel that transpires in a three year span on the life of Jason Kolarich. Being a series, the author should be more careful in building a character, and a plot, credible not only within the scope of the current book but across all of them. In addition to a number of continuity errors between books, the overall story doesn't add up. In three years Mr. Kolarich has fallen prey to two addictions and then recovered from both; first he becomes an alcoholic and then he becomes a drug addict and, with the same ease he falls in, he beats them out.

At the beginning of this three year span he suffers the lose of his wife and daughter which, by his own description, destroys his life and renders him unable to even consider another relationship; yet, in the same three year period, he falls in love twice with equally devastating effects (you'll think Mr. Kolarich is a fifteen year old girl).

There are many more flaws that I could point out, but this comment is too long already.

Verdict: I might try something different from this author, but I won't read another story in this series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Starting to get a few too many holes... 14 Oct 2013
By EinLA - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'm at chapter 43 and the book is starting to fall apart for me, which is a pity because I've been enjoying it. I like a good legal thriller, some of the dialogue has been very compelling, both in the courtroom and between Jason and Alexa, their initial meeting. But, the way Jason holds everything to himself, we are supposed to believe, because of his - obviously tenuous - code of legal ethics and his keep it all to himself, never admit failure or fear "guy" personality/back story. It really doesn't hold up for me. This is the same character who was supposed to be mature and stable enough - with enough insight - to have had a happy marriage, to be a husband and father, and a successful attorney. Now we are supposed to believe he makes these incredibly poor, poor go-it-alone choices, which are at the heart of the story. Sorry, hard to buy this, Oxycontin or not. Maybe it will get better - I'll give it a few more chapters, and edit this review if it improves. If not, back to the library with it!

So, I've just finished and I have to say that it does improve - my initial review gave it two stars, but the story becomes ever more convoluted and unbelievable. There are a few things that Jason could have done to help himself, much sooner, in terms of establishing his innocence. So the ending, although it is kind of fun, is also rather contrived and relies on the reader suspending disbelief a little too much. I don't want to give away the details in case you want to read it, but, it is just mediocre, overall. Several other reviewers have made good points in regard to the weaknesses here. I actually think the story could have been improved by avoiding such a convoluted structure, the 2-person narrative and some other aspects.
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