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Violent Ward Paperback – 29 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (29 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006479014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006479017
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 10.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

Product Description

Review

‘Deighton’s ear for dialogue and eye for lunatic-California are perfect’
Sunday Express

‘A blistering read… The guessing game continues to the final page’
Time Out

‘Crime at its most entertaining, filled with lively dialogue’
Sunday Telegraph

‘Superbly edgy. Entertaining, full of good one-liners’
Sunday Times

From the Back Cover

In 'Violent Ward', Len Deighton, the author of bestselling international thrillers, has created a lively and entertaining new character, Mickey Murphy, a criminal lawyer working in Los Angeles.

A subversive and abrasive individual not happy to part with his cash, Mickey has a classic Cadillac of which he is enormously proud, an office in a seedy downtown neighbourhood, a Hollywood-bound ex-wife who always needs money, a son at USC ('the University of Spoiled Children') and clients who would plead the Fifth Amendment if they could only count that high.

One thing Mickey does not need is to be pulled in as a suspect for a brutal murder, but that is just what happens when he starts asking questions on behalf of Ingrid Petrovich, his childhood sweetheart. Ingrid has come back into Mickey's life because her husband, self-made millionaire and street-smart entrepreneur Zack Petrovitch, has bought into Mickey's firm, probably with the idea of buying Mickey too…

What is the shady business that Ingrid has got him involved in? And how does it connect with the odd English couple Victor Crichton and Sir Jeremy Westbridge, not to mention the Reverend Edgar Stojil, otherwise known as Rainbow?

'Violent Ward' is a fast-paced, suspenseful picture of the unique people and lifestyle of Southern California, building to a breathtaking climax on the riot-torn streets of South Central Los Angeles. And it is vintage Deighton.

With a mother named Fitzgerald the Irish dimension comes naturally to Len Deighton, who lived in Ireland for more than a decade. He is the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction, including such novels as 'City of Gold, Mamista,' the 'Spy Hook, Spy Line,' and 'Spy Sinker' trilogy as well as 'Funeral in Berlin, The Ipcress File' and 'Winter'. His highly researched histories and novels of World War II such as 'Fighter, Bomber' and 'Goodbye Mickey Mouse' have all appeared to international acclaim.

Born in London, he served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York city working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, 'The Ipcress File', which was published in 1961. At present living in Europe, he has over the years lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

Here me out, buddy: They say: If America is a lunatic asylum then California is the Violent Ward. This is the place where Rodney King gets prime time. My name is Murphy and I'm a Mick lawyer with an ex-wife who sends her astrologer around demanding money so she can pay off her orthodontist. My kid has hocked his 9mm Browning using false ID. I'm in love with the wife of my wealthiest client and the cops are trying to pin a nasty homicide on me.

But there's no recession in the crime industry and my business is fine, or it might be if my German secretary could write and speak English, and my clients didn't get wasted before they paid my bills. The kind of crooks I defend never plead the Fifth because they can't count that far.

Okay, okay: So nobody loves a lawyer.

See ya in court.
M. MURPHY
ATTORNEY AT LAW

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a big Len Deighton fan and I've been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Los Angeles so this novel merged two of my key interests. The Geography is bang on, It's fun and I think it really works. A lot of reviewers say it reads like a series of vinaigrettes.
I'm not sure why that is a bad thing? I don't think the author intended it as a direct follow up to Bomber! For me a series of seemingly random events and non linear plot connected by a sardonic unreliable 1st person narrator out of their depth is what Deighton is all about.
Admittedly I prefer it when the narrator is a anonymous northern former grammar school boy polishing his spectacles.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jon Faraday on 22 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Good dry, black humour. Why isn't this a film already?
Len at his non-espionage best.
I keep re-reading it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A crime story with the main character Mickey Murphy a lawyer turned detective. Deighton proving he can master any genre .
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By peter on 13 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback
very happy with copy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
How did I miss this gem before? 25 April 2006
By D. M. Annunziata - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Len Deighton is one of my all-time favorite authors, which is why I

can't believe I hadn't found this novel sooner. He is a master of the

espionage thriller, but this one is a good old fashioned mystery. Our

hero is not a detective, though, but a lawyer. Yep, a lawyer.

I love the character of Mickey Murphy - he is so adorable! His office is

in a bad LA neighborhood, his partner is into some shady deals, his law

practice is being bought out by a multi-millionaire who also happens to

be married to Murphy's old high school sweetheart for whom he still

carries a serious torch. When his ex-wife isn't pretending she's going

to throw herself off his ledge, she's sending her astrologer round to

threaten him for more money, his son is living with a fem-nazi and his

German secretary barely speaks English. His friend the movie star wants

to buy a gun, his friend the cop suspects him of murder and his friend

the body guard keeps threatening to kill him.

The take over of his law practice is not so innocent as it seems and

there is something more going on, but Murphy is having a hard time

figuring out what the deal is. He happens to be the only honest party

involved, so chances are, he'll end up screwed. The whole thing comes to

a head as the city goes up in flames during a huge riot.

A must read!
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A dud from Deighton!? 1 July 1998
By J. Kowalski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A clumsy story by one of my favorite authors. Pitchers, quarterbacks, and point guards all lose their extraordinary skills, or at least have bad days, so why not writers? Any "Rockford Files" script gives us a better exasperated L.A. anti-hero than this Mickey Murphy stereotype. The minor characters in _Violent Ward_ are almost as cartoonish. (And what's with the title? It's pretty bad when the blurb has to try to explain it.)
Deighton's over-detailed descriptions of clothing remind me of a Nancy Drew novel. But the worst part of reading _Ward_ is the feeling I get that this is a British writer pretending he's a lifelong American. Britishisms such as "rang off" instead of hung up and "ramp" instead of driveway reinforce this irritating dent to the story's credibility.
Other critics ask, Well, what's a spy novelist to do now that the Cold War is over? Hello-oh. . . China, Iraq, Japanese industrial espionage? I'll ring off now.
This is one of Len Deighton's weaker novels - it's ... 17 Aug 2014
By technicat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This is one of Len Deighton's weaker novels - it's as if he's trying out an LA noirish detective voice, and it doesn't sound natural. Also, while the story has his customary twists, it's not as absorbing as his usual work. But the characters are interesting to the point where you (eventually) start rooting for them, throw in some sly digs at the LA and Hollywood scene, and it still makes for an entertaining read.
Life in Los Angeles. 13 Feb 2014
By Michael G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mention of the name Len Deighton usually conjures up the phrase: "accomplished British spymaster. A phrase far less likely to come to mind is: "acclaimed author of comic California crime novels".

Violent Ward stars a down at the heels LA attorney named Mickey Murphy. His clients and other acquaintances are a rogue's gallery of misfits.... many with connections to the movie industry.

Murder is very much in the air in this oh so clever send-up of southern California sensibilities circa early 1990s. Rather than being a straightforward mystery, Violent Ward is essentially a series of vignettes strung together with little regard for coherency of plot.
To be sure, most of the characters Deighton has created for this book are amusingly bizarre. However, their collective degree of eccentricity is insufficient to cause the reader to forgive and forget the novel's disturbing lack of narrative unity.

It appears to me that Len Deighton set out to show he could write a quintessentially American novel told using a distinctly American voice. By that standard he was largely successful. But the truth of the matter is many others have written similar California based comic novels that are far better. A marginal 3 stars.
Boring 15 Aug 2014
By J. Mehl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The most boring book I've ever read. Halfway through there still was no plot. I usually read an entire book even if its bad but I had to set it aside halfway through.
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