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Ed Gaffney: Premeditated Murder


Crescent Blues Book Views Bantam Dell (Paperback) ISBN 0-440-24194-4

Book: ed gaffney, premedtiated murder
Premeditated Murder marks the literary debut of author and attorney Ed Gaffney. In this first effort he weaves together several seemingly unrelated plot lines to produce an entertaining, if highly improbable, tale inspired by today's global realities.

In Northampton, Massachusetts, defense attorneys Zack Wilson and Terry Tallach accept the challenge of a case which seems impossible to win. The defendant, a huge black man named Calvin Thompkins, stands charged with the stalking and premeditated murder of multiple victims. Even worse for his defense, Thompkins readily admits his guilt. Because of the prosecution's decision to seek the death penalty, the judge's reputation for giving short shrift to defense motions, and a district attorney strongly focused on enhancing his own political future, the case gains widespread media coverage, causing further complications in the attorneys' quest to save their client. The attorneys' only ray of hope lies in Thompson's secret motive for the murders.

In Detroit, Michigan, Lena Takamura aspires to become an investigative crime reporter. Just a year removed from covering community activities for a small town newspaper, she follows up on a hunch and attends the funeral of a man whose eleven year old daughter placed a call to 911 and administered CPR until the arrival of the paramedics, but failed to save her father's life. Since the story received some notoriety because of possible problems with the 911 system, Takamura asks for an interview with the family of the deceased. To her surprise, the family blurts out a story implying murder. Following through on tips concerning the possible homicide but completely inexperienced as an investigative reporter, she soon finds herself in uncharted waters and in danger for her life.

In New York City to attend a session of the United Nations, President Matt Ferguson, who ascended to the office via a series of unexpected and unprecedented circumstances, prepares to deal with a problem of international scope. The primary focus of his agenda concerns deployment of American troops into a regional conflict in Africa. And as an after thought, he asks to have details concerning the suicide of a Michigan judge available in his office upon his return to Washington.

Through a combination of flashbacks and descriptions of ongoing action, the reader gradually begins to make the connections between these apparently unrelated events. Gaffney does a nice job of keeping the various plot lines moving. And he manages to develop two rather engaging characters in attorneys Zack Wilson and Terry Tallach. However, the dubious and unconvincing denouement of the primary story line ultimately disappoints and detracts from an otherwise entertaining novel.

Clint Hunter

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