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Publishers Weekly, 1999-05-17 Veteran author of more than 40 books, octogenarian Fast (Spartacus; The Immigrants) pastes together courtroom drama with a May-December romance in this eminently readable but equally forgettable novel. Elizabeth Hopper is about to jump off the George Washington Bridge when retired Columbia Law professor Ike Goldman intervenes. Despite differences in age (he's 78, she's 47), religion (he's Jewish, she's convent-raised Catholic) and vocation (his is contract law, hers art history), they fall in love while sharing the Sunday New York Times, takeout from Zabar's and his Riverside Drive apartment. After two months, Ike proposes. Then Liz is arrested for the murder of her ex-husband, a violently abusive, dishonest investment banker. Though Ike loyally pulls together a defense team and support group from former students and colleagues, in his heart he cannot stop questioning her innocence. Poetic and courtroom justice triumph with satisfying if not always credible certainty as the black female public defender puts the aggressive prosecutor to shame. While the story is laid out with competence, the development is thin, especially the courtroom scenes. And the character portrayal is dangerously facile: Liz's evil ex-husband is nearly a caricature, the real murderer is a convenient walk-on. Even Ike lacks complexity: he is another of Fast's righteous heroes, Liz another good woman who just needs a man to protect her. Threatening their love, and the story's pace, is Fast's penchant for inner dialogue, which makes the reader yearn for the muscular prose and fiery idealism of Fast's early work. Literary Guild selection. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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