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Star Witness by D. W. Buffa
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"I invented a tragic story . . . because no one has written a tragedy about Hollywood . . . and doomed and heroic things do happen here."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald on The Last Tycoon
Dedication
FOR WENDY SHERMAN
AND DAVID HIGHFILL
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Each time I saw her she had the same strange haunting effect on me, arousing feelings of which I had scarcely been aware.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 039915034X, Hardcover)

Both a legal thriller and a Hollywood novel, Star Witness recounts a sensational murder and trial at the very pinnacle of the movie business. It's also a meditation on the magic--and the deceptive power--of the movies. Mary Margaret Flanders, the most charismatic star in Hollywood, is found nude with her throat cut, floating in the swimming pool of her palatial mansion. The chief suspect is her husband, the brilliant director Stanley Roth. Enter Joseph Antonelli, one of the nation's top criminal-defense lawyers (and the star of four previous D.W. Buffa tales), who is soon grappling with vicious Hollywood politics, a huge media circus, and a client so complex and unpredictable that even his own lawyer doubts his innocence.

Buffa's courtroom scenes are full of authentic details that reflect his years as a defense lawyer, though they crackle a little less than in his other books. And some readers will surely bog down in his distinctive prose style, with its curious, archaic formality ("She was about to tell me something more about the difficulties with which Stanley Roth had to deal"). Nonetheless, this ambitious book offers many pleasures as it plays with our obsessions with celebrities and the movies. Its solution will keep you guessing right up to the last page, and perhaps even beyond. --Nicholas H. Allison

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:45 -0400)

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"Star Witness is about a man on trial for murder - a man recognized as one of the film industry's most successful writer-directors, a man of mythic drive and talent, and someone who looks more guilty with every passing witness. Attorney Joseph Antonelli - suave, philosophical, fearless, and cagey - takes up the director's defense for the murder of an equally famous young woman. Then the defendant shows Antonelli the script he has been working on for years, a script he considers his masterpiece: the story of a man's rags-to-riches climb to the top that recalls Orson Welles's Citizen Kane, and that includes a visionary film director as its hero. In this fascinating story-within-a-story, the accused reveals his version of the tragedy, the secrets of his relationship with the deceased, and the ominous events that led to her death. In it we see how art can imitate life - and unmask a killer even the court can't find."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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