If the swashbuckling criminal trial lawyer and oft times guest commentator on the CBS network, Paul Batista, had a blog, I’m pretty sure he’d write his own posts. But why waste time on a blog—here today, gone to the archive tomorrow—when you have enough within you to write a really good book?

Not just a book, several; including the leading non-fiction treatise on the federal racketeering statute, Civil RICO Practice Manual, now in it’s third edition (Wolters Kluwer, 2008), and thoroughly entertaining fiction—legal thrillers—including the page turner, Death’s Witness.

Publicists occasionally approach me for advance reviews—particularly if books have a legal, social media or business “theory” angle. I promise them nothing. They give me free books. It’s a great gig. Sometimes I get really good ones, like this or this.

Last month, Batista’s crack team of literary publicists from Astor + Blue teased me with the offer to test drive Death’s Witness, published in 2012. Odd, I thought, this was not a new book. His forthcoming novel The Borzoi Killings is scheduled for Nov, 2014 release. Made me wonder.

No matter. A free book is a free book. A good move for the publicists in addition to advance copies, because here I am reviewing it! (Note to self.)

I took the key they offered, put it into the ignition, and WOW. What a fun drive. Page after page, it was unstoppable. The characters, the detail, the feeling of place, and suspense were addictive. I found myself satisfied with the experience, but wanting more.

Admittedly, this is not the Great American Novel. It’s a legal thriller. Pure entertainment. A real literary critic would probably disagree, but for those who read a lot of mediocre legal thrillers, it was well written (or well edited!) for the genre.

 Publisher’s Weekly says, “The verdict on Batista’s debut legal thriller [Death's Witness]: guilty of delivering not only sharp courtroom drama but steamy romantic escapism as well.”

I’m not going to give you the story line, but here’s the tease: It involves…drum roll…lawyers! And husbands, wives, lovers, and a child, journalists, bankers, and Latin American and Italian mobsters. Topics include, running, killing, money laundering—several tropical interludes—and enough justice to make it gritty and satisfying. Not too fluffy or unbelievable.

Batista’s work as a trial lawyer and knowledge of the criminal mind definitely informs this piece of fiction. And that’s why I like it. I spend my days working with lawyers, sometimes touching the white-collar criminal world, and he nailed it. I suspect his new release will follow in form.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!” Drive with this one to the beach, lake, or poolside. Great summer reading.

Death’s Witness, Paul Batista, New York, NY: Astor + Blue Editions, 2012: ISBN 978-1-9382-3123-0




“Ghostwriter? That is unethical,” says the law firm marketing director to the ghost.

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Essential Ingredients for Your Blog Post

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“Make sure your firm’s blogs are relevant, compelling and timely because in-house counsel are reading them.” That’s the word from GreenTarget’s newly released 2014 survey of in-house counsel and law firm marketers. Who can argue with survey data. But are you convinced that in-house counsel is reading your blog? We* track rankings and view hundreds, no thousands, […]

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As the Virtual Marketing Officer predicted in an early 2009 post, social and digital content marketing has become a very important—even critical—marketing investment for you and your law firm marketing team. Publishing to the web is easy, writing well is not. It’s easy to publish to the web. It is not easy to write well. The Virtual Marketing Officer […]

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Breakthrough Secret Exposed: Use these five steps to increase blog ROI

While teaching at Purdue University in the 1930s, professor Alan H. Monroe developed a handy way to organize sales presentations. It was so handy that the approach was eventually coined “The Monroe Motivated Sequence.” Widely used over the years, his sequence provides a proven outline for action and intent—one that any blogger, but especially law […]

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2013 will be remembered for many things but for those of us tethered to a sedentary routine—sitting in front of a computer—2013 may be remembered as the year of the “fitness tracker.” In a nutshell—or a fob, wrist band or wearable disc—high-tech fitness trackers measure everything from overall movement and exercise to diet and even […]

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Blogs Are Social Media. (Law) Bloggers Should Be More Social.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a slacker. In 2013, I added only 10 posts to my blog. But I have lots of entertaining excuses (see below). Surprising to me, despite my slacker status the traffic to my blog has remained respectable. Not surprisingly, that statistic is meaningless. I have lost a valuable connection with readers—I […]

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