Cover Image: Witness for the Persecution

Witness for the Persecution

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Attorney Sandy Moss left New Jersey for Los Angeles.  Although she is a family lawyer, she has proven to be an astute and successful criminal defense attorney as well.  So, it’s no surprise that when an abrasive movie director is charged with murder, Sandy can’t say no.  

Witness for the Persecution is the third book in this series by E.J. Copperman and it doesn’t disappoint.  It is a fast-paced, humorous mystery with a good plot, quirky characters, and engaging dialogue.  It’s perfect entertainment for a lazy summer afternoon.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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The suspicious death of a stuntman on a movie set is a the center of Copperman's latest hilarious whodunit, a Jersey Girl Mystery full of legal mayhem and lots of verbal pyrotechnics!

Once again East Coast pragmatism collides with  SoCal outrageousness in this highly entertaining romp where Sandy, my favorite fictional lawyer from the Garden State, painstakingly tries to
prove to the Californian justice system that her client, an obnoxious film director, didn't explicitly planned the murder of one of his stunt performers...

This new installment is a definitive hoot! Laughing out loud from start to finish with a large cast of kooky characters & an adrenaline fueled plot that kept me in stiches for a few hours. The perfect antidote to the ugly gloominess so prevalent around our dysfunctional planet Earth nowadays...

A delightful novel that really deserves to be enjoyed without any moderation whatsoever! 
I simply can't wait for Sandy's next crazy legal adventure under the cerulean sky of Los Angeles 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Severn House for this terrific ARC
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A fun mystery about an LA defense attorney transplanted from New Jersey.  Sandy Moss is 2 for 2 in the newly minted criminal law department of her family law firm when she is hired to represent obnoxious director Robert Reeves.  He is charged with murdering a stunt man he intensely disliked. Since Sandy is improbably dating a famous film star, and because the case against Reeves is weak from the outset, I admit that I was thinking this story might be disappointing.  But, it was entertaining.  The way Sandy goes about preparing for trial, the people she interviews, the image of a day in the life of an action movie, her use of experts, the judge and more were well written. I'm not a criminal lawyer, but I am a lawyer and I hate when trials are not fairly realistic.  There is an odd side story that seemed just bizarre but it is wrapped up. The solution is pretty obvious but not so certain that you are bored. There is a lot of humor.  All in all a solid 3.5 stars rounded up.
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Witness for the Persecution is the third tale in the Jersey Girl Legal mystery series and another outing for Sandy Moss, a family lawyer. The instalment boasts a swiftly moving pace, a narrative that never lets up and it's populated with witty banter. The vivid cast of characters adds lots of interest and the dynamite mystery is great too. A terrifically good romp with plenty of comical moments.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Severn House via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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I have a fondness for murder mysteries, but these days I’m also looking for books that are lighter in tone. The two requirements don’t tend to marry up all that often – but with Witness for the Persecution Sandy’s very funny first-person narrative on all that is happening in her life makes this murder mystery huge fun. Copperman manages to achieve the ongoing humour without diminishing the seriousness of the death, which I also appreciated and is another indication that this author is an experienced wordsmith who knows what they’re doing.

I enjoyed the interesting aspect of this one – that Sandy’s client, who is at risk of going to jail for a very long time – is someone that she thoroughly dislikes. It adds an interesting dimension to the story, especially as all the evidence seems to point in his direction. As with Inherit the Shoes, the actual whodunit is well crafted, with plenty of twisty surprises and red herrings aplenty along the way. I had worked out who the actual perpetrator was well before the denouement – but that didn’t matter too much. Because there is still the issue of whether Sandy can convince the jury that Horrible Robert (as I ended up labelling him) is innocent.

I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the glitches in Sandy’s relationship with the gorgeous Patrick McNabb. What happens when you become increasingly convinced that the love of your life is more interested in the chase, than settling down to a regular live-in relationship? Sandy’s thoughts on the romance in her life are both poignant and funny, though well leavened by the strong support she has from best friend Angie, who moved to L.A. to be with her. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed jumping back into Sandy’s world and would highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a dash of humour with their courtroom dramas. While I obtained an arc of Witness for the Persecution from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
9/10
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I would characterize this book as a fun and witty romp in a not so serious legal investigation and murder trial.

The female characters in this Jersey Girl Legal Mystery series are witty, light-hearted, sassy, street-smart and tenacious.  I love the friendship between Sandy and Angie and I definitely think everyone needs a friend like Angie.  Sandy's boyfriend, Patrick, is a Hollywood actor and this story involves the death of a stuntman on set during the filming of a movie.  The death is determined to be a murder, and the director, a very unlikeable and self-important man, Robert Reeves is arrested and will stand trial for the murder.  Based on her past success defending Patrick, she is sought out by Reeves to defend him.

Sandy's biggest hurdles are: getting information out of Reeves, getting Reeves to commit to meetings with her,  getting Reeves to understand the severity of the charges against him, getting around and through Hollywood gossip and staying out of the limelight herself.  As a paralegal, there were many instances where I thought, "okay, that is just not how it works", but even in thinking that, this cozy mystery was full of action, jokes, hilarious observations and interesting characters.  So even though I would not consider this one totally accurate, I would consider it totally enjoyable.

This is the third in the series (I keep reading out of order these days) and even though I haven't read the first 2, this stand-alone was just fine as an introduction to the series.  It does make me want to backtrack to read 1 and 2 in the series in order to get more backstory on the main characters. I definitely recommend this one to readers who are more concerned with enjoying a story than breaking it apart and analyzing it.  Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for the ARC to read and review.  Pub date: 4/5/22.
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An excellent addition to this excellent series: a gripping and compelling mystery that kept me turning pages.
I was happy to catch up wit the cast of characters, had a lot of fun, and the solid mystery kept me guessing.
i think this is the best story so far and this series improves with each new instalment.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Sandy can't get away from criminal defense even though she moved to Los Angeles to practice family law.  She's got a boyfriend- Patrick- who is an actor and he thinks she's like the best attorney in the world so he refers director Robert Reeves to her when he's accused of murdering a stuntman on the set of his latest movie.  Reeves is arrogant and obnoxious but he's not a murderer, is he?  Sandy uses her legal smarts and her New Jersey smarts both to solve this one.  But what to do about Patrick?  He's asked her to up their relationship but she's worried about his romantic history. No spoilers from me. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. I've been a fan of this series- it's funny, the characters are good, and I like the Hollywood setting. Newcomers will enjoy it just fine as a standalone and then, like me, be eagerly awaiting the next one.
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Witness for the Persecution
By E.J. Copperman
Severn House
March 2022 

Review by Cynthia Chow

Even though the Staton, Taylor, Evans and Wentworth law firm has created its own criminal law division based on the success of their new attorney Sandy Moss, the fallout of that case continues to give her nightmares.  Not so much from the fear of failure when taking on another homicide case, but from attempting to balance her workload and an upcoming walk down a movie premiere red carpet.  Her celebrity former client and current boyfriend Patrick McNabb hasn't given up on proposing marriage even after 7 rejections, but Sandy worries that the only keeping the budding movie star interested is the thrill of the pursuit.  A welcome distraction comes in the form of a new client demanding her services, one who carries all of the imperialness and self-centeredness that an arrogant film director feels he deserves.  Robert Reeves is being held responsible for a stunt gone fatally wrong on his movie set, an accident that could have been attributed to a number of reasons if not for the fact that everyone on set knew that the stuntman had been having an affair with Robert Reeves' wife.

Having already learned how to manage the egos of Hollywood narcissists, native Jersey Girl Sandy does her best to sift out the truth from the lies embedded in Robert's shallow exterior.  She's assisted by her bestie Angie, who since moving to Burbank to lend support has become Patrick’s assistant and in a pinch could sub in as his bodyguard.   A kidnapping and car bomb threat has Patrick once again hiring an actual bodyguard for Sandy though, one who is absolutely delightful as she shadows Sandy while managing Patrick's enthusiasm.  Sandy's wry observations and savvy outmaneuvering power plays are as stellar as her legal skills in the courtroom, even as she battles against her own Moriarty prosecutor (whom she admits is actually a good guy just doing his job).  Interviews with wives, ex-wives, and surly crew members give Sandy and her team as much ammo for the prosecution as for their defense, ensuring that it will be a challenge for her to keep her annoying client out of jail (and out of her office).

You have to love a book that starts with the author thanking Ted Lasso, Call My Agent, The Great British Bake Off, and Somebody Feed Phil for helping everyone to survive these past few years.  This second in the series should be right up there in providing readers with an escape into this hilarious, observant, and very entertaining legal mystery that includes sharp courtroom scenes and thrilling practical investigations.  Sandy's cynicism and wry commentary never overshadow her genuine good heart and compassion, even when she may have doubts concerning those who are not great people and may have possibly committed murder. What's both fascinating and rather depressing is that the callousness and greed in this fictional world are actually overshadowed by the real life events and figures that may have inspired them (especially when certain involved parties can’t seem to stop making public statements intended to avoid litigation).  The relationship between Sandy and Patrick is aspirational, even though she has very pragmatic and rational justifications for doubting its future success.  I adore this series by the very prolific author whose very diverse novels should be slowly savored in order to appreciate their humor and clever observations.  Homages to classical mysteries and movies are as prevalent as the references to pop culture, serving as a primer for those interested in exploring movie, TV, and literary courtroom dramas.  Those who may have somehow missed the works of E.J. Copperman/Jeff Cohen will enjoy this latest mystery as much as his longtime fans, especially when it continues to provide tantalizing glimpses in the behind-the-scenes chaos of both the legal world and entertainment productions.
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This was my favourite book in the series so far!
This book has a really interesting premise with engaging characters and a top notch mystery.  This is a must read and I look forward to reading further books in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
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I love the setting of Los Angeles, the entertainment industry, and the behind-the-scenes of the legal profession.  Sandy and her team are more than competent at their job and the cases are front and center in this series, which is a little different for cozies where the amateur sleuth tends to abandon their job to investigate.  I enjoy the humorous banter throughout the book and look forward to more in this series.
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Sandy Moss, Attorney with her New Jersey tendencies in terms of approaching situations got tired of prosecuting criminals and moved to Los Angeles to practice family law. While she changed her focus for practicing law, she retained her typical, according to her, New Jersey approach to situations. She thinks it’s the perfect setup for surviving in the high pressure environment of tinseltown.

Witness for the Persecution by E. J. Copperman is the third in his series featuring Sandy and her friend, Angie who moved out to help Sandy stay grounded. Rounding out the recurring characters is Patric McNabb, Hollywood star and Sandy’s constant boyfriend. Patrick met her during a trial where she was pressed into work as a defense attorney and now thinks she is the most brilliant attorney who ever tried a case. On top of that, he has declared his undying love for her and in this novel their relationship has advanced to the point where he is hoping she will move in with him. Sandy is reluctant, primarily because in the past, Patrick has hotly pursued any number of women, then quickly bored of them once he had their attention. She has acknowledged she loves Patrick, and doesn’t want to give in to his request, only to have him leave her stranded.

In addition to her work as a family attorney, Sandy has developed a reputation as a defense attorney and her new law firm has decided to establish a small section for providing defense in that arena and making Sandy head of it. While she protests that fact, her boss points out that in truth, Sandy loves the work. Therefore, when a director Patrick has done some work with is accused of murdering the stunt man on his current film, he is referred to Sandy and she is pressed into taking the case. 

As Sandy begins to research the case, she learns Patrick is tangentially associated with this case, having had a small part in the current film. He swears he was not there on the day the stunt man died, and will not be called to testify in the case. It also slips out that he’s the one who has referred the director to Sandy for representation. All these reasons combine to push Sandy into accepting the case.

Like the first two books in the series, this one is a light-hearted romp, with Sandy being placed in some difficult positions and being extricated from them either by her own smart mouth, Angie’s unique style and decision to become Sandy’s personal security guard, and later, when things seem to get more series Judy is hired as a professional bodyguard. This is the second appearance of Judy in the series, and while she is a minor character, she is so well drawn that she adds tremendous depth to the story.

Other characters who round out the book and are well created include the director, who is so obnoxious it’s not hard to understand why someone would want to frame him for murder. He is attached to two women, wife number one, who he keeps in the background because she isn’t glamorous nor young enough to add to his credentials, according to him; and wife number two, a young,attractive woman who accompanies him to premieres and otherwise seems to be intellectually limited. Finally, there is Detective Trask, who is primarily the strong silent, “just the facts ma’am”, police officer Sandy has encountered before. Her nature is to try and create ripples in his rigid persona, and also try to figure out what his opinion of her is.

Because these secondary characters have appeared in previous books in the series, there are some relationships that have developed prior to this book. Readers who like to read series books will probably enjoy reading the books in order. However, the mystery itself is completed within this novel and, as such, the book can be read as a stand alone.

While the mystery is enjoyable, there is one clue that gets overlooked in a way that may cause the reader to wonder why it wasn’t more fully investigated. Readers who are trying to solve the puzzle may find themselves wondering why more questions aren’t asked or, indeed, may see the hole created by this clue and wonder why it hasn’t been more fully examined.

For those who have read the first two books in the series, this will be an enjoyable addition to the story and they will likely enjoy reading about how Sandy and friend’s lives progress. For those new to the series, they may decide it would be more enjoyable to begin with the first book and read the books in the order in which they were written.

I would like to thank Severn House and NetGalley for an advance reader copy of this book for review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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This series is a new one for me, but I plan to look for the others in the series. Jersey lawyer Sandy Moss is transplanted to California in the hopes of leaving criminal law behind. Unfortunately she finds herself defending an arrogant, full of himself director accused of murdering a stuntman during a movie shoot. Sandy's boyfriend movie star Patrick McNabb encourages her to take the case., but she soon discovers her client is a habitual liar, although he just might be innocent. The cast of characters ranges from the BFF, the simpering assistant, a plain Jane ex-wife (or is she) and the hot new wife. Laugh out loud funny
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Normally I love novels like this but for some reason I couldn’t get into it. I picked it up and put it down so many times that it left me frustrated.
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A Satisfying Romp…
The third in the Jersey Girl Legal mystery series and another outing for Sandy Moss, now making her way as a family lawyer in a move from crime. As ever, a swiftly moving pace, with the narrative never letting up and propelled by witty, dry and clever banter and a colourful cast of characters. A worthy addition to this series and a satisfying romp with laughs guaranteed.
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I really wish I had stumbled across this series before reading the third book, Witness for the Persecution by E.J. Copperman. The earlier books in the Jersey Girl Legal Mystery series are Inherit the Shoes and Judgement at Santa Monica. Lawyer Sandy Moss might be a little out of her depth when it comes to Hollywood itself, but she’s savvy as can be when it comes to courtroom maneuvering. And, that’s coming from someone who doesn’t often read legal mysteries.

Sandy Moss intended to practice family law when she moved to L.A. and joined a high-profile law firm. Instead, the former New Jersey prosecutor is the one handling murder cases, and her new one is a doozy. Robert Reeves is the director of the latest movie starring Sandy’s boyfriend. When a stunt performer falls from a crane to his death, Reeves is arrested, although he swears he’s innocent. It’s a tough one for Sandy to defend because she finds her client “dismissive, insulting, condescending, and arrogant”. And, he’s always demanding and arrogant when dealing with her, but Sandy can dish it back just fine. She makes her own demands on the client.

Reeves has a lot of strikes against him. He seems to be married to two women, and his story about that is outrageous. His film crew isn’t too keen on him as a boss, and reputation is everything in Hollywood. He made some nasty remarks about the dead man. And, his arrogant attitude won’t go over well if the case goes to trial. Then, there’s that anonymous video.

If you still remember Perry Mason’s trial scenes with fondness, you’ll love Sandy Moss in court. She’s shrewd, and, as a former prosecutor, she knows what she’d do if she was on the other side of the courtroom. While the search for answers is interesting, in this case, it’s the trial scenes that shine.

As I said, I wish I’d met Sandy and her friends earlier. Her friend, Angie, came to visit from New Jersey, and never left. Sandy’s boyfriend is not quite as over-the-top as I imagine he is as a suspect in the first book. (There’s a reason I’m not spoiling earlier books by providing his name.) Witness for the Persecution is a delightful legal novel set in a world that is already imaginary – Hollywood. The law and humor go hand-in-hand in this enjoyable mystery.
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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Severn House and  by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 

The third in the series didn’t fail to entertain. As a fan of the previous two, I had high expectations. My expectations were met and exceeded. E. J. Cooperman has a way with the characters and story, you’ll be immersed in the story. I look forward to reading more.
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A most enjoyable new outing for East Coast prosecutor turned West Coast defender. Great and humorous dialog; witty banter between the main characters; a good plot, with the outcome not that easy to guess.  Certainly the best of the three in the series I have read so far; and whilst it would help to begin with the first one, it's not 100% necessary.  The legal background is fun, not heavy, as is the account of the trial. This isn't John Grisham, and isn't meant to be - but it entertains in a light hearted way, yet with characters both subtly and sharply drawn.. Highly recommended for cosy fans.
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