D.W. Buffa,
The Legacy
(Time Warner, 2002)

The Legacy is the latest offering by author D.W. Buffa. He has penned such notable thrillers as The Judgment and The Defense. Unfortunately, The Legacy is not quite up to that caliber of writing.

The Legacy is based on the trial of accused murderer Jamaal Washington. His random "victim" during an apparent robbery was U.S. Sen. Jeremy Fullerton from California. It seems like an easy case to prosecute. Jamaal, a college-aged black kid, was found at the murder site with the murder weapon close by his prone body. He had been shot in the back by police as he fled the scene. Since his guilt is obvious, no San Francisco defense attorney is interested in taking this losing case. This is when repeat Buffa character, Joseph Antonelli, steps up to the plate.

For six hours, the listener of this audiobook is introduced to various powerful people from not only San Francisco, but California, the U.S. and in one particular instance, the old Soviet Union. Surprisingly, we never learn much about Jamaal. We learn more about his parents than we do about the accused. In fact, I knew so little about him, I never got the chance to care whether he was convicted or not. Jamaal is little more than a name. But the listener does get to hear all about the secret lives of various rich white people. (Perhaps this is done on purpose and I missed the point.)

To be fair, there are a few disturbing and exciting scenes in the story. You get an inside view of just what certain people will do for power. There is also a scene in which a bomb wipes out the building of one of the more important characters. I certainly wasn't expecting that! I also had no clue who the real killer was. However, when it was revealed, I could only yawn with apathy and think "Oh! OK. I can see how I missed that." And for those of you who enjoy courtroom banter, I found the dialogue on the audiotape to be forced and contrived, but never clever.

The Legacy was read by Mark Feuerstein, who has been in the movies What Women Want, Practical Magic and Rules of Engagement. You might also know him from appearances on the television shows The West Wing, Ally McBeal and Sex & the City. I found his reading to be rather flat. With a monotone voice, Feuerstein had trouble modifying his speaking style enough to give the various characters a unique voice. I also found myself zoning out a lot, which I seldom do when I listen to audiobooks.

It certainly sounds as if I hated this book. That is not quite the case. I found The Legacy OK entertainment, but I could think of several audiobooks where your money would be better spent. I am unsure if my feelings towards this story stem from the writing, the reader or both. If you are only an occasional listener of audiobooks, I would recommend you check out some of my other audiobook reviews. If you are a frequent listener and are running out of titles, you might want to pick up The Legacy. But don't let your expectations get too high.

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 16 November 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.