Primal Fear by William Diehl (Epub)



Ebook Info

  • Published: 2012
  • Number of pages: 436 pages
  • Format: Epub
  • File Size: 0.41 MB
  • Authors: William Diehl


Hotshot attorney Martin Vail must defend a young man accused of brutally murdering Archbishop Rushman, known as the “Saint of Lakeview Drive.” This case looks impossible until his psychologist makes a discovery.

Martin Vail, the brilliant “bad-boy” lawyer every prosecutor and politician loves to hate, is defending Aaron Stampler, a man found holding a bloody butcher’s knife near a murdered archbishop. Vail is certain to lose, but Vail uses his unorthodox ways to good advantage when choosing his legal team–a tight group of men and women who must uncover the extraordinary truth behind the archbishop’s slaughter. They do, in a heart-stopping climax unparalleled for the surprise it springs on the reader.

Clever twists and a bona fide surprise ending make this an above-average courtroom thriller, tapping into the post-O.J. scrutiny of our legal system in the case of a hotshot Chicago defense attorney (Richard Gere) whose latest client is an altar boy (Edward Norton) accused of murdering a Catholic archbishop. The film uses its own manipulation to tell a story about manipulation, and when we finally discover who’s been pulling the strings, the payoff is both convincing and pertinent to the ongoing debate over what constitutes truth in the American system of justice. Making an impressive screen debut that has since led to a stellar career, Norton gives a performance that rides on a razor’s edge of schizophrenic pathology–his role is an actor’s showcase, and without crossing over the line of credibility, Norton milks it for all it’s worth. Gere is equally effective in a role that capitalizes on his shifty screen persona, and Laura Linney and Frances McDormand give memorable performances in their intelligently written supporting roles.

User’s Reviews

From Publishers Weekly Ringing dazzling changes on the suspense format he worked so successfully in Sharkey’s Machine and four other thrillers, Diehl here focuses on the maneuvers of Chicago defense attorney Martin Vail, a prosecutor’s worst nightmare. Vail has vexed the political machine by winning a multimillion-dollar brutality judgment against the city, county and state police, but the powers that be think they see a way to pay him back. After discovering the mutilated body of Archbishop Richard Rushman in the rectory of his church, police find Aaron Stampler cowering in a confessional, blood-soaked and gripping the murder weapon. It seems like an ironclad case–psycho slasher carves up “the Saint of Lakeview Drive”–and a hostile judge appoints Vail as pro bono defense attorney, hoping to publicly humble him. Vail is impressed by Stampler, a runaway from the bishop’s haven, Savior House, and builds a maverick defense team to butt heads with vengeful prosecutor Jane Venable. PI Tommy Goodman digs up some nasty news about the bishop (not what the reader expects) and uncovers a childhood of abuse and mysterious deaths in Stampler’s Kentucky hometown. Psychiatrist Molly Arrington blows the case wide open by unearthing a terrifying secret that Vail springs in court. Diehl builds delicious tension, keeping the reader off balance right up to the gavel-pounding finale. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo; movie rights to Paramount; Literary Guild special featured selection. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the hardcover edition. Review In Chicago, a sainted archbishop is murdered, mutilated, and dismembered in his rectory. Aaron Stampler, an angelic-looking young man, is found crouched in a confessional, covered with blood, clutching a butcher’s knife, swearing his innocence. Martin Vail is the brilliant lawyer every prosecutor and politician loves to hate. It is up to him to defend Stampler, the young human monster. But first he must uncover the horrifying truth about the crime. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:

⭐ This is one of my favorite books by William Diehl. It’s characters are so real, so well developed that you fall right into the story from the beginning. Aaron Stampler is found standing over the beloved Archbishop Rushman holding the weapon that caused his death. Cushman is known for his love,compassion,and work with troubled youth. Aaron Stampler is one of those kids. Yet here he is holding the weapon and standing over the dead Archbishop. Did he do it? Aaron pleads do he didn’t, he just found the Archbishop and stupidity picked up the knife. The police don’t believe him and book him for the murder. Aaron Stampler is so complex, deeply troubled, yet as sympathetic a character you could every find. You will be constantly drawn deeper into his world of pain and abuse.Martin Vail is the ‘hot shot lawyer who meets with Aaron and takes the case. At first to him it’s just another case, yeah, yeah sure he didn’t do, but I’ll do my job and get the kid off. Why? I’m just that great ‘hot shot’ lawyer. Slowly things change, stuff stops adding up. The Archbishop maybe isn’t what they say. Aaron makes bold claims against him. And suddenly Vail realizes this is much uglier and sicker than he could have thought. That Aaron could truly be innocent. Though many twists and turns you are kept both guessing sand on the edge of your seat until the final unbelievable last twist.

⭐ Good book, fast read. Much better and more disturging than the movie. The book goes into much more detail and the reader gets to know Aaron better. An ending that you can see coming but is none the less is surprising and shocking. A homeless, stutterting kid with the face of a angel commits a horrifying murder. He is caught with ease but claims he remembers nothing. He has, as has happened before,” lost time”. The case should be a shoe in for the Prosecution. Everything points to this young man and he is a perfect candidate for the death penalty. The defense attorney is assigned the case pro bono. He’s tough, smart, successful in defending criminals and does eveyrthing his way. But politics and powerful people have decided he has to suffer a loss, and be put in his place. He does a stellar job of defending this kid. That Aaron has committed this awful murder of an Archbishop is not in question but is he really responsible for his actions? A dark and twisting psychological drama. I could not put the book down. The battles in the court room were terrific. I read it in less than two days. I could guess the ending but it still left me stunned. Primal Fear may have been around for a while but its’s a great read. Highly recommended.

⭐ If you have seen the movie based on the book, you will be pleasantly surprised that the only actor that fits Martin Vail is definitely the yummy hottie, Richard Gere! It’s almost as if this part was written for him! So book or movie 1st? Geez! That’s a tough one! The book does have some vast differences but primarily goes into much more details of Martin’s personality & Aaron’s back story, just to name a couple of those differences but the main premise is intact! I saw the movie several times before reading Mr Diehl’s novel & found that the visuals fit the characters very well & kept the flow of the book moving nicely with what had been presented on screen! So the movie first went very well for me. Only issue with that was the surprise ending was no longer a surprise ending!Regardless which version you choose, it’s a frighteningly horrific murder & the twists & turns in both movie & novel is well worth your perusal! I’m quite a fan of William Diehl’s books & I count this as one of his best!

⭐ I really wish I could give this book ten stars!Arron is a psychological, schizophrenic. Only he doesn’t think he is. In his mind he’s only a 19 year old who doesn’t know what he wants to do in life. He suffers from black outs. When he’s in a black out here comes Roy to the rescue. Or is Roy the bad one? Split personalities are just one of the minds way of staying safe and sane.I totally recommend reading this book! It captures you from the very first page! But be forewarned that this is an absolute mind boggling journey full of twists and turns with a very wicked ending!

⭐ If you are ever in need of an attorney, you want someone like Martin Vail on your side! When told that he had to take the case of the boy who killed the archbishop as a pro bono case, Vail knew it was a punishment for his recent win against the city. Though Aaron Stampler professes his innocence, he is found hiding in a confessional with blood all over him and a carving knife in his hand. The same carving knife used to kill the archbishop. The DA figures that this is a slam-dunk case, while Martin Vail tries to figure out a way to save Aaron from death row. As the legal battle unfolds, you will be taken in by the very nature of the crime, the personality of the accused, and the secrets that the powers -that- be do not want revealed.I’ll just say this…everything is not as it seems, and when all is said and done…it still isn’t over.

⭐ I always enjoy reading the book on which an exceptional movie was based. More often than not the sub plots and character development of a novel far outshine what is possible within the constraints of a two hour film. As someone who enjoys literary more than popular or pulp fiction, I was expecting a thought provoking work after having watched the film. However, I found the author’s writing to be rather heavy handed for my taste. The naming of the characters, for example, there is an over bearing preacher named Shackles, a lawyer who masks the truth named Veil, going up against a virtue filled attorney named Venable (bringing to mind venerable). There are also long, drawn out narrative descriptions without much subtly; in general the writing style is one that tells you what to think rather than makes you think. I did enjoy learning the inside scoop on Aron Stampler’s background, his girl friend Linda as well as the other major, minor, and new characters. Most of this novel in fact is going into the past of these people, versus taking place inside the courtroom. This is a C+ novel with a great premise and characters, that opened the path to a B screenplay, that was elevated to an A film through the exceptional performances of Edward Norton et al.

⭐ Over the years…saw this twice on tv . ( ya gotta love that Richard Gere !) Then finally saw it on kindle and had to read it. One of my all time favorite movies (and book). So many times..I have to wonder where you writers come up with your stories. Wish I could have given it 10 stars! Now to check out your other books.

⭐ The book is so much better than the movie. In fact after reading the book, I am surprised the movie followed the path it did. The back history of the accused is so interesting and I don’t remember that coming up in the movie much. Also Richard Gere sure doesn’t fit the profile of the lawyer, who you learn to love. I found it hard to put the book down. I do have to admit there were a lot of misspelled words in the book that I am sure came with the print to Kindle change. Perhaps Kindle needs to have better quality check on their books in that matter. But it was just a hiccup in reading of this book. I highly recommend it for adult reading.

⭐ What a book! I suppose this is more of a whodunit or whydoneit than a thriller, but that didn’t make it any easier to put down.Marty, the top defense attorney is handed a pro bono case, mainly so that the forces in power (DA, judiciary, etc.) can see him floored by an open-and-shut case he can’t win in a thousand years. Only Marty never gives up. Not even when maybe he should.The book is wonderfully written, giving us insight into all the players, major and minor alike. Some reviewers compared it to the movie … but let’s face it, a movie can’t be more than an illustration for a book. To get the real/full picture, you need to read this book, not rely on a movie.

⭐ I saw thw film many years ago and thought how amazingly good Ed Norton was as Aaron or whowver he really was. I thought the book gave such amazing insight to how screwed up he is and how cleverly he was able to come across as being so sweet and timid. Having seen Ed Norman performace did help when reading the book otherwise I may have thought poor guy at the end of the book. I normally orefer the book to the film but in this case the film helped me to see Aaron as he really was.


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