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The Hanging Judge

Narrated by: Rich Orlow
Series: The Judge Norcross Novels, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 50 mins
4 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

When a drive-by shooting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, claims the lives of a Puerto Rican drug dealer and a nurse at a neighborhood clinic, the police arrest a black drug dealer. With no death penalty in Massachusetts, the US attorney shifts the double homicide out of state jurisdiction into federal court so that he can pursue the death penalty.

The Honorable David S. Norcross, who has been on the federal bench only two years, now presides overthe first death penalty case in the state in 50 years. He must contend not only with an ambitious female prosecutor and a brilliant veteran defense attorney, but with a citizenry outraged at the senseless killing of a white hockey mom- not to mention the pressures of the media, anti-death penalty protesters, vengeful gang members, and the million other things that can go wrong in a capital trial.

Michael A. Ponsor takes readers into the courtroom and beyond, presenting with great sensitivity the points of view of the defendant and his wife; the victims' families; law enforcement officers; witnesses; and the judge who, while still coming to terms with the death of his wife, begins a relationship with a woman he is not sure he can trust.

©2013 Michael Ponsor (P)2013 Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a superb book!

This is the first novel written by a real live judge about a court case bringing in capital punishment.

I firstly read his second book, the One-Eyed Judge, released recently on the strength of positive reviews in the book section of the Sunday Times Culture magazine. It was so good, I immediately downloaded his first, despite the three star rating. And couldn’t stop listening to it either.

Praise for the narrator, Rich Orlow, quite wonderful.

If you like courtroom drama, a riveting read with humour and heart, try this.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good Story but not fluent.

I enjoyed the general direction of the story in this book but found it to jump from one subject to another and miss out large chunks of the story as the chapters changed. So much so that at time’s I was forced to check it hadn’t missed a chapter accidentally!!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 27-11-14

A fresh, engaging courtroom drama

In some ways, this was a standard courtroom crime novel. A murder occurs, and we think that the suspect (a former drug dealer who seems to have turned his life around with a degree, a wife, and a child) is innocent, but you never know. I used to love that genre, but too often find myself bored with something I feel I have read too many times. This novel intrigued me because it was written by a judge, with a judge as the protagonist. The novel did not disappoint me. It had a rookie author freshness to it that I enjoyed, and I liked the judge perspective on a capital case. The main characters were believable and the plot moved at a good pace. Only a couple things held this back from being a 5 star book. Some of the secondary characters move in and out of the novel too quickly, and I would forget who they were. The author wanted to share true facts in the local history of capital punishment, but some went on too long. That said, I think that most fans of courtroom fiction will enjoy this. The narrator was especially excellent, differentiating voices so well. One warning - it is clear early on that the author is anti-capital punishment. Most of the reviewers who panned this book were clearly bugged by this, so if that is your political belief, be forewarned.

4 people found this helpful

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  • momoftwo
  • 30-08-19

Awesome and thought-provoking

I loved this book. I wasn’t expecting to like it at all, based on the reviews - and that’s why I’m writing this review. The story is excellent and very interesting, and the judge’s perspective on criminal trial practice is kind of unique. Not many novels out there that are penned by sitting federal judges, I think. It’s really well done. That said, the book argues pretty unapologetically against the death penalty so, if you’re a fan of “capital punishment” (a euphemism that I will never use again, thanks to Judge Ponsor’s story and characters) then maybe you should skip this book. Then again, if you’re a fan of the death penalty then maybe you should listen and see if it challenges your opinions.

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  • GirlyGirl
  • 05-08-19

ALL OVER THE PLACE...

This book was all over the place...It was just horrible and I didn't even finish it!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-05-19

Not a legal thriller

Meh... This is definitely not a legal thriller, and to the extent that it's a story about a murder trial, it's offers a Sunday school version. But if you enjoy of stories saturated with political correctness, there's much to like here.

At bottom, it's a superficial, mediocre crime story about relationships (mostly the judge's), but without compelling characters and one that lacks any interesting detail about the crime, the investigation, the legal theories or the trial--no courtroom prowess, examinations, arguments or strategies.

Nonetheless, the reader was absolutely magnificent--I was in awe. He's likely the best I've ever heard. He performs multiple diverse characters seamlessly and flawlessly, putting you right in the midst of the scene. His reading makes you feel like you're watching a movie. It's probably worth listening to the book just to hear the reader-- he's really that good. Too bad such masterful work was wasted on this book.

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  • ZD
  • 05-04-17

Good for a anti death penalty book

Would you try another book from Michael Ponsor and/or Rich Orlow?

Very good book if you can get past the agenda. Almost quit listening it was so hardcore anti death penalty. Guess he doesn't know anything about prisoners in with life with no parole. Some are the most violent due to nothing to lose.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • CJ
  • 10-09-14

I had thought the book would be better.

Where does The Hanging Judge rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Not as good as I thought. I would consider it an average story. Readable but not great. I was not compelled to keep reading.

Would you recommend The Hanging Judge to your friends? Why or why not?

Maybe. If I felt they would find it more entertaining.

What about Rich Orlow’s performance did you like?

He was average in this book reading.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

nothing

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  • lloyd
  • 01-01-14

alonzo

I bought this book (credit) on the basis of previous reviews, it was in my view little short of appauling, I have obviously missed the point. For me it was tedious, the characters shallow much of the dialogue trite, in short I am sorry I used a credit.

The plot lacked all credibility. On the evidence presented how the defendant could be bought to trial is beyond me,the use of history the 19th. century murder trial was surely a book filler; for me it contributed nothing to the case in point .

The naration did nothing to improve the book