The Defense Lawyer: The Barry Slotnick Story (2024)


3,263 reviews158 followers

April 18, 2022


I went into this book knowing nothing other than it was non-fiction. I was aware of most of these cases discussed but it was interesting hearing the details of some of Barry Slotnick's biggest ones. I would not have been able to successfully read this as the style is unfavorable for me, but I did get into it the audio more than I expected as time went on.

The narrator for this was Stuart Slotnick, Barry's son. He was easy enough to listen to, especially with the subject matter. I also appreciated the authenticity of his regional NYC accent.

Story: 3.5 stars
Narration: 3.5 stars

Remember to support your local library! That's where I got this from. 😉📚🎧

    audio-single-narrator audiobook crime-true

Mary Kamrath

351 reviews5 followers

January 9, 2022

I enjoyed this non-fiction account of Barry Slotnick's defense attorney career. The book was written in James Patterson's typical style of short chapters with fast moving accounts of events. I learned quite a bit since I had never followed either the Goetz or Gotti trials.


124 reviews18 followers

December 28, 2021

not for me

I normally love James Patterson’s books but I prefer his fiction over non fiction. Nothing in this book surprised me… I mean I already watch ID channel and Law and Order…lol


1,485 reviews

January 8, 2022

It was OK. Not really my type of book. Thought it was drawn out and kind of boring. It could have been condensed a lot.


Kay Gormley

50 reviews3 followers

December 31, 2021

It was surprising to find this was non-fiction (guess I didn't read the blurb carefully enough), but it was a very interesting read. I did like the honesty of the writing and learning about Barry Slotnick was informative. I would like to know what his son is now doing--so many of the cases were in the background for me. The law is not a field I would have enjoyed professionally because it's about winning, not the truth. A good read, not a typical Patterson book.


6 reviews1 follower

December 30, 2021

This is one of the worst books ever written. J. Patterson should be embarrassed his name is on the cover. Just lists a bunch of random facts about a lawyer, Barry slotnick, and how great he thinks he is. Maybe James is trying to get on Barry’s good side so Barry will represent him if/when James gets sued by someone in the future. Like paying it forward. I can think of no other reason to write/publish this book unless Barry paid him lots of $ to do it. Of no interest to the general public.


87 reviews

January 28, 2022

Wow! Even if you’re not a fan of biographies— one hell of a story!

It’s hard to believe that one man packed so much into his lifetime as has Barry Slotnick. With a talented storyteller at the helm, this bio is a larger than life tale. What a ride — all the ups and downs of life as a famous trial lawyer make for an extraordinary book.

I read this after checking it out from the LA County Library.

December 30, 2021

This book was interesting but extremely confusing at times. There were chapters that didn’t need to be included (they didn’t add to the book) and it was, at times, hard to keep track of the various people involved in the cases. I was also disappointed in the writing style which I thought should have the book more interesting

The Romance Book Disciple (Samantha)

1,984 reviews342 followers

February 16, 2022

DNF. This was just too boring to continue.

    2022 arc-s


679 reviews4 followers

April 28, 2022

While some parts of this book were interesting, it dragged on way too long on the major trials.

Jill McDeavitt

18 reviews

April 18, 2023


Gladys Drybred

15 reviews1 follower

November 23, 2023

It was interesting. Was aware of the crimes but really knew nothing about them or the lawyer in the cases. Not a book I would have probably read except for the fact that it was a James Patterson book. He did a good job of showing the workings of a trial along with Ben Wallace.


348 reviews2 followers

December 28, 2021

This book was interesting to me since I never followed the Gaetz or Gotti trials. This lawyer was a blessing to the mob members., Quite a reputation for winning at all costs. I recommend this one for anyone interested in following mob trials, etc.


226 reviews12 followers

March 6, 2022

I would have liked to have given this a five-star rating. There were several places where I had a hard time wading through the bog. I feel like there could have been more told about the bigger cases and/or more details about his mafia affiliation it might helped to keep the readers' interest.
I do realize Patterson must have invested a great deal of research in order to write this book. There were places where I found it to be fascinating and craved more. For Barry Slotnick to have never lost a case is truly an amazing career achievement.

For more than a decade, Barry Slotnick never lost a case—no matter how notorious or dangerous his clients.

Everyone deserves the best defense.
Known for his sharp mind, sharp suits, and bold courtroom strategies, Bronx-native Barry Slotnick is known as the best criminal lawyer in the US.
He calls himself “Liberty’s Last Champion.”
Slotnick mediates Bette Midler’s bathhouse contract and represents John Gotti, “The Dapper Don.” He defends “Subway Shooter” Bernie Goetz and negotiates future First Lady Melania Trump’s pre-nup.
His unparalleled legal brilliance defines a profession, a city—and an era.

Tameka Fleming

Author3 books12 followers


August 30, 2022

I have never read anything from James Patterson before so I hate that this is my first. None the less, it is and so. I never heard of a mafia boss named Columbo and don't think the publisher should have sold this on mafia cases. Gotti was a big name in the 90s (primarily in the New York area) but I don't think he [nor Columbo] are nationally known and will draw peoples attention today. However, if you are looking for a true crime read about real-life court cases that were headliners in the 80s and 90s, this is your book. I wasn't impressed but that's probably because I was expecting something completely different based on the presentation of this book.


Wesley Rose

6 reviews

May 17, 2024

I enjoy James Patterson books a lot. With this one but I found most interesting was his ability to tell him incredible story that is also a non-fiction. In this book, James effectively took us through multiple decades of stories and was able to weave with clarity and help me stay in tune with every detail in every case. I love this one so much that I bought a few more by him.


516 reviews18 followers

April 29, 2022

The defense attorney by James Patterson was a very good book. It explored the life of Bernard slotniick and the cases in which he handled. I truly enjoyed the characters. A must read for anyone who likes non fiction books


280 reviews32 followers

November 26, 2022

A biographic book of one of the best if not THE best lawyer in his era, however; the book depicts Attny Slotnick somewhat self-centered and above it all. Yes, the efforts, skills, courage were beyond the norms of average but.......YOU be the judge!

Hannah Watson

75 reviews

January 14, 2023

US lawyers are so dramatic



3 reviews

January 20, 2024

Hard to say why I read this book


145 reviews

January 14, 2022

I only read half of this book. I started with the sample liked the first few chapters. This story intreged me I wanted to understand how someone could do this job and live etc. I found my answer but half way through it turned into reading about each legal case he took to court and it lost a lot of its movement.

Laurie Norris

20 reviews1 follower

April 14, 2023

I found it to be really interesting an a quick read.


Joann 'bartunek' prashek

842 reviews12 followers

December 12, 2021

4.5, I sometimes had a hard time keeping the defendants straight, especially during the Mafia RICO trial. All in all, it was a very interesting book to listen to. Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to review this audiobook.


8,761 reviews154 followers

June 2, 2022

A biography of Barry Slotnick, a defense attorney. I'm not a fan of Patterson's nonfiction books, but it was still an entertaining read.



267 reviews68 followers

January 20, 2023

What a great read! The Defense Lawyer: The Barry Slotnick Story is one heck of a tale. this is the story of Barry Slotnick, one of the greatest defense lawyers the country has had in the twentieth century. James Patterson brought his story telling to this wonderful book. A non-fiction that reads like a gripping novel. The Defense Lawyer: The Barry Slotnick Story tells Barry Slotnick's story by bouncing between two parallel trials happening at the same time. Balancing between the Gotti mob trials and the Bernard Goetz trials. Two truly heavy weight criminal trials at the time. Using this method, James Patterson tells a captivating story, but also deftly explains Slotnick's approach to the law and how he maneuvered to win his cases. It also explains how Slotnick saw the law and why chose to defend the worst.

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

    biography history law


23 reviews

February 7, 2022

A flourish of still-relevant tidbits sit atop this flailing, disconcerted attempt to elevate a successful lawyer beyond his locality. The driving moral imperative of being a defender of liberty unsettles one as liberty is never truly defined, leaving naked drivel steeped in the cult of personality. Fancy suits, mob connections, and delusional grandeur fill the hollow actions and words. The book vacillates from character studies to haphazard, useless events that drag the story on and on. Ultimately, the lawyer is portrayed as a magician: well prepared, committed to the craft of legal innovation, and genuinely intelligent; all contribute well to his magical acts in the courtroom. His bullish work ethic and commitment are historically noteworthy, but wrapping up a case in the sense that it is the most important one in the world at that time fundamentally rattles one’s bones. Contrary to the accomplished attorney written about, the book fails at presenting its case that the resolutions of so-called justice pushed forward liberty for the common American. For most, the subject matter are still just passing lyrics in a fiery song.


543 reviews6 followers

May 4, 2022

A criminal defense lawyer in this country, under our Constitution, has two duties. First, he must get paid. The lawyer's next duty is to approach 12 citizens who sit in a jury box and do not get paid, and try to confuse them so much that at the end they will have no idea of what they have heard and what it all means. They will go home broke and disgusted and the lawyer will go home with his money.”
Jimmy Breslin

One wonders after reading this book how much justice is served within our court systems. Guilty people, with the help of very extravagantly paid lawyers, are acquitted or have their cases thrown out in court. Mr. Slotnick was all about winning. I wonder if he had conscience pangs with some of the people that he defended including John Gotti and Bernard Goetz.

This book was a relatively quick read. I was not really familiar with Barry Slotnick before I read this book. He's not exactly a hero. He's just a well paid lawyer who is able to use his verbal magic to get his clients cleared. Since this was just a library book, I just invested a little bit of time… Not that kind of book that I would have paid for.

    barry-slotnick law lawyer

Roger Smitter

1,243 reviews

January 10, 2022

With the name “James Patterson” on the front on this book, readers might think they are looking at yet another court-room fiction story.

But this book goes in a very different person. It’s the real Barry Slotnick who always win his cases, most often for the bad buys. Author Barry Slotnick goes into depth on how Slotnick worked to win so often. He has had helped the “bad guys” get out of jail.

We get lots of details about this lawyer with a strange name. His skills are not strange. He knew the best way to ask question in court and to get his audience to follow him.

Beginning lawyers might find some information from this book. However, the book is written for the rest of us. But it would be a bit more accurate about law in the court than we see in fiction and movies. .


2,658 reviews32 followers

February 6, 2022

This biography of uber-successful lawyer Barry Slotnick examines the highlights of his career and is essentially the glorification of a lawyer who sought fame and fortune as he defended those with enough money to hire him. While it is true that everyone deserves representation, the choices made by this lawyer who refers to himself as “Liberty’s Last Champion” are not particularly commendable and the “not guilty” verdicts rendered in these cases may leave readers wondering if justice was truly served.

Well-written, often reading like a crime novel rather than a true-life biography, readers receive an unintended lesson in devious techniques and despicable actions. Nevertheless, the cases are interesting and, despite the egotistical lawyer that is the subject of the narrative, the book is eminently readable.


1,125 reviews3 followers

April 18, 2022

2.5 stars

I was intrigued seeing that James Patterson's name was on a non fiction true crime book so I decided to check it out.

I think James Patterson should stick to writing fiction because writing non fiction in the same style doesn't jive well. I found the book to be too choppy. Time lines seemed all over the place so I would constantly have to shift or try and remember is this before or after the trial that is being talked about. While it was nice that the book didn't read like a textbook there was no flow to this book at all.

It was nice to learn more about the famous lawyer, Barry Slotnick, as I wasn't that familiar with him. This books feels like a good summary of some of his most famous cases.

The only thing I enjoyed about this book was learning more about the lawyer. The execution of the book wasn't for me.

    2022-finished non-fiction true-crime
The Defense Lawyer: The Barry Slotnick Story (2024)
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