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Gus Marchand, a hard-working, god-fearing man, has been found dead on his kitchen floor. Without any real evidence, the locals cast their suspicions toward Alex Feldman, Marchand's hideously deformed neighbor. At the request of a fellow attorney, Barbara agrees to defend him. But another suspect is the high-school principal, Hilde Franz, who'd had a contretemps with Gus ea Gus Marchand, a hard-working, god-fearing man, has been found dead on his kitchen floor. Without any real evidence, the locals cast their suspicions toward Alex Feldman, Marchand's hideously deformed neighbor. At the request of a fellow attorney, Barbara agrees to defend him. But another suspect is the high-school principal, Hilde Franz, who'd had a contretemps with Gus earlier that week. He had threatened to have her investigated and Hilde was seen near Marchand's property around the time of his death, giving police both a motive and an opportunity for murder. Hilde also happens to be an old friend of Barbara's father, Frank, so naturally he's going to defend her. Will Barbara have to square off against the man who taught her all she knows?


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Gus Marchand, a hard-working, god-fearing man, has been found dead on his kitchen floor. Without any real evidence, the locals cast their suspicions toward Alex Feldman, Marchand's hideously deformed neighbor. At the request of a fellow attorney, Barbara agrees to defend him. But another suspect is the high-school principal, Hilde Franz, who'd had a contretemps with Gus ea Gus Marchand, a hard-working, god-fearing man, has been found dead on his kitchen floor. Without any real evidence, the locals cast their suspicions toward Alex Feldman, Marchand's hideously deformed neighbor. At the request of a fellow attorney, Barbara agrees to defend him. But another suspect is the high-school principal, Hilde Franz, who'd had a contretemps with Gus earlier that week. He had threatened to have her investigated and Hilde was seen near Marchand's property around the time of his death, giving police both a motive and an opportunity for murder. Hilde also happens to be an old friend of Barbara's father, Frank, so naturally he's going to defend her. Will Barbara have to square off against the man who taught her all she knows?

30 review for Desperate Measures

  1. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Barbara Holloway is defending someone in a murder case while her father defends another suspect in the same case. So they must use care in talking and handling potential damming materials. Whilhelm writes an unusual mystery in this book. It kept me awake much too late last night. I like this series and the excellent court scenes Wilhelm writes. A great read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    Another great story and interesting look at criminal defense. As an added twist, Barbara and her father cannot be not partners because each has a client for potentially the same crime. Each of them knows how the other will operate and poor Baily is caught in the middle. A new/old love interest for Barbara?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Christian

    I was disappointed by Clear and Convincing Proof and looked forward to getting back into a Barbara Holloway story that involved courtroom drama. This one has that. The story is quite good, with Barbara defending a physically deformed client from a murder charge. As an attorney, I hold legal thrillers up to a higher standard, though, when it comes to the courtroom scenes, and there was one scene that just didn't ring true. The hearsay rule prevents a witness from testifying about what someone els I was disappointed by Clear and Convincing Proof and looked forward to getting back into a Barbara Holloway story that involved courtroom drama. This one has that. The story is quite good, with Barbara defending a physically deformed client from a murder charge. As an attorney, I hold legal thrillers up to a higher standard, though, when it comes to the courtroom scenes, and there was one scene that just didn't ring true. The hearsay rule prevents a witness from testifying about what someone else said, but when a witness in the story is called to recount exactly what he was told by someone else, the objection is overruled. There is no way in real life that would happen.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Wagner

    This is a re-read for me; in trying to pare the 1200 books in the living room down to, say, 800, I find myself re-reading entire series. This has always been one of my favorites - the protagonist, her family, her office staff - all very real characters, and the mystery portions of the plot are always excellently done.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hazel Bright

    Perception and its influence on instant judgment of character form the theme here. While the story build is great for the recurring characters, I did not buy the who that dunit. (view spoiler)[The abused wife finally kills the zealot husband, fair enough, but I do not see her spending her entire life protecting her kids from her husband just to kill herself and leave them orphans. (hide spoiler)] I would have liked to buy it, it was a neat ending, but it was awfully contrived. Perception and its influence on instant judgment of character form the theme here. While the story build is great for the recurring characters, I did not buy the who that dunit. (view spoiler)[The abused wife finally kills the zealot husband, fair enough, but I do not see her spending her entire life protecting her kids from her husband just to kill herself and leave them orphans. (hide spoiler)] I would have liked to buy it, it was a neat ending, but it was awfully contrived.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Soo

    Notes: Currently on Audible Plus 3.5 Round Up to 4 Stars for Excellent Narration by Anna Fields

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vannessa Anderson

    Alex Feldman, disfigured at birth, was born to beautiful parents. Alex was born with a beautiful body but a disfigured face. Alex’s parents’ wanted Alex’s psychiatrist to find a boarding school for boys like him. Dr. Graham Minick was about to retire and offered Alex a home with him. Alex accepted. Gus Marchand’s daughter, Rachael age thirteen, cuts school to be with boys in the woods behind Alex’s home. The school’s principal notified Rachael’s mother about Rachael cutting school and Rachael, t Alex Feldman, disfigured at birth, was born to beautiful parents. Alex was born with a beautiful body but a disfigured face. Alex’s parents’ wanted Alex’s psychiatrist to find a boarding school for boys like him. Dr. Graham Minick was about to retire and offered Alex a home with him. Alex accepted. Gus Marchand’s daughter, Rachael age thirteen, cuts school to be with boys in the woods behind Alex’s home. The school’s principal notified Rachael’s mother about Rachael cutting school and Rachael, to cover her tracks, accused Alex of stalking her. Gus believed her and riled up the community against Alex. Gus is found lying dead on his kitchen floor. Leona, Gus’ wife, was at the high school helping to decorate for the upcoming graduation was told about her husband and she rushed home. In her haste, she drove into a tree and died as the result of the accident. Dr. Minick suspected that Alex was going to be accused of killing Gus Marchand and sought out Barbara Holloway’s help in Alex’s defense. Barbara and her father, Frank, both were working on the case representing different clients and that added to the confusion. That brought friction into their already delicate daughter/father relationship. The investigation and court room drama will hold you spellbound. Desperate Measures demonstrated the hard hearts of people and how quickly they take sides without knowing the facts. Desperate Measures also showed the human nature intolerance for the deformed. Desperate Measures was a great read. Marguerite Gavin was a good pick to tell the story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leah Davis

    Entertaining. I'd never read anything by this author and am not sure I'd go out of my way to read more of her books. But then, if one fell in my lap I wouldn't turn it down. I guess I'll give it a 3, but it is a smudge better than that, but not a 4. Entertaining. I'd never read anything by this author and am not sure I'd go out of my way to read more of her books. But then, if one fell in my lap I wouldn't turn it down. I guess I'll give it a 3, but it is a smudge better than that, but not a 4.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Constance Maloney

    The first part of this review is a repeat of what I used for the first book in this series - because all of it still applies, and possibly someone has begun reading it mid-series. I love this series. I first read it years ago and am currently revisiting Barbara, Frank (and Things One and Two!) It is almost impossible to find the combination of traits that I enjoy in a legal story: A good amount of legal strategizing and theory A good amount of courtroom scenes ( typical the last 3rd of the book) The first part of this review is a repeat of what I used for the first book in this series - because all of it still applies, and possibly someone has begun reading it mid-series. I love this series. I first read it years ago and am currently revisiting Barbara, Frank (and Things One and Two!) It is almost impossible to find the combination of traits that I enjoy in a legal story: A good amount of legal strategizing and theory A good amount of courtroom scenes ( typical the last 3rd of the book) Suspense- without gratuitous gore and guts or an overdose of testosterone machismo (the Dismas Hardy gang has too much of this for my taste) Principal characters are smart and analytical, and also have real human struggles. It was when I had first read Kate Wilhelm's series that I realize this was what I wanted. For me, she has set the bar for all other legal stories. I had a little problem with this book - because I am not aware of any condition that causes babies to be born with the amount and sort of deformities that Alex has. I found this part of the premise unbelievable. Sadly, it is not at all unbelievable that many people react to him as they do in the storyline and automatically assume him to be evil. Additionally, the happy ending with Shelly and Alex's relationship was also too far of a stretch for my practical mind. But still, The book was a great read, and I recommend it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Graham is retiring as a child psychologist. He doesn’t want to see any new patients but relents when a friend tells him the story of Alex, a troubled young man. Alexander was facially deformed at birth and he, as well as his parents have difficulty coping. Graham and Alexander form a bond and move into Graham’s rural retirement home in another state. All seems to go well until, Gus, a neighbor, views Alex as the devil personified and turns the community against him. Gus’s sudden death casts susp Graham is retiring as a child psychologist. He doesn’t want to see any new patients but relents when a friend tells him the story of Alex, a troubled young man. Alexander was facially deformed at birth and he, as well as his parents have difficulty coping. Graham and Alexander form a bond and move into Graham’s rural retirement home in another state. All seems to go well until, Gus, a neighbor, views Alex as the devil personified and turns the community against him. Gus’s sudden death casts suspicion on Alex. Barbara is retained as his lawyer and coincidentally is pitted against her father who is also a lawyer. The story kept me guessing as to who the murderer was. When I first started reading the story, I thought it was about how the psychologist helped Alex but then the story became a murder mystery. It was interesting how Graham interacted with Alex and helped him cope with his deformity and become a well-adjusted young man who was able to contribute to society in his own way. It is a good story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    NCHS Library

    Publisher's Description: Trial lawyer Barbara Holloway has a reputation for taking on the toughest cases and winning them. But this time it looks as though she's up against an unbeatable opponent--the lawyer who taught her everything she knows. The trial involves the murder of Gus Marchand, a hard-working, God-fearing man who is found dead on his kitchen floor. The locals cast their suspicions toward Alex Feldman, Marchand's hideously deformed neighbor, without any real evidence linking him to th Publisher's Description: Trial lawyer Barbara Holloway has a reputation for taking on the toughest cases and winning them. But this time it looks as though she's up against an unbeatable opponent--the lawyer who taught her everything she knows. The trial involves the murder of Gus Marchand, a hard-working, God-fearing man who is found dead on his kitchen floor. The locals cast their suspicions toward Alex Feldman, Marchand's hideously deformed neighbor, without any real evidence linking him to the crime. At the request of a fellow attorney, Barbara agrees to defend him. The other suspect is the high school principal, Hilde Franz, who'd had an argument with the dead man earlier that week. But Hilde also happens to be an old friend of Barbara's father, Frank, who has agreed to defend him in court. For the first time in her career, Barbara cannot turn to her father for advice. Quite the contrary: she has to stay one step ahead of him if she's to have any hope of saving her client. Because she knows only too well what kind of legal mind she's up against.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim B

    If you enjoy John Gresham, but wish there was more "heart" to the stories, Barbara Holloway mysteries will probably satisfy you. This is the only one I've read, but to some degree Barbara is pitted against her father Frank (also a lawyer). I'm not that familiar with the law, but I wondered about the relationships in the book. Someone I regarded as a key suspect was allowed all kinds of access to inside information just because he was regarded as above suspicion. It seemed unprofessional on Barbar If you enjoy John Gresham, but wish there was more "heart" to the stories, Barbara Holloway mysteries will probably satisfy you. This is the only one I've read, but to some degree Barbara is pitted against her father Frank (also a lawyer). I'm not that familiar with the law, but I wondered about the relationships in the book. Someone I regarded as a key suspect was allowed all kinds of access to inside information just because he was regarded as above suspicion. It seemed unprofessional on Barbara Holloway's part. Certainly all the "trolls" in society remind me that people are not as good as I'd like them to be, but this was another one of those books with the religious people are all bad people.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ada Iaboni

    3.5 Stars is well deserved for this book. I learned a lot from this book. The law can be strict and deliberate at times, but Barbara found ways to keep a man out of the limelight within the law. A man that was born with deformities that most humans have a hard time believing and horrified at seeing, is accused of murder, mostly because of what he looks like. Barbara keeps him away from the "general public" and proves him innocent. A very interesting story-line that deserves high praise for this a 3.5 Stars is well deserved for this book. I learned a lot from this book. The law can be strict and deliberate at times, but Barbara found ways to keep a man out of the limelight within the law. A man that was born with deformities that most humans have a hard time believing and horrified at seeing, is accused of murder, mostly because of what he looks like. Barbara keeps him away from the "general public" and proves him innocent. A very interesting story-line that deserves high praise for this author. Definitely worth reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    BeParticular

    This series follows a predictable format, but it is done well with compelling characters and exciting storytelling. Wilhelm grabs me from the first page and keeps up the pace until the final paragraph. Barbara Holloway is a terrific character as are all the regulars in her circle. I particularly like how realistically the loving father/daughter relationship is portrayed. The sense of place is wonderful. Recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carol Collins

    This is my favorite Barbara Holloway book so far. Alex is a young man who was born with a severe birth defect that left him very disfigured. Many neighbors feared him and called him names. One of those neighbors, Gus, was found murdered and Alex was the prime suspect. Great read!! Can’t wait until next month when I can download book 7.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    Do wish somebody - narrator, author, publisher - would spend some time on finding out the local pronunciation of place names. It's "Will-LAM-et" - not "Wil-la-MET" - and I'm not even from Oregon. Every time it was pronounced incorrectly just pulled me out of the story. Do wish somebody - narrator, author, publisher - would spend some time on finding out the local pronunciation of place names. It's "Will-LAM-et" - not "Wil-la-MET" - and I'm not even from Oregon. Every time it was pronounced incorrectly just pulled me out of the story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Harriet

    I enjoy these books--EXCEPT for the incredible emphasis on fatphobia. All the "bad" characters are "overweight," "sloppy," "messy," etc. All the "good" characters are "slender," "slim," etc. Way to reinforce ridiculous stigma and prejudice, Ms. Wilhelm. Surely you can do better than that. I enjoy these books--EXCEPT for the incredible emphasis on fatphobia. All the "bad" characters are "overweight," "sloppy," "messy," etc. All the "good" characters are "slender," "slim," etc. Way to reinforce ridiculous stigma and prejudice, Ms. Wilhelm. Surely you can do better than that.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    3.5 stars

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stacielynn

    enjoyed finally getting the back story on Alex. Fascinating plot!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary Baker

    I enjoyed this novel in which Kate Wilhelm's female lawyer, Barbara Holloway, ,as usual, takes on a difficult case. I enjoyed this novel in which Kate Wilhelm's female lawyer, Barbara Holloway, ,as usual, takes on a difficult case.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Darius Murretti

    Not that brilliant but worth reading . I am undecided about wither to reread this book in 5 years . ( need to read more of the series)( actual rating 3.9)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    I thought this was great. It is hard to imagine the type of religious bigotry at the heart of this book existing in Oregon, but other than the location it felt very real.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bev Hudson

    I couldn’t put it down. Missed 2 nights of my favorite TV shows. I’ll now look for more Wilhelm books if the library ever opens.👿

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leslie McNamara

    Another great read. A new and unusual storyline and interesting characters.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cathi Cantrell

    Fascinating murder trial with exceptional characters throughout! Couldn't read it fast enough and hated to see it end! Wonderfully suspenseful, deliciously so! Fascinating murder trial with exceptional characters throughout! Couldn't read it fast enough and hated to see it end! Wonderfully suspenseful, deliciously so!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I really enjoyed this one! I figured out a few things, but not everything until it was explained! Really liked this!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Oh, this was a good one....

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    THIS SUMMARY/REVIEW WAS COPIED FROM OTHER SOURCES AND IS USED ONLY AS A REMINDER OF WHAT THE BOOK WAS ABOUT FOR MY PERSONAL INTEREST. ANY PERSONAL NOTATIONS ARE FOR MY RECOLLECTION ONLY Personal Note: This is one of my favorites by Kate! may not quite a 4, but much more than a 3 Alex Feldman, disfigured at birth, was born to beautiful parents. Alex was born with a beautiful body but a disfigured face. Alex’s parents’ wanted Alex’s psychiatrist to find a boarding school for boys like him. Dr. Graham THIS SUMMARY/REVIEW WAS COPIED FROM OTHER SOURCES AND IS USED ONLY AS A REMINDER OF WHAT THE BOOK WAS ABOUT FOR MY PERSONAL INTEREST. ANY PERSONAL NOTATIONS ARE FOR MY RECOLLECTION ONLY Personal Note: This is one of my favorites by Kate! may not quite a 4, but much more than a 3 Alex Feldman, disfigured at birth, was born to beautiful parents. Alex was born with a beautiful body but a disfigured face. Alex’s parents’ wanted Alex’s psychiatrist to find a boarding school for boys like him. Dr. Graham Minick was about to retire and offered Alex a home with him. Alex accepted. Gus Marchand’s daughter, Rachael age thirteen, cuts school to be with boys in the woods behind Alex’s home. The school’s principal notified Rachael’s mother about Rachael cutting school and Rachael, to cover her tracks, accused Alex of stalking her. Gus believed her and riled up the community against Alex. Gus is found lying dead on his kitchen floor. Leona, Gus’ wife, was at the high school helping to decorate for the upcoming graduation was told about her husband and she rushed home. In her haste, she drove into a tree and died as the result of the accident. Dr. Minick suspected that Alex was going to be accused of killing Gus Marchand and sought out Barbara Holloway’s help in Alex’s defense. Barbara and her father, Frank, both were working on the case representing different clients and that added to the confusion. That brought friction into their already delicate daughter/father relationship. The investigation and court room drama will hold you spellbound. Desperate Measures demonstrated the hard hearts of people and how quickly they take sides without knowing the facts. Desperate Measures also showed the human nature intolerance for the deformed. Desperate Measures was a great read. Marguerite Gavin was a good pick to tell the story. Gus is found lying dead on his kitchen floor. Leona, Gus’ wife, was at the high school helping to decorate for the upcoming graduation was told about her husband and she rushed home. In her haste, she drove into a tree and died as the result of the accident. Dr. Minick suspected that Alex was going to be accused of killing Gus Marchand and sought out Barbara Holloway’s help in Alex’s defense. Barbara and her father, Frank, both were working on the case representing different clients and that added to the confusion. That brought friction into their already delicate daughter/father relationship. The investigation and court room drama will hold you spellbound.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Alex Feldman was born horribly disfigured. By 14, he had attempted suicide several times. A retiring psychiatrist takes pity on Alex and moves him to his Oregon retreat and takes him on as his sole client. Alex grows up into a talented satirical cartoonist who lives a seclusive life. When his neighbor who had demonized and vilified him is killed, the police pick Alex as their scapegoat. Barbara Holloway,his attorney, is afraid that a jury will condemn him judged entirely on their inability to em Alex Feldman was born horribly disfigured. By 14, he had attempted suicide several times. A retiring psychiatrist takes pity on Alex and moves him to his Oregon retreat and takes him on as his sole client. Alex grows up into a talented satirical cartoonist who lives a seclusive life. When his neighbor who had demonized and vilified him is killed, the police pick Alex as their scapegoat. Barbara Holloway,his attorney, is afraid that a jury will condemn him judged entirely on their inability to empathize with Alex. Barbara's father, Frank, ends up accepting a client who turns out to ne the second suspect in the case. Now, Barbara and Frank are on opposite sides. As all the Holloway mysteries, this had lots of turns and twists. The clues to solving the case aren't there until near the end of the book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I like this series, and really enjoyed this one. Since I'm reading them out of order, it was nice to fill in the background for the character of Alex. I was hooked right from the beginning and liked the tension between Barbara and her father; it added a unique interest from others in the series. It didn't last long enough to become painful, thank goodness. There's only so much tension I can really take. It was nice to see the resolution between her and her father and Shelly and Alex. I like this series, and really enjoyed this one. Since I'm reading them out of order, it was nice to fill in the background for the character of Alex. I was hooked right from the beginning and liked the tension between Barbara and her father; it added a unique interest from others in the series. It didn't last long enough to become painful, thank goodness. There's only so much tension I can really take. It was nice to see the resolution between her and her father and Shelly and Alex.

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