Denver Bar Association
December 1999
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A Cinderella Affidavit

by James P. Hollaway

James P. Hollaway is counsel to the Appellate Discipline Commission in Denver.

Book Reviewed
"A Cinderella Affidavit"
By Michael Fredrickson, Forge Publishing, 280 pages

In his first novel, "A Cinderella Affidavit," my friend (yes, let’s get that out of the way right up front), Michael Fredrickson, has written a damn good book about a drug bust gone wrong, way wrong.

So, what’s a Cinderella affidavit, and what’s it got to with things? In Massachusetts, where Fredrickson serves as general counsel to the Board of Bar Overseers, which is the lawyer regulatory agency, a Cinderella affidavit is a phony affidavit sworn out by a cop who has used a fake snitch to get a search warrant.

Does this sound familiar? When polled, some Colorado judges and defense lawyers said the name meant nothing to them, until they heard what it stood for—then, they recognized it immediately. One, a former public defender and a bit of a cynic, called it the usual way of doing business.

In any event, this affidavit figures prominently in our story, where our hero, a youngish "senior associate" in a Boston law firm, Matthew Boer, finds himself in over his head. He gets stuck representing a small-time hustler who anonymously passed some information to the police, which turns up in the dreaded affidavit. During the ensuing no-knock raid, an officer is killed, and the push to learn who Matt’s client is and to find him becomes intense.

In one surprising turn of events after another, Matt finds himself contending not only with the pros in the business of criminal prosecution and defense, but also with his firm’s intimidating management committee, Chinese mobsters, and the worst of the lot, politicians.

With pluck and determination, and the support of Boer’s outrageous and fearless mentor, the inimitable Ira Teitelbaum, our hero leads us to a surprising epilogue.

Former Forge Publishing editor-in-chief says, "Mike may be the most talented first novelist I’ve ever encountered. Mike writes stuff that’s drop-dead funny."

His sense of humor is not surprising, considering his past. He was a "child of the ’60s" who received a Rhodes Scholarship and went to Oxford University to study English and literature. Mike started his own singing telegram business in 1977 and then used the proceeds to attend Harvard Law School, where he was elected an editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating magna cum laude in 1982, he joined a large Boston law firm, where he found himself "surrounded by 25-year-old snots." In 1989, he became general counsel to the overseers.

The book is full of dialogue that one reviewer from Court TV calls riveting and realistic, from lifelike cops and criminals. She warns readers, "don’t start reading at bedtime or you’ll never get to sleep." She was right.

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