Buffa, Dudley W. 1940-
BUFFA, Dudley W. 1940-
(D. W. Buffa)
PERSONAL: Born December 8, 1940, in San Francisco, CA; son of Harold D. and Beverly S. (Johnson) Buffa. Education: Michigan State University, B.A., 1963; Wayne State University, J.D., 1979; University of Chicago, M.A., 1980; Ph.D., 1980.
ADDRESSES: Office—College of Liberal Arts, Willamette University, Salem, OR 97301.
CAREER: Michigan State University, East Lansing, instructor, 1970-74; U.S. Senate, Washington, DC, special assistant to Senator Philip A. Hart, 1974-77; National Rural Center, Washington, DC, Midwest regional director, 1977-78; Oregon State University, Corvallis, assistant professor of business administration, 1980-85; affiliated with Willamette University, Salem, OR; writer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Nominated for Edgar Allan Poe Award in best novel category, Mystery Writers of America, 2002, for The Judgment.
under name d. w. buffa, except as noted
The Prosecution: A Legal Thriller, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1999.
The Judgment, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2001.
The Legacy, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Star Witness, G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2003.
Breach of Trust: A Joseph Antonelli Novel, G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2004.
ADAPTATIONS: The Defense and The Judgment were recorded as audiobooks by Time Warner, 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Lawyer and professor Dudley W. Buffa has already enjoyed three careers. During the seventies, after teaching at Michigan State University, Buffa became involved in politics as a special assistant to U.S. Senator Philip A. Hart and headed the midwestern division of the National Rural Center. Then followed a ten-year university teaching stint, before Buffa turned novelist in 1997, when he published the first of a handful of legal thrillers featuring the young and handsome Portland, Oregon, lawyer, Joseph Antonelli. A measure of Buffa's success is that his third novel, The Judgment, was nominated for a prestigious Edgar Allan Poe award.
Buffa's debut novel, The Defense, "offers a fascinating look at the current legal system," according to Library Journal contributor Dean James. It recounts the story of Joseph Antonelli, a young defense attorney in Portland, Oregon, who defends a man accused of raping his stepdaughter. Reviewers praised the novel for its characterizations and plot, including a Publishers Weekly critic, who called the plot "compelling" and informed by the "moral and emotional authority of a literary novel." In Booklist Mary Frances Wilkins qualified her praise, describing the protagonist as "charming and believable," yet noting what she considered to be "stilted" and didactic dialogue. Reviewing the later audiobook version for Library Journal, James L. Dudley called the The Defense a "gut-wrenching tour de force."
From 1999 to 2003, Buffa continued writing about Antonelli, the star of The Defense, publishing in rapid succession The Prosecution, The Judgment, The Legacy, and Star Witness. These novels met with varying levels of success. While several reviewers found The Prosecution, about a murder-for-hire case, and The Legacy, about the murder of a U.S. senator, less successfully plotted than Buffa's debut novel, others remarked on the works' strengths. For example, in her Library Journal review of The Prosecution, Cecilia R. Cygnar commended the author's "dynamic writing and well-rounded characterization," and a Publishers Weekly review of The Legacy noted several "strong scenes and characterizations."
In the award-nominated sequel, The Judgment, which Library Journal contributor James L. Dudley described as "thrilling," Antonelli defends the accused murderer of a judge. In the process he discovers a sinister and complex scheme. Comparing this novel favorably to the legal thrillers of John Grisham and Scott Turow, Leslie Madden noted Buffa's "well-drawn characters, clean writing," and "complex" plot in her Library Journal review. In addition, Booklist reviewer Mary Frances Wilkens praised the character of Antonelli and the plot but found the dialog marred by "clichés and awkward turns of phrase." However, when Wilkens later reviewed the audiotape version of The Judgment, she discovered that the awkwardness was lessened with reading the novel aloud, and the "compelling story work[s] from all angles."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 1997, Mary Frances Wilkins, review of The Defense, p. 6; March 15, 2001, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of The Judgment, p. 1331; November 15, 2001, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of The Judgment (audiobook), p. 590.
Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, November, 1998, Andrew Lothian, review of The Defense, p. 52.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of The Legacy, p. 591.
Library Journal, September 15, 1997, Dean James, review of The Defense, p. 100; March 1, 1998, James Dudley, review of The Defense, p. 142; June 1, 1999, Cecilia R. Cygnar, review of The Prosecution, p. 170; April 15, 2001, Leslie Madden, review of The Judgment, p. 130; May 15, 2002, James L. Dudley, review of The Judgment (audiobook), p. 143.
New York Law Journal, January 13, 1998, Angeli R. Rasbury, review of The Defense, p. 2.
New York Times, October 16, 1997, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Defense, p. E8; July 12, 1999, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Shrewd and on the Side of Justice, or So He Thought," review of The Prosecution, p. E7.
New York Times Book Review, November 9, 1997, Marilyn Stasio, review of The Defense, p. 29.
Publishers Weekly, February 19, 1996, review of Taking Control: Politics in the Information Age, p. 198; September 1, 1997, review of The Defense, p. 93; May 24, 1999, review of The Prosecution, p. 64; May 7, 2001, review of The Judgment, p. 225; May 13, 2002, review of The Legacy, p. 48.
Scots Law Times, September 25, 1998, J. D. Murray Macara, review of The Defense p. 232.
Wisconsin Lawyer, March, 1998, Teresa M. Elguezabal, review of The Defense, p. 31.*