First Victim (Paperback)

First Victim By Debbie Babitt Cover Image

First Victim (Paperback)

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(Mystery/Thriller)

The line between justice and revenge blurs when a judge takes the law into her own hands.


The Honorable Alice D. McKerrity is no stranger to violence. From the bench at Manhattan Supreme, she has seen the most hardened killers pass through her courtroom. But there’s something about this trial—a defendant charged with the murder of a pregnant woman—that affects her as no other case ever has. Her chaotic, stressful home life only adds to her mounting feelings of panic and fear. She’s also harboring a secret that if exposed could have far-reaching ramifications both personally and professionally. And now, unbeknownst to Alice, her daughter has begun a search for her biological father. 


As the trial progresses, Alice’s life starts to unravel. Nightmares she suffered as a girl return with a vengeance. Phantom sightings torment her. Is she being paranoid? Or are the specters real? Almost at the breaking point, she begins to doubt her own sanity. Then she makes a shocking discovery that sends her on a collision course with her past and a terror-filled night in the woods in Upstate New York. Confronted with the unspeakable, she must face a decades-buried truth as she fights for her survival against a cunning adversary that forces her to question everything she ever believed about herself . . . and tests her limits as a woman, a judge, and a mother.


Narrated from the perspectives of three women—Alice, her daughter, and Alice’s girlhood friend—First Victim is a suspenseful tale of guilt, justice, and long-awaited retribution.



Debbie Babitt was Copy Director for two major Manhattan publishing companies. She has worked as an actress, playwright, and drama critic. Her first novel, Saving Grace, was named One of the Most Anticipated Thrillers of 2021 by She Reads and voted one of the Best Debuts of 2021 by Suspense magazine. First Victim, her second novel, was a Buzz Book of 2022. Her feature articles have appeared in CrimeReads, Suspense magazine, and Mystery & Suspense magazine. Debbie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. The Man on the Train, Debbie’s third novel, a Hitchcockian thriller set in the Hamptons, will be published in May 2024.

Product Details ISBN: 9781613164266
ISBN-10: 1613164262
Publisher: Scarlet
Publication Date: July 11th, 2023
Pages: 312
Language: English
First Victim is a first rate legal thriller. Debbie Babitt blends suspense, character and courtroom drama with the complications of everyday life and comes up with a real winner.

— Michael Connelly

Setting the standard for top-notch thrillers, First Victim is smart, compelling and filled with utterly real characters. Author Babitt brings formidable storytelling talent to the game, and is quite the stylist. Once you start this novel, you won’t put it down!
— Jeffery Deaver, author of The Bone Collector and The Midnight Lock

A taut, visceral thriller. From the first page to the last, FIRST VICTIM grabs you by the throat and hurtles you forward in a breathless need for answers, as the twists and turns keep coming. Buckle up for a wild ride.
— Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before She Disappeared

First Victim is a powerhouse—smart, suspenseful, sensational, and full of surprises. Debbie Babitt is a born stylist. I can't wait to see what she writes next.

— William Bernhardt, bestselling author of The Last Chance Lawyer

The life of a judge presiding over a brutal murder trial begins to unravel as the case unearths ghosts from her dark past – one she’s kept secret from everyone, including her grown daughter. Propulsive writing and a gripping story make First Victim one hell of a thriller!
— Wendy Walker, bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten

An intriguing legal thriller with twists you never see coming. Take a deep breath and enjoy this one.
— Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Omega Factor

This gripping legal thriller examines the fine line between justice and
revenge…vivid courtroom drama [that] builds to a harrowing, action-packed finale.
— Publishers Weekly

First Victim is full of suspense and chills, but most of all, it is a fine character study that makes for a top-notch psychological/legal thriller.

— Ray Palen - Book Reporter