From a shark prosecutor’s easy win, incalculable losses derive.
A slam dunk if ever there was one—that’s how the case looks to newly appointed First Assistant County Attorney Paul Riley. The case: six young women brutally murdered on premises belonging to a certain Terry Burgos. Forensic evidence: overwhelming. Alibi: nonexistent. When, in addition, Burgos more or less confesses, the defense is down to the frail hope of an insanity plea. Without working up much of a sweat, Riley disposes of that, and in the process, earns the gratitude of tycoon Harland Bentley, whose personal wealth is estimated at a billion and a half, and whose beloved daughter was one of the six victims. Convicted, Burgos is sentenced to die in the gas chamber and does, and Riley is a witness. There is, to be sure, a moment of unforeseen drama. Before dying, Burgos mouths to Riley: “I’m not the only one.” Unsettling, yes, but not for long. The question of legality aside, Burgos was, after all, manifestly crazy. Flash forward 16 years. Riley is now in private practice, head of a substantial firm bulwarked by Harland Bentley’s multinational legal business. He is, in short, a player. Suddenly, a new murderous cycle has the city’s media buzzing. And there are the notes that begin arriving at Riley’s office—creepy, cryptic. Despite himself, Riley investigates—and learns how chimerical truth can be. And how disastrous.
Another top-flight legal thriller from Edgar-winner Ellis (In the Company of Liars, 2004, etc.), brimming with quality prose and layered characterizations. And if the plot twists gratuitously a time or two, well, settle.