Books by Barbara Parker

Barbara Parker is a former prosecutor with the state attorney’s office in Dade County, Florida. She is the author of eleven mysteries, including Suspicion of Innocence, which was a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American

THE PERFECT FAKE by Barbara Parker
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

"Lite action, travel and romance."
A website designer with a checkered past takes on a forgery job for the Miami millionaire whose lawyer daughter he dated before things turned sour. Read full book review >
SUSPICION OF RAGE by Barbara Parker
Released: Feb. 21, 2005

"For all the characters, details, and theatrics, a rather inert installment. "
In this latest in the Suspicion of . . . series, Parker (Suspicion of Madness, 2003, etc.) sends her protagonists to Cuba on a case that never quite kicks into gear. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 24, 2003

"As overstuffed as one of Joan Sinclair's ripest films, and just as loony: a remarkable exercise in instant camp."
Almost-married Miami lawyers Gail O'Connor and Anthony Quintana (Suspicion of Vengeance, 2001, etc.) battle the craziest family in the Florida Keys to a TKO. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 6, 2001

"Parker (Suspicion of Malice, 2000, etc.) pulls off the impossible: the story of an 11th-hour Death Row appeal that actually plods."
A double dip into violent deaths past isn't enough to power Miami lawyer Gail Connor's race to save a wrongly convicted killer swiftly heading toward execution.. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

"Sadly, the killer's revealed just as the lovers have resolved their differences. The last thirty pages might as well be blank."
Miami lawyer Gail Connor squares off against her ex-fiancé Anthony Quintana in the fifth volume of this interchangeably titled series (Suspicion of Betrayal, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: April 5, 1999

How can you tell that Miami lawyer Gail Connor is being lied to again? Because her ears are open, as they are to no avail throughout this fourth round of her legal-cum-domestic travails. At first Gail thinks the metallic-sounding voice threatening her over the phone must belong to Payton Cunningham, the neighborhood kid she chased out of her yard after he kissed her daughter Karen, 11. But would a teenager really identify himself as Death, send her doctored photographs threatening Karen and herself, as well as roses offering condolences for Karen's (nonexistent) death accompanied by a card signed by Gail's murdered sister Renee, or decapitate Karen's pet kitten? No kid could have such an animus, Gail decides. But if the perp isn't Payton, who is? The field of apparently innocuous men surrounding Gail—men who suddenly reveal potentially murderous depths beneath their smiling surfaces—is worthy of Mary Higgins Clark. There's Wendell Sweet, the oilman husband who's doing his best to divorce Gail's earthy client without leaving her a cent. There's Simon Yancey, the disgruntled victim of a mortgage foreclosure Gail handled years back. There's Charlie Jenkins, the contractor who magically turned up one day to work on restoring the house Gail's purchased with her fiancÇ, well-connected Cuban attorney Anthony Quintana (Suspicion of Deceit, 1998). There's Hector Mesa, the sinister friend and courier to the Pedrosas, Anthony's wealthy family. And for good measure, there's Anthony himself, looking awfully hot-headed now that there's pressure on his bride-to-be, and Dave Metzger, Gail's ex, who's bobbed up from his Caribbean sojourn to sue Gail for custody of Karen. All right, the real culprit isn't worth a second shudder. Until the disappointing denouement, though, Parker piles on the menace with all the smooth efficiency of the storied Pedrosas. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 2, 1998

Messy, overplotted third volume in Parker's Suspicion series (Suspicion of Guilt, 1995, etc.) continues the travails of Miami lawyer Gail Connor. Now on her own in a one-woman practice, Connor isn't getting many clients but is enjoying the low-key joys of taking her daughter to soccer games and doing pro bono work for the Miami Opera while spending every night in the arms of her fiancÇ, Cuban-born supersuccessful defense lawyer Anthony Quintana. At a swank Opera soirÇe, Connor learns that tenor Tom Nolan, who's booked to open the season, did a series of recitals two years before in Cuba. Though most of the ever-so-sleazy rich folks on the Opera's board couldn't care less about their star's employment history, the city's large population of anti-Castro Cuban refugees might well take offense. Quintana, hoping to be nothing more than Connor's escort, finds himself questioned by board members who are afraid that Quintana's brother-in-law, rabble-rousing anti-Castro radio talk-show host Octavio Reyes, might rally his listeners against them, possibly with the backing of Quintana's vehemently anti-Communist grandfather. While Quintana mutters about not being his brother-in-law's keeper, Connor discovers that her fiancÇ not only harbored Marxist sympathies 20 years previously, but accompanied some of the very same board members on an ill-fated pilgrimage to Nicaragua to help the Sandinistas, a trip resulting in the murder of Quintana's old American girlfriend by a Somozan thug. But was Quintana in any way responsible for her death? Parker plays on Connor's fears about her fiancÇ's past while an assassin picks off members of the Opera board, all of whom have some connection to the Nicaraguan misadventure. The climax, in which Connor stalls for time by persuading the killer to play an opera recording, is too silly for words. All this, and piles of politically correct palaver about Miami's misunderstood Cuban exiles. Even Parker's fans might put this one down. Read full book review >
CRIMINAL JUSTICE by Barbara Parker
Released: Feb. 3, 1997

Parker's latest Miami lawyer-in-distress is Daniel Galindo, Esq., who gets mangled in a DEA undercover operation against his lovers and relatives. After months of hard work, Operation Manatee is ready for the big push against Miguel Salazar and the associates he's bullied into letting him use Mayhem, an up-and-coming band, to launder millions in heroin cash. DEA agent-in-charge Vincent Hooper and assistant US prosecutor Elaine McHale, who just happen to be lovers, have placed an undercover agent and turned a reluctant informer inside Coral Rock Productions. Very nice for them—but not so nice for Dan Galindo, Elaine's former colleague at the federal attorney's office, whose life has been in a tailspin ever since he refused to suborn perjury in an earlier drug case. Divorced from his wife Lisa, Dan's still friendly with Lisa's brother Rick Robbins, Mayhem's manager, and even friendlier with Mayhem guitarist Kelly Dorff, not realizing that she's Manatee's informant. Struggling to be a father to his son Josh, Dan allows Salazar to lend him his yacht for a fishing trip—and finds himself slipping even further into the bad guys' pockets. Although there are undeniable compensations—at diverse times Dan enjoys romantic scenes with Kelly, with Lisa, with ambitious Mayhem vocalist Martha Cruz, and even with Elaine—they vanish when Kelly's killed at Dan's apartment, shot with his own speargun. If Dan didn't do it—and Elaine's ready to provide him with an alibi—who did? There's a surprising answer, but you may have forgotten all about it in the storm over (1) the quest for an incriminating audiotape; (2) Dan's domestic dilemmas; (3) Rick's entanglement with monstrous Salazar; (4) the fate of Mayhem, whose members should check their insurance policies; and (5) the infighting among all those feds. Nobody plots more generously than Parker (Blood Relations, 1996, etc.), but this time, with enough menace for a whole season of Miami Vice, the result is so unfocused that it's exhausting instead of dramatic. (First printing of 60,000; author tour) Read full book review >
BLOOD RELATIONS by Barbara Parker
Released: Feb. 19, 1996

A high-profile rape case lands the prosecuting attorney in more trouble than the victim or the defendants ever dreamed of. Rookie model Ali Duncan, 17, sure didn't pick the right people to get assaulted by: her former lover George Fonseca, ex- footballer Marquis Lamont, and moneyed boutique owner Klaus Ruffini. Handed this hot potato by a see-no-evil Florida state's attorney, Miami prosecutor Sam Hagen presses for indictments, and in no time at all—okay, it takes practically forever—his key witness, pretty-boy model Charlie Sullivan, is murdered. Can Sam make a case with a dead witness and a victim who's only too eager to drop her complaint for a fat Ruffini settlement—and who's no poster girl anyway? It may not matter, because the next victim is George Fonseca. Sam doesn't realize (though the gentle reader will) that the murders have less to do with what happened to Ali Duncan than what happened a year ago to Sam's son Matthew, a.k.a. aspiring model Stavros, a rebellious kid who mixed liquor, drugs, and his new motorcycle into a suicidal cocktail. As Sam drifts away from his obsessively grieving wife Dina and back into the arms of his onetime lover Caitlin Dorn, a model-turned-fashion- photographer who's survived as long as she has by knowing all the wrong people, Sam's former partner in war and work, Frank Tolin, warns Sam that Caitlin knows more than she's ever admitted about Matthew's death. But does Sam listen? And will he deserve everything he gets? Parker (Suspicion of Guilt, p. 18, etc.) moves toward Dominick Dunne's soapy territory, but without Dunne's (or Parker's own previous) knack of keeping the story clear and compelling by taming subplots and keeping minor characters vivid and distinct. A painfully obvious snoozer. (First printing of 50,000; Literary Guild Selection; author tour) Read full book review >
SUSPICION OF GUILT by Barbara Parker
Released: March 13, 1995

A high-stakes civil suit over the legitimacy of wealthy Palm Beach, Fla., widow Althea Tillett's will goes ballistic with the news that Althea's fall down her stairs was no accident. Althea's nephew Patrick Norris, cut off with a $250,000 bequest, is convinced the will is too decorously phrased to be authentic. He tells his law-school classmate and former lover Gail Connor that his stepcousins Rudy and Monica Tillett must have connived at forgery with Althea's attorney, Alan Weissman, the two witnesses, and the woman who (quite unnecessarily) notarized the document. Gail's hoity-toity law firm, still smarting from Gail's arrest for murder in Suspicion of Innocence (1994), isn't eager for her to take the case—especially since the principal beneficiary of the contested will isn't the despised Tillett twins but the charitable, and formidable, Easton Trust. Even before the police decide that Althea's death was murder, however, Gail's already dug up some major dirt on the Easton Trust, taking time out from her sweetly passionate affair with criminal lawyer Anthony Quintana to masquerade as a hooker (!) in order to link the Trust to a raggedy chain of X-rated movie palaces and by-the-hour motels—and to Carla Napolitano, whose seal notarized the will in question, but who was in New Jersey on the day the will was dated. Before Gail can depose her, Carla's dead, and then so is one of the witnesses. Weissman and his partner Lauren Sontag, an old friend of Gail's who has her eye on the judicial bench, are offering a fat settlement. But Gail, her own eye on an equity partnership, presses harder and harder, until somebody finally presses back. Lacks the pacing and drive of Gail's striking debut, but still powered by a heroine whose delicate, authoritative embodiment of the genre's current conventions—the tensions of single parenthood, workplace romance, and professional infighting—makes her irresistible. (Literary Guild selection) Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 10, 1994

The apparent suicide of her libertine younger sister leads an up-and-coming Wasp lawyer into the orbit of a Cuban grandee and his attractive family—and to an indictment for murder—in an intelligently steamy first novel. Jimmy Panther, an understandably cynical Indian Everglades tour guide and alligator handler, discovered the body of pretty Renee Pettis while showing a Scandinavian family the saurian terrors outside Miami. As it happened, Mr. Panther recognized the corpse from a distance, having had some rather odd business dealings with Renee in the recent past. Mr. Panther is just one of the upsetting characters who enter attorney Gail Connor's life as she tries to tie up the many loose ends her sister has left lying around the city. Gail quickly learns that Renee carried on with drug-dealers, was into rather advanced sexual activities, and secretly met Gail's husband, Dave, regularly for lunch. Was Dave the father of Renee's unborn child? He says not. Perhaps the father was too-slick property developer Carlos Pedrosa, with whom Renee carried on for months? Gail sincerely hopes the father was not Carlos's cousin Anthony Quintana, the exceptionally handsome lawyer she just met in court. She rather fancies Anthony—and, as it turns out, she will rather need him when the Miami police decide that Renee could not have slit her own wrists but that Gail very likely could have. It takes every bit of the family's political pull and spare cash to keep Gail out on bail so that she can find out why anyone would want to kill Renee, how Jimmy Panther got his hands on a valuable Indian artifact that seems to have something to do with the murder, what it is about her mother's cousin Ben that arouses such deep emotions, and exactly what she is going to do about the attractive but excessively secretive Mr. Quintana. Not terribly mysterious but deft, sexy, and populated with enough interesting characters for two books. Parker makes excellent use of Miami. Read full book review >