Books by Grif Stockley

BLIND JUSTICE by Grif Stockley
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

It's old-home week for Gideon Page when Latrice Bledsoe asks him to come back to Bear Creek, Arkansas, to defend her meatpacker husband Doss on a charge of taking money from Paul Taylor to kill Willie Ting, the boss at Southern Pride Meats. Page is happy to take the case because if he can get Doss to testify against Paul Taylor, he'll be nailing the man who cheated his mother after his father killed himself. Apart from a couple of ambiguous conversations, though, there's no evidence against Taylor, and plenty (bloody knife, heavily alibi-ed coworkers) against Doss. Anybody but Page (Illegal Motion, 1995, etc.) would see other trouble signs, too: Doss refuses to take a lie-detector test; the supposedly despised Taylor has a surprising amount of popular support in Bear Creek; and Taylor's lawyer seems utterly unconcerned about the trial. (He probably knows the novel will have run most of its course by the time he'll need to show up in court.) But Page, awash in youthful memories and content to neglect his long-suffering girlfriend Amy Gilchrist for the dubious embraces of high-school sweetheart Angela Marr—the man seems to take up with each woman only to abandon her for the next—just can't keep his eye on the ball; it'll be a miracle, and no thanks to his dazzled lawyer, if Doss walks. A thimble-sized mystery interleaved with so many reminiscences of the hero's adolescence you'll feel as if you're paging through somebody else's high-school yearbook. Despite some incisive asides on racism, sensitive Page's fifth case is his weakest. Read full book review >
ILLEGAL MOTION by Grif Stockley
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

The who's-lying rape trial of a pro-caliber black Arkansas football player: an incendiary scenario handled in Stockley's most ruminative vein. Actually, defense attorney Gideon Page (Religious Conviction, 1994, etc.) doesn't even get to go to trial until the closing pages. Before he can make a case that stellar running back Dade Cunningham couldn't have raped straight-A cheerleader Robin Perry because she was perfectly willingin fact, came on to him in the isolated house where she was supposed to be helping him work on a speechhe first has to get the case. (His cynical motive: If he gets Dade off, he may be the lucky lawyer chosen to negotiate his pro contract.) Then he has to convince the Razorbacks' coach not to throw Dade off the team, go to bat for Dade at the university's judiciary hearing, line up convincing character witnesses, and fret endlessly about the chances of a jury's believing a black defendant over his white accuser. Meantime, there are Gideon's other clients (a hooker who may have scalded her baby deliberately, an ex-cop desperate to evict his son); the continuing saga of his love life (off-again girlfriend Rainey McCorkle announces her engagement while his younger colleague Amy Gilchrist takes her place, but not really, as his lover); and daughter Sarah, a sophomore at Arkansas who is always ready to bend his ear about rape and male oppression and to make him look into the story that he and Dade may be closer than he knows. Because Gideon, unlike other fictional lawyers, takes every side of every question seriously, the legal arguments here all turn out to be arguments with himself. Stockley has just about perfected this formula: legal intrigue as psychomachia. Fans who aren't put off by Gideon's incessant reflections on the big issues buried in the simplest remarks will probably love spending another few hours with this decent, uncertain man. Read full book review >
RELIGIOUS CONVICTION by Grif Stockley
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 21, 1994

Arkansas lawyer Gideon Page, clinging to a parlous private practice after his stint as a public defender (Probable Cause, Expert Testimony), barely makes it into court in this undramatic courtroom drama. Not that Gideon expects to be doing much in front of the judge at all when Blackwell County hotshot Chet Bracken, stricken with cancer, asks him to sit second chair in his defense of Leigh Wallace, accused of shooting her unlovely husband Art. At first, Leigh's case looks bleak: she's lied to the police about her alibi, and she won't say a word to Gideon. Luckily, Chet has dug up evidence that Art had been skimming money from some heavy-hitting West Coast porn merchants who could well have hired him dead, and Gideon finds even better evidence involving a suspect closer to home: Leigh's father, Shane Norman, pastor of the Christian Life Church, who'd never approved of Art's attempts to sway Leigh from the church, and who's horrified by the possibility that Art's nudie home videos of blushing Leigh were intended to launch her unwitting career on the flesh circuit. But none of the faithful wants Norman implicated—not Leigh, not Gideon's daughter Sarah, or his off-again girlfriend Rainey, and certainly not Chet, whose pint-sized son doesn't scruple to ask Gideon if he's accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. How can Gideon, suddenly catapulted into heading the defense, save Leigh without selling out her father? It's not much of a question to hang a legal thriller on, and it doesn't get much of an answer. Only the background—especially Gideon's prickly duet with dying, dislikable Chet and his tender, second-guessing relation with Sarah—is as strong as ever. Read full book review >
PROBABLE CAUSE by Grif Stockley
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Former Arkansas Public Defender Gideon Page (Expert Testimony, 1991), fired from his new firm, lucks into a high-profile case: defending black psychologist Andrew Chapman on a charge of manslaughter after Chapman tries aversive shock-therapy—without following institutional procedures, and with a cattle prod—on self- abusive teenager Pam Le Master, who shook off her orderly, Leon Robinson, and grabbed the inadequately insulated prod, killing herself. Though Gideon will have to deal with his share of revelations—Leon turns out to be a white supremacist who might have acted maliciously; Chapman had a long-standing affair with Pam's snow- queen mother Olivia; Olivia herself had already lost custody of an earlier child she may have abused—this is less a mystery than a down- home Burden of Proof, a novel about what it's like to be a small-town southern lawyer with a dicey case headlining a dozen other subplots. Gideon's homespun warmth and wry charm are the real stars of this understated courtroom drama. Read full book review >
EXPERT TESTIMONY by Grif Stockley
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 1, 1991

When prominent Arkansas politician Hart Anderson is shot down by one of his psychiatrist-wife Carolyn's mental patients, public defender Gideon Page's job seems straightforward, if unappetizing: get self-confessed killer Perry Sarver the best deal he can from the prosecutor's office. No such luck: Perry insists on pleading insanity and going to trial; the D.A. indicts sleazy psychologist Jerry Kerner for hiring Perry to kill Anderson; Carolyn comes on to Page so strongly that he ends up sleeping with her after sexy/chaste social- worker Rainey McCorkle turns him down; a witness from a gay bar reports seeing Perry and Anderson coming out of a men's room together. The legal problems herewhy did Perry pull the trigger? at whose request? was he crazy? should Page play for a deal by threatening the D.A. with a witness who'll smear the late lamented Anderson, knowing that if the case goes to trial anyway he'll be supplying a motive for his client?are competently if unsurprisingly handled; better still is first-novelist Stockley's amusing, depressive narration of widower Page's home life (a daughter whose sex life worries him as much as his own) and his glum, endlessly compromising professional rounds. Read full book review >