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.
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