The young woman at the cocktail party zeroes in on lawyer Tom McInnes (Dog Island
, 2000, etc.) because she's heard two things that set him apart: he's "trustworthy as a boy scout" and "smarter than God." Sheri Baneberry's mother has died recently under circumstances that might or might not be suspicious, she tells Tom, and she needs him to decide which. While serving as a juror in a multimillion-dollar civil suit, Kate Baneberry was rushed to the hospital, suffering from food poisoning. A healthy 40-something woman dies suddenly of food poisoning after exhibiting every sign of recovery? Anything's possible, sure, but Tom's antennae quiver. Skepticism mounts even higher when he discovers that other jurors—lots of others—have had strange things happen to them whenever the prestigious law firm of Russell & Wagler represents the plaintiff. Pshaw, Alabama's legal eagles are quick to insist: Russell & Wagler is above reproach. And yet there are all those convenient illnesses. There's that succession of fat verdicts Russell & Wagler have shared. There is, Tom grows certain, dirty work at the crossroads, and powerful, ruthless people determined to keep it under wraps. They reckon, however, without resourceful, tireless Tom, who's beaten up, knifed, shot, and set up for disbarment before he demonstrates how rough boy scouts with deserving clients can play.
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