LAPD Detective Angela Rossi says she recovered the hammer that killed Susan Martin from her husband's shrubbery, but Teddy Martin's lawyer, Jonathan Green, says Rossi planted it there, and hires Elvis Cole (Voodoo River
, 1995, etc.) to find holes in her story. For once, though, Elvis is stymied. Though LeCedrick Earle insists Rossi set him up too five years ago, Earle's own mother tells Cole he can't he trusted; and there's no other evidence that Rossi's rotten. So Cole, still working with the Big Green Defense Team, turns to following up callers to Green's hotline, and this time he hits the jackpot much too fast: A witness puts him on to a pair of lowlifes who talked about kidnapping some rich bitch and had photos of Susan Martin in their apartment. Only trouble is, the lowlifes have been dead for three weeks. It's a setup, of course, and Cole, already disoriented by the adoring media attention he's been getting ever since breaking open the case against Martin, now finds himself switching sides to go up—along with his sunglassed sidekick Joe Pike and his newest belle Lucy Chenier—against Martin, Green, and Co. But Green isn't a lawyer for nothing; he knows every trick about distancing himself and his client from the crime by avoiding incriminating papers and shredding incriminating witnesses. How is Cole ever going to bag such a slick pair? That's the question, sports fans, and if Cole's answer isn't quite as satisfying as he'd like, he has as grand a time as Travis McGee fighting the forces of evil. Crais's sixth is one of his smoothest.
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