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..
Everybody in suburban Stuart, Florida, knows that 12 years ago Kenny Ray Clark killed Amber Dodson, who worked for the same developer he did. True, Kenny’s always denied it, but his checkered past, a jailhouse snitch he allegedly unburdened himself to, and an eyewitness who placed him at the scene say different. Now that he’s coming up to his very last appeal only a few weeks before his own date with death, his grandmother, Gail’s ex-housekeeper Ruby Smith, wants Gail to press his court-appointed attorney to do whatever she can on the appeal. Gail presses, all right, and as a reward ends up preparing the appeal herself—dragging in her even more skeptical on-again fiancé, criminal attorney Anthony Quintana. As she works feverishly against the clock to locate a possible alibi witness, impeach the snitch, and dig up other possible suspects—from Amber’s ineffectual husband Gary to her boss, high-powered developer J. Whitney McGrath, and his redneck gofer Rusty Beck—Gail’s attention is drawn increasingly to a second fatality a year before Amber’s: the one-car accident that claimed the life of Gail’s own aunt, Louise Bryce, a realtor whose widower, Garlan, the cop in charge of the Dodson case, is still certain Kenny’s conviction was righteous. It’s a shame that all this rooting around in the past leaves precious little room for present-day surprise, suspense, action, or felony. About all that keeps Gail going is Kenny’s march toward the death chamber, and stolen moments in which she and Anthony talk about their future together and the possibility of an offstage quickie in the present.
Parker (Suspicion of Malice, 2000, etc.) pulls off the impossible: the story of an 11th-hour Death Row appeal that actually plods.