A gravel-mouthed anatomy of a murder (the Edgar Smith case might also come to mind) in which Jonathan Pike, dropout drifter who is uncontrollable after a few drinks, kills or is said to have killed a ""hot little kid,"" Angels Morales, after some rough sex which she is said to have enjoyed. Although he contends that someone else also slammed her around. The conviction is brought in despite the efforts of a wheeling lawyer Guthrie who cares more for personal triumph than justice and five years later Pike is sitting in Death Row, typing out his own story which becomes a B-O-M selection and is sold to Bantam for $250,000. Eight years later the case comes up again on appeal and Guthrie gets his win, concealing the eyewitness evidence which would have cooked his client. This kind of novel has a certain ugly commercial coercion -- the publishers will reinforce it and no doubt that $250,000 has already laughed its way to some bank.