From Edgar winner Ellis, a complex courtroom thriller filled with tension and twists as the protagonist stands trial for murder.
The story opens with the trial but moves back and forth in time. As the reader quickly learns, a man calling himself James Drinker asks attorney Jason Kolarich to represent him for a murder that no one has accused him of, because he “knows” someone is going to frame him. How do people even go about framing a person, Drinker asks conversationally, and Kolarich mentions a variety of ways. But Kolarich soon finds himself on trial for the slashing murder of five women. He’s been framed. Can you guess who framed him? Yep, that’s right. But why? And how can Kolarich defend himself? He can’t talk about Drinker without violating attorney-client privilege, which would destroy Kolarich professionally and not help him legally. It’s a great premise made even better by flaws in Kolarich’s character that Drinker exploits to the hilt with malicious delight. Many of the short chapters focus on the trial itself, where the prosecution presents a powerful case for sending Kolarich to prison for life. The defendant, by all appearances, has been a successful and honest lawyer. But, in this case, he might have to take liberties with his ethics, including telling lies. And then there is his problem with oxycodone, which can turn out to be almost as dangerous as the murder charge. Luckily, his law partner, Shauna Tasker, has his back. But is that also true for his girlfriend, Alexa, the court reporter? Tasker doesn’t think so, suspecting that Alexa may not have her partner’s best interests at heart. Hero and villain are both smart and motivated, making for an even match in this exciting drama.
Ellis ranks among the best writers in the genre, and this book will keep readers entertained from start to finish.