When his illicit romance turns fatal, an investment banker struggles with the impossible task of protecting both his inamorata and himself.
One minute Marty Kalish was standing outside Rachel Reinardt’s den, enjoying the striptease she always performed for him Thursday nights; the next minute he’d broken into the den, drawn irresistibly in by the sudden apparition of Dr. Reinardt raping his wife; and the minute after that, he was standing over Reinardt’s dead body, promising Rachel that he’d do whatever it took to shield her from the ugliness of the crime just before he lit out with the corpse virtually under the eyes of the first officers on the scene. After burying the body and disposing of the evidence against him, Marty returns to his daily routine, but now he’s in a fog: All he can think of is how long it’ll be before the police come after him. Sure enough, he’s questioned, arrested, indicted, and put on trial for the murder of Derrick Reinardt—a trial whose outcome is severely biased by the fact that Marty actually confessed to one of the cops interrogating him, though he had the presence of mind not to repeat the confession for a stenographer or a tape recorder. As his high-priced legal team considers one defense after another, however, resourceful Marty obligingly keeps changing his story to suit each one, plotting all the while how he’s going to deal with the elusive eyewitness who says he saw Marty pull the trigger. It all comes down to an extended courtroom sequence in which lawyers battle for pages upon grueling pages over the most minute points, with Marty’s and Rachel’s lives both hanging in the balance.
Though Ellis doesn’t sustain the breakneck pace of his obvious model, C.W. Grafton’s classic Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, his stylish debut comes up with a couple of neat moves that Sue Grafton’s father never so much as thought of.