A nightmare unfolds in Leebron's (Out West, 1996) ill-founded second novel, as a crack North Carolina fund-raiser feels
the heat when his wife is hit in the head with a hammer and everyone believes he did it.
Warner is under a lot of pressure: new to his latest fund-raising gig in Charlotte, he's moved wife Megan and their two
kids yet again in order to work nonprofit magic, yet he's barely begun when something fishy in the books casts a shadow over
his efforts. His job goes on the line, the house he and Megan were about to close on is put on hold, and the normal wear and
tear of family duties between two working parents suddenly seems a lot more wearing on him. And Warner has something of
a temper. When Megan is attacked from behind at the art gallery she manages and is taken comatose to the hospital, her bitterly
divorced, high-powered HMO-exec mother wastes no time in accusing Warner of the deed, and everyone follows her lead; the
fact that he's Jewish somehow seems to matter now too. Bye-bye job, bye-bye house; hello jail and bail. Warner’s claims of
innocence notwithstanding, even his parents jump on the bandwagon, remembering he long ago once hit his mother (who spent
his entire childhood hitting him). Only Megan, when she finally comes out of her coma, has any doubt about Warner’s guilt,
and in spite of her mother's strident protests agrees to resume living with him once she’s released from the hospital. Not that
she trusts him completely, but she's willing to give him another chance—and that's enough.
Unfortunately, nothing here prepares the reader to imagine Warner with a hammer aimed at his wife's head, and without
that possibility, the narrative, otherwise carefully attuned to the snarls and realities of family life, cannot succeed.