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What do you get when you indict a lawyer who’s also a doctor for murder? A medical/legal thriller that’s short on medicine, law, and thrills. Not that Dr. Michael Malone’s credentials for this kind of case aren’t impeccable. Despite his success in winning big malpractice claims for his firm, he’s living in a fourth-floor walk-up while going through divorce proceedings with his wife—Deputy District Attorney Sally Hager—and absorbing the fallout from his truculent son Jess, 15, when the boy learns that his real mother was a hired surrogate. When Mike finds Sally’s corpse stuffed into the freezer they bought shortly before the smashup, he thinks the police have no idea who might have killed her—but they do, and it’s him. The evidence seems incontrovertible: DNA matching identifies Mike’s blood on the murder scene, and Sally’s blood in his place. But Mike knows he didn’t kill Sally, so somebody must have set him up’somebody who didn’t like the monster settlement he was about to win for the family of a dead Riker’s Island inmate; somebody who was bent on avenging the Deputy D.A.; somebody who could have tainted the crucial blood evidence that’s going to send Mike to Death Row unless he and his lawyer Arnie Glimcher, the picture of jack-o’-lantern confidence, come up with something pretty special. The situation is a natural, but newcomer Levy fumbles both the courtroom drama (the cut and thrust of questioning is so inconclusive that it’s downright boring) and the medical knowledge (you’d need a Ouija board to pick out the killer, or the ingenious but undetectable modus operandi). Still, ambivalent fans of the genre may appreciate the chance to root for an imperiled physician while hoping one of those fat-cat liability lawyers, who just happens to live in the same skin, gets all the grief he deserves. (First printing of 100,000)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-375-50128-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998