A retired lawyer hopes to prove a death row inmate innocent before his time runs out.
Logan Murphy was barely 18 when he was convicted of killing an unidentified young woman in Snook Wallow, the nightspot where he and two friends went almost every weekend to drink beer and try to pick up girls. With his execution date fast approaching, Logan applies to the Defender Project for help. His case doesn’t meet the nonprofit’s strict guidelines for seeking a retrial, so Ben Shepherd, although convinced that Logan is innocent, can’t help him. But Ben’s aunt, retired attorney Cate Stokes, can. Looking for any excuse not to unpack the boxes in her new South Florida home, the New Hampshire transplant quickly becomes a true believer and just as quickly becomes embroiled in an intrigue as dangerous as it is elusive. As Ben tackles a tamer case that does meet the project’s guidelines—the conviction of Ricky Castro, who was pretty clearly railroaded by an unscrupulous cop with the help of a jailhouse snitch—Cate pushes the limits trying to discover who the victim in the Logan Murphy case was and who might have wanted her dead. With the help of investigator Lalo Sanchez, who has his own issues with limits, Cate peels back layer after layer until she uncovers a violent crime with a shocking motive.
Heijens, whose earlier foray into the topic (Wrongful Conviction, 2015) featured criminal defender Jean Jankowski, presents another heroine who’s equally smart, resourceful, and empathetic—and more than worthy of an encore appearance.