A high school teacher’s world goes haywire when a law student probes a 30-year-old case.
At the time of their murders, there seemed little doubt that golf pro Leland Booker killed his wife, Marley, along with their daughters, Lissa and Robin. The couple had left Georgia under a cloud. Rumor had it that because of that cloud, the Shore Country Club’s owner, Leo Bishop, could afford to pay Booker far less than the going rate. Marley liked to spend Leland’s money, even if he wasn’t making much, and their fights left Marley’s ivory skin dotted with visible bruises. So why did Adam Bennett choose Booker’s case for his third-year project in Criminal Defender Clinic? Jean Jankowski can’t figure Adam out, and Adam can’t leave Jean alone. She remembers the Bookers better than almost anyone. As one of the few folks in Norwood who didn’t turn her back on the mixed-race Booker kids, she’d babysat Lissa and Robin the summer they died. She’s convinced that if she hadn’t forgotten to buy apple juice the day before, the girls would never have drunk the insecticide-laced orange juice along with their mother that morning. But it isn’t just guilt that persuades Jean to throw in with Adam. Teaching chemistry at Northwood High isn’t rocking her world anymore. And the more she reads Adam’s files, the more she’s convinced that the police, particularly Detective Marianne Weede, targeted Leland because he was black. Jean and Adam don’t need to find Marley’s killer; as Adam points out repeatedly, reopening the case requires them only to find some sort of misconduct on the part of the police, the prosecution, or even Booker’s own lawyer. Still, as she and Adam move forward, Jean can’t help but worry about what will happen if their investigation helps Leland only by pointing a finger at someone else.
Heijens premieres a rare heroine who’s both gritty and reflective. Here’s hoping for a series.