From the moment Chris Sinclair, district attorney of San Antonio, Texas, sees the head modeled by a forensic sculptor, his
life is in free-fall. The head is that of a young girl of about 14 whom Chris is certain he knows—though he’s wrong. The girl
so vivid in his memory was 19 some16 years ago. Her name was Jean Plymouth, and Chris had been wildly in love with her.
Now it turns out that Kristen Lorenz was Jean’s daughter—past tense because Kristen was murdered, her neck broken and her
body found half-buried at the side of a little-used country road. Chris is thoroughly shaken. At first he wonders whether the child
was his. Impossible, certainly—but then he discovers the existence of Clarissa, Jean’s older daughter, who very well could be
his. Reconnecting with Jean opens a whole series of disturbing questions. Prominent among them is why she never reported
Kristen missing. It was, she explains, because of the villainous Raleigh Pentrell, who at the time held Clarissa captive, threatening
harm to her if Jean went to the police. Pentrell, a drug dealer, a child exploiter, a low-life if ever there was one, gives Jean’s
explanation at least surface plausibility. But is it the truth? Well, it is and it isn’t, we learn—though in more detail than really
required—during the course of one of Brandon’s patented (read: exhaustive) courtroom battles.
As always (Angel of Death, 1998, etc.), Brandon starts with interesting people, but, again as always’since his
Edgar-nominated Fade the Heat (1990)—his affinity for soapy plotting diminishes them.