Even after she's fled criminal law for a safe berth in the Texas Attorney General's Office--after impugning her own witness when she doubted an identification--Kelsey Thatch is condemned to the courtroom once again when her boss sends her to cozy Galilee to try Billy Fletcher, general manager of Smoothskins, the town's only reason for existing, for killing his sister-in-law and her husband and kidnapping the only witness to the crime, their five- month-old daughter. Despite the usual obstacles--small-town hostility, insufficient investigative help, no leads on the missing baby, no warmth from Smoothskins matriarch Alice Beaumont, no support from local D.A. Morgan Fletcher, Billy's brother, or the presiding judge, Morgan's old flame, and a circumstantial case that seems to grow weaker with every one of Kelsey's own witnesses--she manages the usual amazing successes: putting Billy's alibi witnesses on the defensive, outdueling Billy's lawyer in closing arguments, getting her own investigator to fall for her, and winning just the verdict she wants. Or does she? Though the ripely murderous Beaumont-Fletcher family ought to be as entertaining as the Borgias, Brandon's did-he-or-didn't- he scenario is too schematic to give them much breathing room. Even the courtroom cut-and-thrust--a trademark of Brandon's Lone Star thrillers (Local Rules, 1995, etc.)--is tired this time.