LOOSE AMONG THE LAMBS by Jay Brandon

LOOSE AMONG THE LAMBS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 It only begins when the fat lady sings, as San Antonio D.A. Mark Blackwell (Fade the Heat, 1990) learns in this crackling tale of a child-abuse confession too good to be true. Forgetting the maxim never to trust a freebie, Blackwell allows his old boss Eliot Quinn to talk him into accepting Chris Davis's surrender on charges of having kidnapped and molested two young boys. Standing before the judge, though, Davis recants his confession, and when Blackwell tries to cobble together a case from the boys' testimony, one of them positively identifies the perp as Austin Paley, Blackwell's old friend and Davis's lawyer. At the same time, a third boy, seeing Paley on TV news, spontaneously announces that this was the man who abused him in an incident he's kept secret for two years. More witnesses don't make a stronger case against an opponent like Paley, however, as Blackwell realizes when he ties Paley to an old coverup of urban development gone murderous--and sees just how capable Paley is of calling in favors to the powers that be in his desperate attempt to stay out of jail: one of the witnesses suddenly refuses to testify--an obvious beneficiary of a big payoff--and another begins to get cold feet. As if the political chicanery doesn't make the terrain slippery enough, Blackwell also has to cope with ethical reservations when Quinn gives him the details of Paley's own abused childhood (a secret Quinn has been covering up on his own) and sees how closely Paley's childhood--and the neglect of his star witness, Tommy Algren- -mirror his own distant relationship to his son David. Brandon proves unexpectedly canny about the devastating appeal of molesters to their young victims, and shows again that nobody, not even Scott Turow, can outdo him in blow-by-blow courtroom suspense- -even though once the verdict is in, you may wonder what all the fuss was about. (Literary Guild Selection for Winter)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-76032-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993




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