FORT'S LAW by Joe L. Hensley
Kirkus Star


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Hensley, author of the sturdy Midwestern-lawyer mysteries featuring Don Robak (Robak's Fire, etc.), introduces an appealing new narrator-hero: Jack Fort, a Vietnam vet (slightly lame) who has recently abandoned a high-profile Chicago law career to build a more personal practice in small-town Scannelsville, Indiana. In this opening episode, Fort is hired to defend aging golden-boy Jesse DeAlter, accused of murdering his old Aunt Ruth, heiress of a local mining, fortune. Unsympathetic to smug, druggy Jesse, but smitten with Jesse's loyal ex-wife, Fort goes all-out--especially since the slimy local prosecutor, who's pinning political ambitions to a flashy murder trial, has already become Fort's nemesis. He digs into DeAlter family history (including the fate of Jesse's soldier-brother in Vietnam); he follows up rumors of buried treasure and quizzes a couple of slightly shady family-retainers--who each inherited a bundle. And, with help from a variety of endearing locals (aged law-partner Abe Sapenstein, canny Judge Westley, noble bailiff Chicken Abelard), Fort corners the audacious, unrepentant killer. Fast, tidy, likably unpretentious--with down-to-earth lawyering details and crisp small-town realities that keep the plain-spoken narrative from falling into standard sleuthing patterns.

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1987
Publisher: Doubleday