Who would cut the throats of a defenseless woman and her four-year-old daughter? Not Wes Harding, insists his stepfather Jake, who gets his old fishing buddy Sam Morrison to take on his defense. Sam leans in turn on his friend Kali O'Brien (Shadow of Doubt, 1996) to be his co-counsel, and it's off to the races, with everybody on board but Wes, who's too truculent to talk to Kali or squelch the ambitious prosecutor's dreams of a quickie conviction based on the overwhelming physical evidence (Wes's bloodstained trousers, a telltale blond hair that could be from Lisa Cornell, Wes's lucky rabbit's foot in little Amy's pocket- -and it'll get worse). But Kali, digging into Lisa's past, finds a lot of secrets that could point elsewhere: her sub rosa consultations with a psychiatrist specializing in child abuse, her missing dream diary, hints of an affair that her sturdy fiancÇ wouldn't have approved of, a mysterious phone call the evening of the murder. If only Wes Harding would open up far enough to assist in his own defense, frets Kali--not knowing that her real quarry has already killed again, and isn't done yet. Three scoops of civilized interrogations (nobody wants to talk to the lawyer defending the man who'd do such a thing) don't offer much preparation for the sink of iniquity Kali finds under the smiling surface of California family values.