Kate Delafield (Sleeping Bones, 1999, etc.) goes up against a high-priced lawyer determined to get his client acquitted by attacking her police work.
LAPD detectives never have a nice day. Testifying in court against Douglas Talbot, accused of killing the ex-wife who divorced him when she finally got sick of his abusive behavior, Kate can’t help flashing back to the traumatic morning when she was called to Victoria Talbot’s house. While she’s reciting her testimony and bracing for the punishing cross-examination she expects from Gregory Quantrill, Talbot’s hired gun, she recalls how quickly the evidence against Talbot has mounted: his three children hate him, and his only alibi comes courtesy of the illegal Guatemalan housekeeper he’d taken as his lover. When Kate returns home the evening after refusing to help her homophobic brother track down his runaway lesbian daughter, she finds that her own lover, attorney Aimee Grant, has responded by moving out. And as the trial grinds toward a verdict the author dexterously keeps in doubt, Kate’s nagged by details that don’t add up, no matter whose side you’re on: Why was Vicki’s house so spotless? Why had someone thrown out the fresh-cut flowers from her table? Why had she been shot two times at least five minutes apart?
A skillfully extended short story saddled with the additional problem that very few criminal trials whose defendants aren’t OJ are all about the cops, even when they’re as engaging as Kate.