A juror with heavy emotional baggage becomes the target of a ruthless killer.
Early one morning in Providence, R.I., a career criminal named Garrett Nickel is shot dead near the bay by a character known only as the double-crosser. Nickel had recently escaped from prison with Peter Shadd, upon whom suspicion falls. Shadd’s defended by rumpled but wry old fighter Martin Smothers, who delights in annoying slick, politically ambitious Assistant Attorney General Ethan Dillingham. Because there’s no physical evidence, Martin rejects a plea bargain and takes his chances at trial. Meanwhile, newspaper reporter Billy Povich is sleepwalking through his life a year after his estranged wife Angie died in a car crash with a police officer’s vehicle. Consigned to writing obituaries for The Daily Pen, Billy nurses a serious gambling habit and lives only for the sake of his young son Bo and his fantasies of revenge on Charlie Maddox, the retired cop he blames for the accident. Billy’s convinced that Maddox, who’s lived on disability ever since the crash, was protected by colleagues who never checked his blood-alcohol level. Impaneled in Shadd’s trial, Billy is one of two jurors who think Shadd might be innocent. When the other juror is murdered, Billy becomes an obvious target.
Despite the scattershot plot, Arsenault’s terrific writing (Speak Ill of the Living, 2005, etc.) makes this a page-turner.