A high-dollar Dallas attorney appointed to the pro bono defense of a murder suspect must choose between his perfect life and his long-betrayed ideals.
In this astringent legal thriller, former college football star A. Scott Fenney has muscled his way out of the working class and into a gleaming office tower in Dallas, where he bills $350 an hour to help make his rich clients richer. His perfect life—multimillion-dollar house in exclusive Highland Park, beautiful wife, club memberships, Italian sports car—disintegrates when his defense of heroin-addicted streetwalker Shawanda Jones gets him crossways with his firm’s senior partner and a mendacious U.S. senator—and presumed next president—who’s also the father of Jones’s alleged victim. Soon Fenney is out of a job, the notes on the house and cars are called in and his wife has left him for a local golf pro. Fenney’s fall is reminiscent of Sherman McCoy’s in The Bonfire of the Vanities, but the obvious template is To Kill a Mockingbird: Fenney has a precious daughter named Boo; the self-loathing Fenney tells people that his middle initial, “A,” stands for nothing, but the reader can guess. Gimenez, himself a former partner at a major Dallas firm, has a palpable disgust for lawyers who play dirty, pad their billable hours and live in casually racist enclaves. When Fenney moves Jones’s daughter out of the projects and into his home, it’s a stretch. But both girls are wise beyond their years and come to realize, as young Pajame Jones observes, that both her mother and Boo’s father do unseemly things for hundreds of dollars an hour. Fenney, meanwhile, scrapes and claws for redemption and broods over whether he’s doing it for himself or for his client. At stake is Jones’s life and Fenney’s soul.
Gimenez’s debut has plenty of twists and flashes of humor. A promising, distinctive new voice.