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by M.R. Hall

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4391-5712-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The case of a murdered porn star–turned–anti-porn activist raises more dragons for Severn Vale District Coroner Jenny Cooper to slay.

It looks to all eyes as if psychiatric nurse Alan Jacobs took a fatal overdose of Phenobarbital on his own. But who incised a cross onto the skin of his chest, and why? Jenny Cooper would love to know, but she’s already staggering under quite another weight. Prison chaplain Father Lucas Starr, convinced that Paul Craven, who confessed to stabbing Eva Donaldson to death, is innocent, makes an impassioned plea for Jenny to reopen the question of his guilt in her Coroner’s Court. The venue would seem an ideal place for a disinterested pursuit of the truth, but that’s exactly what doesn’t happen. Jenny runs afoul of a campaign to have Parliament pass sweeping anti-pornography laws. The campaigners, funded by software pioneer Lord Michael Turnbull’s Decency movement, Eva’s last employer, and pastor Bobby DeMont’s Mission Church of God, aren’t about to see their lobbying undermined. When she goes into court, Jenny faces perhaps the most formidable array of legal talent, acting on behalf of four different parties, ever assembled in a work of fiction. Her dedication to bringing out the truth of Eva and Alan’s deaths is sorely challenged by her opponents’ willingness to use every possible weapon against her—even a long-forgotten accident from her childhood.

Complex, sorely tried Jenny (The Disappeared, 2009, etc.) seems destined to butt heads with every authority figure she can find. She has all the makings of a franchise heroine, if only she can survive her bruising conflicts.