Six years after she lashed out at the rapist who attacked her and her daughter, vaulting her author to the first of six bestselling suspensers (Mitigating Circumstances, 1992), Santa Barbara A.D.A. Lily Forrester is back. So is the rapist.
Ordinarily, there's nothing Lily likes better than mixing it up with bad guys like Henry Middleton, the failing furniture-store mogul she's itching to indict for poisoning his developmentally challenged, well-insured daughter, 8, into a deep coma. But one bad guy she's never wanted to see again is Marco Curazon, the man who assaulted her and her daughter Shana, then 13, who helped identify him from mug shots after Lily had already shot and killed Bobby Hernandez thinking he was the perp. Now, after Lily's been living for six years with the corrosive knowledge of her fatal mistake, two new developments drag the whole stinking mess into the open again. First, her alcoholic ex John, desperate for a bone to throw the Ventura cops when he's picked up for a hit-and-run death, offers to turn her in for a get-out-of-jail-free card. Then she finds out that Marco Curazon's been paroled. It isn't bad enough that Shana, now a sophomore at UCLA sharing a place with her faithless father, still can't smell roses or sit in a dentist's chair without seeing Curazon's face hovering over hers; all too soon, it seems, she's likely to see his whole body. No wonder Lily tells Middleton attorney Richard Fowler, her once and future lover: "I'm beginning to think I have only two roles in life—victim or suspect"—a remark that could stand as an emblem for the whole lawyer-in-jeopardy genre.
Rosenberg pushes all the usual buttons, but despite some sharp anti-domestic scenes and some anguished soul-searching, there's nowhere for this old case to go the second time around, and that's where it ends up going.