It’s always something for a working mother in Brooklyn. Your ex-husband’s girlfriend morphs into his pregnant fiancée, your boiler quits during a cold snap, your son gets picked up for shoplifting. Nor can Emma Price (The One That Got Away, 2001) kick back when she’s at her job as an investigator for New York City’s Capital Defender’s Office. Her current assignment is as disturbing as it is impossible: to dig up whatever circumstances might help Roland Everett beat the death penalty after he walked into the office of the Ben Dov cousins—former employers who refused to cover his compensation claim for on-the-job injuries—shot all three of them, then sliced off their sideburns. Even as Emma’s finding a complete lack of evidence on her behalf of her whining, racist, self-justifying client, her lover, Brooklyn Homicide Detective Laurence Solomon, has caught a case with the worst features of both work and domestic fronts: the execution of abortion-rights activist Dr. Eleanor Hammond. Emma has a lifelong history with the Hammonds, much of it unpleasant, from the time when Eleanor’s daughter Leslie, age five, pushed her down the stairs, to the time when Eleanor’s son Joshua talked her into dealing drugs from their college dorms. Even though a prominent anti-abortion group takes responsibility for the wave of violence that follows Eleanor’s death, Emma feels sure that the case has struck closer to home, and of course she’s right.
Though the nominal perps turn out to be nobodies, that’s just the point of Rand’s sophomore exploration of evil at its most slippery and self-justifying.