TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD by Paul Levine

TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Miami lawyer defending a surgeon accused of malpractice wins the case--only to find he's got to defend his client on a murder charge: crackling in-and-out-of-courtroom suspense from a welcome newcomer. Dr. Roger Salisbury is accused of accidentally nicking real-estate magnate Philip Corrigan's aorta while he's under the knife. But the dead man's daughter, sportswriter Susan Corrigan, insists to Roger's lawyer, ex-footballer Jake Lassiter, that Roger and the alluring widow Melanie murdered him by injecting a lethal dose of succinylcholine, which Susan just happens to have filched from Melanie's underwear drawer. Medical-man Roger doesn't deny his longstanding involvement with Melanie from her days as an exotic dancer or his possession of the drug--an involvement amply documented by a videotape shot by the voyeuristic victim and featuring Roger Melanie, and steroid freak Sergio Machado-Alvarez (who ""needed a shave and always would"")--but Roger also says that Melanie had been pressing him to kill Philip and he'd refused. After irascible retired coroner Dr. Charlie Riggs helps Jake get Roger off, Jake and Riggs, at Susan's insistence, break into Philip's grave and make off with his corpse (and, just for good measure, that of his first wife), turning up evidence supporting Susan's accusations and landing Roger in a much deeper hole. Levine plays with his tiny cast of mutally accusing suspects--as Jake finds himself falling for Susan and hears that Roger's gone back to Melanie's bed--with a juggler's dexterity, and the ending will catch most readers looking breathlessly the wrong way. Levine's already sold his second Jake Lassiter novel and is working on his third. They can't come fast enough.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1990
ISBN: 0011052023
Publisher: Bantam