In this second novel featuring Indiana lawyer Andrew Broom and his nephew-partner Gerald Rowan (Cause and Effect), the author attempts a very different atmosphere from his cozy, well-established Father Dowling series. Failed academic Leo Barany has already killed his mother, father, and high-school teacher James Slattery--all buried under a concrete slab in the tool shed of the rural Barany house. Now he's planning the demise of witchy Pauline Stanfield, wife of entrepreneur Hal. They're members of the golf club where Barany is bartender, and Pauline's bullying of pretty waitress Noreen Jensen has sealed her fate with him. Meanwhile, the rocky Stanfield marriage and Hal's womanizing are common gossip, but his affair with Noreen and an ongoing liaison with Pauline's friend and confidante Silvia Wood aren't known to Andrew and his partner, the Stanfields' lawyers. When Hal is found murdered in his lavish home, Andrew moves Pauline to a hotel while he and Sheriff Cleary try to verify her alibi. Andrew's last-ditch inspired sleuthing unearths more than he bargained for--but not in time to save his client. The lawyer's most forceful presence is in an almost unrelated case--his defense of Duff Hogan, a self-professed killer--but this is a gripping story despite a wishy-washy hero, made credible by its echoes of real-life front-page sensations, its taut pacing, and restrained, matter-of-fact narrative style.