A West Palm Beach attorney who quit practicing to follow his star as a sculptor finds that assorted lawbreakers and officers of the court are following him as well.
In a normal week, Sydney Simone would spend her time posing nude for Oscar Leopold, managing the Rose Madder Gallery, and executing some unworthy victim or two to provide cash for HumanPestControl.com, the freelance assassination bureau Oscar has no idea she runs. But the week that Big Jack Gamble loses his boat and his life to an explosion is anything but normal. Roy Flagler, Oscar’s friend from law school, implores Oscar to take his case when his affair with Big Jack’s wife, Lucy, gets him arrested. Oscar’s success in linking Big Jack to two other Florida attorneys whose practice also specializes in defending insurance companies brings him to the unwelcome attention of Robert Jerome Walters, one of the two (the other one, Carl Seacomb, is scheduled for an early exit). Oscar’s professional rivalry with his ex-lover, assistant state’s attorney Sheila Katz, assumes a new edge when his defense of Sydney from a gang of street thugs leads to his own arrest. And Sydney develops problems outside her own practice: Walters’ son Rico announces that he’s not satisfied that the man he hired Sydney to kill died before she could put him on the spot, so now she’ll have to kill somebody else of Rico’s choice. Complications ensue.
This high-spirited debut novel from attorney/sculptor Sharp never does tie up all its loose ends. Blame Oscar, who’s both woollier and less interesting than Sydney, a heroine who deserves a starring role next time out.