VERSIONS OF THE TRUTH by Richard Parrish


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 When three residents of the Papago reservation die of cholera, Tucson lawyer Joshua Rabb, (The Dividing Line, 1993) of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, prepares to open secret bidding on a contract for a new culvert to bring them pure water. Awarding the contract to openhanded land baron George Callan, though, is only the beginning of his troubles. Callan has hardly started the job when archrival Henry Jessup accuses him of subcontracting the work out to a Mexican supplier who's using an inferior grade of concrete sure to collapse within a few years. The chemical engineer sent over the border to Nogales to take samples is killed, and the battle is on, with Callan's forces bolstered by a friendly judge, the Sonora governor (who's obviously expecting a cut), and the reluctant Rabb, who's fallen hard for Callan's niece Diana Thurber. As the case lurches toward trial, Rabb, who's already made himself persona non grata in Nogales, manages to antagonize just about everybody else: Jessup, who's convinced he's in Callan's pocket; Callan, who feels betrayed by the sudden legal attention; and Diana, who feels just plain betrayed. And the other case Rabb has in hand is no picnic either: to provide a defense for accused rapist/killer Franklin Carillo, who blandly confessed to the crimes as soon as they were alone. The outcome of both cases--after two more murders lead Rabb to suspect first Callan, then Jessup, of plotting against him--will leave Rabb sadder but wiser about loyalty and the law. Earnest Rabb still sleeps with too many women and topples too many bad guys with his prosthetic arm. But this second slice of 1946 Americana is solid, stolid entertainment.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1994
ISBN: 0-525-93652-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1993


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