A legal thriller with more twists and turns than the lower intestine and as much coincidence and serendipity as a vintage episode of Law & Order.
Dugoni continues his David Sloane series with this novel. Sloane is the attorney who can’t lose: He wins in prime time, for the big money; he wins for small potatoes. The book opens in the courtroom, when Sloane secures the conditional release of his troubled adolescent son Jake. Sloane takes Jake away from L.A., the scene of his latest drunk and disorderly; grieving for his murdered mother, Jake needs help. Sloane accepts an offer from his old friend Tom Molia, veteran detective from West Virginia. Jake and David fly back to California to join Tom and his son T.J. for a camping excursion in fictitious Winchester County. Truluck, the imagined landmark town in the Gold Rush country of the Sierra foothills, is the setting for their disaster. Jake is sullen, suffers humiliation, and ropes the younger and overeager T.J. into his revenge fantasy. The boys get caught, and Judge Earl Boykin, local tyrant of historic proportions, sentences them to Fresh Start, a juvenile offender boot camp. The villains in charge of the camp favor reflective sunglasses and have an appetite for destruction. Peopled with the usual contingent of sadists and victims, the plot’s fuse starts burning. Lawyer Sloane, Detective Molia and a posse of trusty associates skilled in the latest morally dubious investigative methods uncover a startling conspiracy. Unlike revenge, justice seems to be a dish best served warm, and pursuit is hot. The villains have rationalizations; their opponents have psyches and motives.
A book that meets, sometimes exceeds, the expectations of the legal thriller.