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Now that he’s survived the dark forces that were arrayed against him in Corrupt Practices (2013), tongue-tied Los Angeles attorney Parker Stern is ready to defend the world’s most elusive client in a libel suit.

Like Rupert Murdoch, William H. Bishop, dubbed “the Conqueror” because he’ll do anything to get his own way, owns a chain of newspapers, television stations and media outlets that circle the globe. But he won’t be happy till he crushes Poniard, the pseudonymous video game designer whose latest production, “Abduction!,” recasts the 1987 disappearance of bipolar actress Felicity McGrath as a kidnapping at the hands of the Conqueror’s goons. Even though Parker is now working for Judicial Alternative Dispute Solutions, whose members try to resolve legal disputes through mediation, Poniard is determined to drag him back into the courtroom. And Poniard’s equally determined not to appear there himself. He doesn’t need to answer Bishop’s libel charge in person, Poniard airily assures Parker via email. In fact, Parker doesn’t even need to know his client’s real name or whereabouts. Understandably reluctant to represent such a will-o’-the-wisp, Parker changes his mind when Poniard threatens to make Parker’s past as a child movie star public knowledge and when he sees a chance to go up against his former girlfriend, ex–porn actress Lovely Diamond, in court. Although the suit is a civil action, Poniard’s defense—that “Abduction!” isn’t libelous because Bishop really did have Felicity McGrath killed—opens up a criminal dimension that produces more fresh corpses in the present the harder Parker looks into the past.

Endless novelties, endless twists, endless complications, endless surprises in and out of the courtroom. Whatever you read legal drama for, it’s here, along with a whole lot of other stuff you never thought to ask for.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61614-881-2
Page count: 347pp
Publisher: Seventh Street/Prometheus
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2014


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