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FEET OF CLAY by Ruth Birmingham


by Ruth Birmingham

Pub Date: May 8th, 2006
ISBN: 0-312-28424-1
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur

An Atlanta private eye and her flaky cousin work against the clock and a network of good ol’ boys to overturn a wrongful conviction.

The creepy prologue finds a frantic young woman named Terri trying unsuccessfully to escape a big, brutal man who’s already killed her friend Brittany. Cut to Atlanta-based lawyer Sunny Childs trying to talk down her excited cousin Lee “Lee-Lee” Edwards, who wants to film a documentary exposé about convicted killer Germind Dale Weedlow, a man he’s convinced is innocent. Sunny sidesteps the issue but warns that Fluorney County may be a “jerkwater county full of redneck inbreds.” Prophetic words, as Sunny and her lawyer brother Walter soon need to rescue Lee-Lee from a frame-up involving planted drugs. After Walter pulls off this feat by means of a high-stakes courtroom bluff, Sunny is suspicious enough to accompany Lee-Lee to visit Weedlow in prison, and is struck by the prisoner’s diminutive size. Her doubts deepen when she and Lee-Lee can’t get an official copy of Brittany’s autopsy report, even from courtly Dalton Cullihue, the previously straightforward DA who prosecuted Lee-Lee. When Dr. Troy Thallberg, who performed the autopsy, commits suicide shortly after talking to Sunny, she realizes they’re all in over their heads.

The plot is so familiar it creaks, but Sunny’s sixth (Cold Trail, 2002, etc.) is written with great style and energy. What a savvy charmer she is.