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 In this Grishamesque legal procedural set in sunny, nouveau riche Naples, Florida, paranoid but good-looking former Miami Beach prosecutor John Geddy, who made a name for himself prosecuting serial killers, can't seem to leave criminal law behind. Credit former lawyer Foley with finding an arcane (if compelling) bit of legalese as an excuse to set the plot in motion. It seems that estate law requires that the duration of some trust funds be pegged to the lifespan of existing human beings. A trust fund must self-destruct 21 years after the last of the so-called ``measuring lives'' die. It's no wonder that Foley's lights-on- nobody's-home lawyer hero, now awkwardly in private practice with a white-shoe law firm, ties Naples' notorious ``new moon slasher'' murders, which occurred nearly 21 years ago, to the coming dissolution of the $30 million Gentry family trust fund. Geddy is hired by flaky, fabulously face-lifted Cynthia Dole, one of the trust's beneficiaries, to make sure she gets what's coming to her. Lurking in the background is another beneficiary, decadent, spendthrift Curtis Dole, who just might have had a motive to murder those ``measuring lives'' two decades ago. Geddy, and his hardworking associate lawyer, Faith Williams, hire Nick Farley, a sleazy freelance journalist and specialist in serial killers, to get the goods on Curtis. During the inevitable courtroom confrontation, which is as predictable here as the tortured twists in plot, Gentry is able to brand Curtis a liar and murderer, thus succeeding in disqualifying him as a beneficiary. Flush with victory, Gentry discovers that there were more corpses and, possibly, more serial killers involved than he thought. Newcomer Foley's bilious loathing of the tasteless rich and his climactic series of hokey, gratuitous James Bondish chases in (of all places) the Swiss Alps doesn't save a tricked-up lawyer fantasy that, while no worse than generic Grisham, is no better.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-56980-091-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Barricade
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1996