DARK JUSTICE by William Bernhardt


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Windmill-tilting Tulsa lawyer Ben Kincaid (Naked Justice, 1997, etc.), promoting his first book among the vanishing virgin forests of the Northwest, takes on a defense case as hopeless as anything back home. The prosecution—represented by smart, sexy, ambitious, unscrupulous Magic Valley D.A. Rebecca Granville (“Granny”) Adams—contends that tree-hugging George Zakin hid out in the woods till he could draw a bead on logger Dwayne Gardiner, shot him through the chest, then watched as Gardiner was burned to death by a booby trap Zak had wired to the ignition of Gardiner’s tree cutter. Green Rage, the environmental group Zak heads, has such a long history of quasi-terrorist activity against Gardiner’s employer, WLE (We Log Everywhere) that everybody in town, most of them dependent on logging for their livelihood, is united against Green Rage, from the judge who refuses Ben’s pleas for a change of venue to the witnesses Granny keeps producing out of her bottomless hat. It doesn’t help matters that Ben’s introduction to Magic Valley has been his own arrest for attempted catnapping (don’t ask), or that six years ago he successfully defended Zak back in Tulsa on another charge of enrivo-murder, freeing him, as everybody claims, to commit this one. But the most damning facts are the ones that come out in court—facts that reveal Ben’s own witnesses as liars and brand his client as a wimp who takes the Fifth even when his own lawyer calls him to the stand. The stage is set for giant-killer Ben to rout his obscenely well-financed opponents; but Bernhardt stacks the deck so guilelessly and telegraphs each punch so clearly that the environmentalists and their noble struggle inspire no more conviction than election-day slogans. Newcomers to the series, now in its eighth installment, will be impressed at how completely Ben can turn a lost case around. Series veterans will know better than to look for anything new.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-345-40738-5
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1998


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