This time out, Victor Carl, that lesser light of the Philadelphia bar, counts the ways an old flame can be too hot to handle.
She’s a piece of work, that Julia Denniston, née Julia Crenshaw, the name she was answering to on the day she left Victor Carl “bare and broken at the altar.” Left him without explanation, without consolation, without anything he could use to bolster a battered psyche when she dumped him for Dr. Wren Denniston, urologist. Years pass and Julia suddenly makes contact again, resulting in a Victor re-smitten, a romance rekindled. Then, just as suddenly, married Julia becomes widowed Julia, Dr. Denniston having suffered homicide. It’s a most opportune development, the cops maintain, while firing accusing glances at Victor, who has not the smidge of an alibi. The cops like Victor a lot, and soon it’s clear that he’s the fall guy. But who is it that’s trying to frame him? Could it be…could it possibly be that sweet, sexy, maddeningly enigmatic Julia has a secret agenda? In the days that follow, as the cops rev up their rush to judgment, Victor learns the hard way that he who takes up with an old flame risks getting fried.
The lively wit that’s served to redeem Victor throughout this series (Marked Man, 2006, etc.) seems tired and forced here, leaving the reader to make do with a lovelorn shyster short on appeal.