Over the Line

Faye Sultan, Author, Teresa Kennedy, With, Teresa Kennedy, Contribution by Doubleday Books $21.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-48525-8
The mystery of character is at the heart of this taut psychological thriller in which a forensic psychiatrist searches for the causes that formed the twisted psyche of a vicious murderer. Like her Shakespearean namesake, Portia McTeague stands for mercy--the mercy of mitigating circumstances for the mentally disturbed. But mercy of any kind will be hard to plead in the case of Jimmy Weir, charged with the horrible murder of two elderly women. Only his sanity, not his guilt, is in question--and since the prosecution in this case is arguing for the death penalty, the stakes are life and death. The mystery here is the riddle of character and motivation, which Portia attempts to unravel by digging into Jimmy Wier's past for the secrets that have turned him into a killer. What makes the book doubly gripping is that Portia has buried secrets of her own, which this case will force her to reveal to her own therapist. In the meantime they come between her and the two men in her life, paraplegic defense lawyer Declan Dylan and handsome investigator Alan Simpson. In a less intelligent novel, romance would be the cure-all for Portia's problems. Not here. The collaboration between forensic psychologist Sultan and Kennedy (Baby Todd and the Rattlesnake Stradivarius) is seamless, their conjoined style clinically precise. While there's no real doubt about whose side we're supposed to be on, there are no easy answers in this novel, just complex characters, a gripping story and the promise of more cases (and complications) to come. This book is announced as the first of a series. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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