A Suggestion of Death

Marianne Wesson, Author Atria Books $23.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-671-03559-4
Following the breakout success of Render Up the Body, Wesson returns with another searingly intelligent legal thriller starring Boulder attorney Cinda Hayes. These days, business is sparse for Cinda and her feisty law partner, Tory Meadows, until a whispery-voiced young woman calls Cinda on a radio call-in show. That woman turns out to be the estranged younger daughter of state senatorial candidate Harrison McKay. She accuses her father of abusing her sexually as a child, but she can't quite remember any details. Though reluctant to wade through the legal quagmire of ""repressed memory"" theory, Cinda finds herself captivated by the lost, anorexic child-woman, who now goes by the name Mariah and lives among suspected neo-Nazis in rural Colorado. Somehow Cinda has to jog Mariah's memory before the statute of limitations runs out; and somehow she has to overcome her own repugnance for Mariah's friends, especially the self-appointed ""common law judge,"" Pike Sayers, whose iconoclastic mystery she finds both fascinating and suspicious. Enigmatic and unnerving, Sayers is a remarkable character, but no more so than the fiercely intelligent but self-deprecating Cinda, who's haunted by the conviction that she's an impostor. Sometimes the plot moves along predictable, overly neat lines. (For example, it's inconceivable that Cinda wouldn't bother to contact the police after someone breaks into her car, then sends her a mutilated Barbie doll with a swastika.) But when it comes to exploring dark, ambiguous terrain--such as paranoid politics and possible incest--Wesson writes with a rare blend of fearlessness, insight and wit. She's now clearly on the short list of the best practitioners of the genre. Agent, Jed Mattes. Author tour. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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