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SHADES OF JUSTICE

Fredrick Huebner, Author
Fredrick Huebner, Author . Simon & Schuster $24 (368p) ISBN 978-0-684-81847-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 377 pages - 978-0-451-20768-5
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-1-4516-6717-2
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Huebner's latest novel rests on a solid foundation of legal expertise—not surprising from the author of the Edgar-nominated Judgment by Fire. But few of the vast cast of characters in this complicated legal/psychiatric thriller come to life, and the plot twists seem recycled from other books in the genre. We first meet Dr. Will Hatton, a psychiatrist labeled by Newsweek as "a leading skeptic of post-traumatic stress disorder and repressed memory claims," as he is testifying (very successfully) for the prosecution in a Dallas murder case. Pausing only to blackmail the district attorney into not asking for the death penalty, Dr. Hatton whizzes back to his native Seattle, where a former childhood friend, Laura Arcand, a famous painter, has apparently murdered her husband and tried to kill herself. Will is so closely connected to Laura (he had a brief affair with her in New York, and his mentor and virtual father, ace lawyer Ed Hauser, has been the lover of Laura's mother for years) that any personal involvement in her defense would seem impossible. To his credit, Huebner raises these objections (through a sharp but undersketched young lawyer named Mary Slattery)—then slips Will through a fictional loophole and makes him an important part of the defense team anyway. Although it is set largely on the writer's home turf of Bainbridge Island and features some sly digs at sleazy prosecutors and shabby psychiatrists, Huebner's latest is not his strongest effort. Agent, Clyde Taylor, Curtis Brown Ltd.(July)

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