Unlike many legal thrillers, which suffer from excess verbiage or rely on obscure legal maneuverings, Connors's first novel offers sleek, straightforward entertainment. A year after a horrific murder (a young man was bludgeoned and mutilated), prosecuting attorney Martha "Marty" Nickerson of Chatham on Cape Cod successfully secures the conviction of Manuel Rodriguez for the crime. For Nickerson, an assistant DA for more than a decade, the conviction is fully satisfying until a second murder, disturbingly similar to the first, occurs. The arrest of a likely suspect for the second crime isn't enough to quiet her growing doubts. She soon finds herself in conflict with her ambitious boss, Geraldine Schilling, and, surprisingly, in league with her frequent adversary, defense attorney Harry Madigan. A single mom raising a teenage son and coping with her ex's belated efforts to forge a bond with his long-ignored son, Nickerson is bright, determined, competent. Her unease turns to dread as her suspicion grows that at least one innocent man has been convicted and more young men will die if the law, rather than justice, is served. To pursue the truth, Nickerson must put her career at risk, alienating her mentor and putting herself outside the very system she has depended on. Connors wrings a fair amount of suspense from her appealing heroine's predicament and shows considerable flair in producing a solution to the crimes. Readers will swiftly devour this swift-paced debut. Agent, Nancy Yost. (Aug. 27)
FYI:A member of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the author has been a trial attorney for 18 years.