OFFER OF PROOF
It's not surprising that Yale-educated, New York–based, legal-aid lawyer/author Heilbrun gets the details right in this thriller featuring Ivy League educated, New York legal-aid public defender Arch Gold. What's refreshing in a field crowded with John Grisham imitators is that Heilbrun also turns in an intriguing, fast-paced, well-written courtroom mystery with an original lead character. Ten years ago, Arch Gold gave up his job as a high-powered business attorney (and also gave up his high-powered business attorney wife) to settle into the life of a poorly paid, hard-working, sometimes lonely but professionally satisfied public defender. When he draws the media-hot case of Damon Tucker, a kid from Harlem accused of murdering beautiful businesswoman Charlotte King, he finds himself defending not only a client he thinks is innocent, but also arguing the first death penalty case in New York in 50 years. Arch, at Damon's insistence, looks into the dead woman's background to see if her murder might be more than the simple mugging-gone-bad that prosecutors and the police claim. Arch finds that Charlotte was sleeping with her boss, James L. Yates, head of Yates Associates, the largest PI firm in the world. Remembering his bookie father's words of advice, "sometimes you have to break the rules to do the right thing," he commits a couple of felonies to get the goods on sleazebag Yates. When all else fails, Arch rallies an oddball contingent of former clients—a stripper, a stick-up man and a bookie—to ensure that justice prevails, leaving readers satisfied and eager for another outing. Agent, Amy Rennert.(Oct.)
Forecast:It's a crowded genre, but if the publisher can get the word out, this will do well. Of note: Heilbrun is the son of feminist scholar and author Carolyn Heilbrun, who writes mysteries under the name Amanda Cross.
Release date: 10/01/2003