Rule of Capture

Christopher Brown. Harper Voyager, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-285909-9

Possession is nine-tenths of the law, and this intense near-future legal thriller tries to find solace in that final tenth. A prequel to Brown’s 2017 dystopia, Tropic of Kansas, it features the same all-too-real political and cultural crackdowns on civil liberties, cheered on by a substantial fraction of the American people. Donny Kimoe, a former prosecutor and corporate attorney exiled to pro bono cases, is the public defender for accused terrorists whose crimes are trying to reform a broken America that has suffered the loss of Hawaii to a victorious China. While begging the White House for clemency for a death row client, Donny also works on uncovering the murderer of a popular Houston politician whose death is tied to mysterious corporate interests. Donny, smart and smart-mouthed, provides a glimmer of hope that the usurpers of the Constitution may be beaten at their own game, “one case at a time.” Interpersonal drama fuels the story as much as legal maneuvering, and Brown keeps tight control of his narrative even as this alternate America slips its gears. Fans of Tropic of Kansas will like this prequel even better, and it’s very accessible to new readers. Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Aug.)
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