Reasonable Doubts

Donald Dewey, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (294p) ISBN 978-0-312-06447-1
In this psychological debut mystery, Nelson Algren Prize winner Dewey ( The Opal's Man ) weaves a suggestive tale of violence and unrest at a Queens, N.Y., courthouse. Elena Alvarez, a high-strung attorney haunted by the suicide of a jailed former client, is willing to compromise her integrity to win an acquittal for Manuel Torres, a hood charged with attempted burglary. Also unsettled by the past is juror Charles Allison, a popular teacher who quits his job and questions his life's purpose when he is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Other courthouse characters also feel trapped in their own lives. Aging elevator operator Hobie Morgan's cynical view of work triggers guard John King's discontent about his years of thankless, anonymous service. Jealous over the attention given to losers like Torres and a security guard who shoots his partner during the trial, King accuses a bank of using a name identical to his in its advertisements. This absurd plea for attention garners no sympathy from either Alvarez or King's wife, Edith, who becomes his first murder victim. When a fire in the detention cell brings the Torres trial to an abrupt end, King abducts Alvarez and Allison. Dewey's sensationalized, implausible ending diminishes an otherwise convincing look at people torn by self-doubt. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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