Silent Son

Gallatin Warfield, Author Warner Books $21.95 (328p) ISBN 978-0-446-51725-6
In a less-than-stunning follow-up to his promising debut legal thriller, State v. Justice , Warfield brings back Gardner Lawson, the Maryland county prosecutor, who once again takes on his old adversary, criminal defense lawyer Kent King. But while the premise is immediately intriguing--Gardner's eight-year-old son is the sole witness to a double homicide--and the suspense holds nearly until the end, the novel is plagued by less-than-credible characters and lacks the polished narration and fascinating procedural insights that distinguished its forerunner. When Gardner's boy witnesses the brutal execution of the elderly, kindly proprietors of a popular local country store/petting zoo, the ensuing trauma causes him to blank out any memory of the crime. Gardner must then decide how far to involve his son in the prosecution of the case, setting up an overly melodramatic conflict between his sworn duty to the law and his love for his son which inevitably involves the boy's mother, who's not only a smothering parent but also a vengeful ex-wife. Meanwhile, two suspects surface: a local ne'er-do-well and his look-alike, an overage student at a local prep school for scions of the very wealthy. Despite tinny dialogue, flat characterization and hokey melodrama, Warfield weaves in enough tantalizing plot turns--including dark family secrets, powerful ``old school'' legal connections and a third murder--to engage the reader, at least until the credibility-stretching conclusion. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-446-60199-3
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-56729-9
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