Above the Law

J. F. Freedman, Author Dutton Books $24.95 (452p) ISBN 978-0-525-94479-9
Former DA Luke Garrison is back in another tricky and exciting Freedman thriller (after The Disappearance). Now a defense attorney in Santa Barbara, he gets a surprise call from an old law school friend, Nora Ray. As the DA in remote Muir County in Northern California, Ray wants him to investigate the murder of drug overlord Reynaldo Juarez, which occurred during a violent and botched DEA raid on the Juarez compound in Ray's district. Garrison finds it hard to believe that anyone cares about who murdered the drug lord. But Ray thinks the DEA is conspiring to cover up something else, especially as they had orders to capture Juarez so he could be detained as a witness in other investigations. Reluctantly, Garrison agrees to be hired as her special prosecutor. The key players in the case are a twisted and intriguing lot: mysterious, needy, possibly dangerous Ray, attracted to the attractive prosecutor; elderly local sheriff Miller, exiled to Muir County long ago by the FBI and cut out of the DEA raid; Miller's deputy, Wayne Bearpaw, the liaison to local Native Americans who are trying desperately to haul themselves out of poverty; and federal agent Sterling Jerome, arrogant leader of the drug bust. As the case unfolds, Garrison uncovers the workings of Juarez's West Coast drug enterprise, the movement of large sums of money, startling passions and connections that go deep (including a long-ago link between Jerome and Juarez). Finally, as past and present converge, it becomes clear that nearly everyone has been hiding a secret. Though in need of some editorial tightening, Freedman's complexly plotted mystery builds to a surprising and satisfying climax. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58788-086-5
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