cover image Angel of Death

Angel of Death

Jay Brandon. Forge, $24.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86541-2

Edgar nominee Brandon's (Fade the Heat) taut legal thriller pits an infinitely evil criminal against a preeminently good district attorney. When recently elected San Antonio DA Chris Sinclair convicts African American community activist Malachi Reese for a double murder, sending him to Death Row, he experiences a year of hell. Promising vengeance, Reese wreaks havoc on Sinclair's professional and personal life. During a second trial stemming from Reese's conviction, Sinclair's young assistant DA is murdered, his romantic encounter with psychiatrist Anne Greenawald is violently interrupted and his job is jeopardized through insinuations of misconduct. Brandon provides vibrant local color and (sometimes too much) legal detail for both trial sequences. In the penultimate scene, Reese orchestrates courtroom chaos to manufacture a heroic scenario for himself. He plans to save a humiliated Sinclair, punishing him by sacrificing Greenawald, but his plan doesn't quite come off. Revelations about Reese's offspring lead the grim tale to an appropriately suspenseful conclusion. (Nov.)