Jay Brandon, . . Forge, $25.95 (464pp) ISBN 978-0-312-87425-4

A San Antonio divorce lawyer is surreptitiously hired by the First Lady to serve papers on the president of the United States, but his dream case turns to nightmare when his client and her son disappear. The emphasis falls on "thriller" rather than "legal" as lawyer David Owens is pushed by Secret Service agent Helen Wills to help her free Myra McPherson and her son, Randy, from a White House bent on major betrayal of the American people. President McPherson is in the pocket of computer and software mogul Wilson Boswell, who, with the president's help, plans to wield ultimate power over the competition. White House staffer Angela Vortiz keeps the commander-in-chief happy while serving as a go-between for him and Boswell. When Boswell gets word of Myra's escape plans, he orchestrates a forced sanitarium stay for her and ships eight-year-old Randy to a well-guarded private summer camp until they can deal with David. Helen tracks the pair and sends David for Randy while she deals with Myra's captors. Barely pulling off their double rescue they hightail it to San Antonio with the Feds on their trail. Meanwhile, Boswell sics a lethally unbalanced computer whiz on the fugitives. David and Helen are slick and crafty, but the mousy Myra comes up with the dazzling solution to their plight. Edgar-nominated Brandon (Afterimage; Fade the Heat) keeps the plot rolling. Despite many less than credible plot elements, this is an exciting read and an interesting action/adventure slant for Brandon. (Oct.)