cover image The Choice

The Choice

Barry Reed. Crown Publishing Group (NY), $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-517-58124-7

Reed's marvelous sequel to The Verdict puts attorney Frank Galvin on the horns of a dilemma. Tina Alvarez, a lawyer from downtrodden Fall River, Mass., asks Galvin for help in suing an English pharmaceutical company whose miraculous heart medicine, she alleges, has caused birth defects in a number of Portuguese-American children. Galvin, now working for a Boston Brahmin firm, agrees to take the case until he learns that his own firm represents the company in question. Although he is assigned the task of defending it when Alvarez proceeds with her litigation, Galvin remains spiritually tied to the opposition's case, especially as he has successfully urged Alvarez to enlist the help of his mentor, Moe Katz. Ethics turn dangerously murky when Galvin's colleague alters a legal agreement to make it appear as if the English company does not have full authority over the U.S. concern that markets the drug stateside, with the result that Alvarez and Katz have to sue in England, where liability laws tend to favor defendants. Galvin is furious when he discovers the alteration, and is further dismayed to learn that the man who patented the heart drug had been aware of its risks. A series of ostensibly unrelated murders forces Galvin to reconsider the morality of his defense. Ingenious plot twists build to a memorable and gripping resolution. (Aug.)