cover image Stay of Execution: Stay of Execution

Stay of Execution: Stay of Execution

William P. Wood. Pocket Books, $5.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-671-73179-3

Motivated by a relentless desire for truth and justice, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Keegan has decided to prosecute a high-profile murder case himself, even though his wife died only three months before in a questionable car accident and he is in the middle of a fierce re-election campaign. But Wood (Court of Honor) gives his legal drama greater depth, as Keegan uses the battle with defendant Robert Carnes to wrestle with his own guilt over his wife's death. Keegan is a man of contradictions, a hardened politico who prosecutes the case because of his heightened sense of justice-almost, one might say, in spite of the fact that it guarantees him valuable media coverage. Carnes is a worthy opponent. Mild in appearance, he is a jurisprudential terrorist who cunningly manipulates the system in a thoroughly planned attempt to escape prosecution. Keegan's search for vindication through this case shows that justice-ironically, in the end-comes in a variety of ways. Wood delivers a compelling moral tale disguised as an intelligent legal thriller. Do not expect pages of courtroom drama, though, because Wood, sometimes to his detriment, skimps on dialogue, especially when key witnesses take the stand. (Oct.)