cover image High Crimes

High Crimes

Joseph Finder. William Morrow & Company, $24.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14962-8

A man is framed in a military cover-up, and only his wife can free him, in this provocative and chilling courtroom thriller by Finder (Red Carpet; The Zero Hour). ""Old Sixties Liberal"" Claire Heller Chapman is a respected Harvard Law School professor, a high-profile defense attorney and a happily married mother. Tom, her handsome Armani-clad husband, owns a successful investment firm and dotes upon their adorable six-year-old daughter, Annie. This rather cloying scenario crumbles one day at the local mall when a team of government agents tries to arrest Tom for having single-handedly butchered 87 unarmed peasants in El Salvador. Tom escapes, but soon Claire learns the terrible news that her husband has hidden for 13 years. Tom's real name is Ron Kubik; in the 1980s, he was a covert Pentagon operative in Latin America. While surprised to discover that her husband was a soldier (not to mention that he went AWOL to avoid prosecution, had plastic surgery and fabricated a life story for himself), Claire risks everything to defend him on the hostile, foreign turf of a top-secret court-martial. She also struggles with the alienation of her understandably bewildered daughter. The courtroom scenes are dramatic, but Finder indulges a taste for typecasting: expert witnesses called by Claire tend to be professional and appealing, while those called by the military prosecutors are often physically flawed and nervous. Despite these faults, Finder's courtroom thriller has enough twists and texture to keep readers turning the pages. The issue of trust and betrayal is nicely articulated, and the ending delivers a visceral shock. Major ad/promo; BOMC main selection; film rights to Tri-Star Pictures; author tour. (Feb.)