cover image Legacy of Lies

Legacy of Lies

Robert Bailey. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (360p) ISBN 978-1-5420-0426-8

Attorney Bo Haynes, a supporting character from Bailey’s McMurtrie and Drake series (The Final Reckoning, etc.), takes center stage in this uninspired legal thriller. Bo gets the defense client of a lifetime in the person of Helen Lewis, the district attorney general for four Tennessee counties. A former beauty pageant contestant with a reputation for meanness, Helen has been charged with the shooting murder of her ex-husband, lawyer Butch Renfroe. Helen was seen entering Butch’s house shortly before the crime, and she previously threatened to kill him after he suggested he might reveal a decades-old secret that could end her career. Bo’s byzantine backstory—he’s an African-American whose biological father was the Imperial Wizard of the KKK—doesn’t make suspending disbelief any easier as his defense of Helen takes some unlikely turns. Purple prose (Bo “knew pain. He rode in the cockpit with it. He bathed in it every morning and night”) distracts. Readers interested in courtroom dramas set against a backdrop of Southern corruption won’t find this an acceptable John Grisham substitute. Agent: Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency. (Apr.)