Render Up the Body

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9780060182922: Render Up the Body

A decomposed body is found high in the mountains of central Colorado. The remains are identified as those of Nicole Marie Caswell, age 22. Ten months later Jason Smiley is arrested and charged with Nicole Caswell's rape and murder.

Long before Smiley's arrest, Cinda Hayes had become disillusioned with working as chief sex-crimes prosecutor for the Boulder County District Attorney's Office -- a job muddled by too many calculating egos, too much machismo and not enough decency. When the opportunity arises for her to become director of the Boulder County Rape Crisis Center, she doesn't think twice -- she jumps at the chance to leave the practice of law behind.

But six months after Jason Smiley is convicted and sentenced to death, Cinda is abruptly summoned by her old mentor, Justice Hilton James of the Colorado Supreme Court, and told that the state has chosen her to handle Smiley's appeal. The appointment creates obvious conflicts for Cinda -- her new profession is built on defending rape victims -- but Justice James assures her that she will not be expected to argue her client's innocence. She is instructed, instead, to scrutinize the trial record for errors that may have comprised Smiley's right to procedural justice.

Immediately Cinda feels an invisible noose begin to tighten. Her rape crisis colleagues start avoiding her, and most disturbing, her closest friend, Assistant District Attorney Tory Meadows, suddenly vanishes from her life. Cinda's strenuous efforts to avoid being drawn deeper into Smiley's case are failing, as Smiley insists that the only error at his trial was the conviction of an innocent man. At a memorial service for a fallen Boulder mountain climber, Cinda begins to sense the truth, which may include a deep cover-up involving Tory and the D.A.'s office. Armed with what she has learned, Cinda must decide whether to defy the court's instructions and demand to have a high-profile death-row case reopened.

In Render Up the Body, Marianne Wesson makes a thrilling and passionate debut. From absorbing descriptions of behind-the-scenes legal procedure to a shocking climax that will surprise even the most seasoned reader, this is an extraordinary novel of suspense.

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About the Author:

Marianne Wesson is a former federal prosecuter and current professor of law at the University of Colorado Law School, where she has served as acting dean. Since 1991, Wesson has represented a death-row inmate in California. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Newcomer Wesson, a prosecutor-turned-defense-attorney, melds Dead Man Walking with the legal thriller formula in her provocative debut. Months after she's left her job in the D.A.'s office to head the Boulder Rape Crisis Center, Lucinda Hayes gets leaned on by her old teacher, now Colorado Supreme Court Justice Hilton James, to go back to the courtroom by handling the habeas corpus appeal of Jason Smiley, on his way to the death house for raping and murdering his blue-blooded lover Nicole Caswell. Smiley insists he's innocent, but Cinda knows that under Colorado law (as in most other states), claims of innocence, however well documented, aren't grounds in a habeas corpus action. But as she casts around for the sort of legal grounds that might give her client a chance--improper jury instructions, errors in interpreting the laws of felony murder, omitted warnings that might have violated Smiley's constitutional rights--she begins, to her amazement, to turn up evidence that indicates that maybe, just maybe, Smiley might be telling the truth about the crime. Of course, Cinda's colleagues at the Rape Crisis Center, horrified at her spirited defense of Smiley, recoil as if their director had sprouted horns, and she ends up losing both friends and job; her best friend, Assistant D.A. Victoria Meadows, won't take her calls for weeks on end; and even Hilton James suddenly blows cold when he finds out she's actually been researching cases that might offer some precedent for sneaking exculpatory evidence into a habeas corpus case. Just when you think Cinda's headed for a courtroom showdown and a heartfelt, predictable embattled-heroine conclusion, Wesson detonates the first of a series of bombshells that keep his heroine scrambling until the final satisfying surprise. Legal eagles may be disappointed by the perfunctory courtroom scenes. For everyone else, though: an audacious, unsettling mixture of legal suspense and morality play. (Book-of- the-Month Club alternate selection) -- Copyright 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description HarperCollins, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., 1998. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. A decomposed body is found high in the mountains of central Colorado. The remains are identified as those of Nicole Marie Caswell, age twenty-two. Ten months later Jason Smiley is arrested and charged with Nicole Caswell's rape and murder. Long before Smiley's arrest, Cinda Hayes had become disillusioned working as chief sex-crimes prosecutor for the Boulder County District Attorney's Office - a job muddled by too many calculating egos, too much machismo, and not enough decency. When the opportunity arises for her to become director of the Boulder County Rape Crisis Center, she doesn't think twice - she jumps at the chance to leave the practice of law behind. But six months after Jason Smiley is convicted and sentenced to death, Cinda is abruptly summoned by her old mentor, Justice Hilton James of the Colorado Supreme Court, and told that the state has chosen her to handle Smiley's appeal. The appointment creates obvious conflicts for Cinda - her new profession is built on defending rape victims - but Justice James assures her that she will not be expected to argue her client's innocence. She is instructed, instead, to scrutinize the trial record for errors that may have compromised Smiley's right to procedural justice. Cinda's strenuous efforts to avoid being drawn deeper into Smiley's case are failing, as Smiley insists that the only error at his trial was the conviction of an innocent man. At a memorial service for a fallen Boulder mountain climber, Cinda begins to sense the truth, which may include a deep cover-up involving Tory and the D.A.'s office. Armed with what she has learned, Cinda must decide whether to defy the court's instructions and demand to have a high-profile death-row case reopened. Bookseller Inventory # 001275

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Book Description Harper, NY, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 12mo - over 6¾ - 7¾" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 037021

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