Render Up the Body: A Novel of Suspense

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9780061093920: Render Up the Body: A Novel of Suspense

In a case of life and death, the ultimate crime is telling the truth.

The director of a rape crisis center, former prosecutor Cinda Hayes is drawn back to the law when the court unexpectedly appoints her to handle the death row appeal of 22-year-old Jason Smiley, convicted of a brutal rape and murder.

Betraying her conscience, Cinda reluctantly begins her investigation. But when she discovered a crucial piece of unexamined evidence, she becomes convinced Jason may be the victim of a terrible injustice that reachesdeep into the highest offices of the court itself.

As she races to unravel a mystery twisted by ambition and vengeance, Cinda must render up the truth...or watch a young man die.

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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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