Marianne Wesson A Suggestion of Death

ISBN 13: 9780747220084

A Suggestion of Death

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9780747220084: A Suggestion of Death
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When a scared young woman calls in to a radio talk show, Colorado attorney Cinda Hayes hears her cry for help. Less clear is whether twenty-year-old Mariah McKay's charges -- that her father, a respected senatorial candidate, traumatized her as a child -- can be proved, or if her fragmented memories are evidence enough. With the clock ticking on the statute of limitations, Cinda must move fast to pursue the case. But when Mariah takes refuge among a militia group in the Boulder-area plains, Cinda's quest for the truth leads her into deadly territory -- where someone wants to keep the past wrapped tightly in darkness....

Marianne Wesson creates rich suspense -- and untangles the ethical issues behind the most compelling legal scenarios -- in her bestselling fiction starring Cinda Hayes.

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Review:

Penzler Pick, May 2000: Lawyers writing crime novels have been a rapidly growing sector of the mystery-writing population for well over a decade now, ever since Scott Turow hit the big time with his excellent Presumed Innocent in 1987. And then there was that fellow Grisham....

In fact, the legal mystery has been a genre niche for a century and a half: one of the first crime novels ever written, Bleak House by Charles Dickens, chronicled the courtroom battles of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce in 1852-1853. Anna Katharine Green with The Leavenworth Case (1872) and Melville Davisson Post were the first great American practitioners of the legal thriller, soon followed by the Mr. Tutt stories of Arthur Train (an assistant New York district attorney in the 1920s) to the English legal-chambers-set novels of Michael Gilbert, Sarah Caudwell, John Mortimer, et al. The bandwagon has become more crowded on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years.

Fresh voices, however, are always welcome, and with her first series entry, Render Up the Body, Colorado law professor and former federal prosecutor Marianne Wesson achieved what most first-timers only dream of, solid reviews and word-of-mouth momentum that left her admirers waiting to see if she could deliver again. My verdict: she has. A Suggestion of Death takes Wesson's heroine, Cinda Hayes, into a looking-glass world of maverick jurisprudence, where a secret common-law court has set itself up to deal out judgments harking back to a simpler era.

Against all her instincts, Cinda, a Boulder attorney with a knack for attracting the vulnerable and the victimized, finds herself drawn to the charismatic Pike Sayers, who presides over the unsanctioned (and illicit) common-law courtroom. Though he quotes Auden to her, she's not convinced he's any better than the right-wing vigilantes who appear to be his followers. Worse still, she can't decide what role he's assuming in the matter of Mariah McKay, the troubled young daughter of a right-wing politician who is hiding from her family and has sought Cinda's advice on issues of past abuse by her father.

It's a tricky personal and professional obstacle course for Cinda as she attempts to protect both Mariah and herself. A Suggestion of Death has the benefit of the author's own familiarity with the territory. The straightforward legal questions are gripping, but so are the provocative issues raised by common-law adherents. Add the potential for deadly violence, and you've got a first-rate, surprise-streaked suspense novel. --Otto Penzler

About the Author:

Marianne Wesson is the bestselling author of Render Up the Body. She is a law professor at the University of Colorado and former federal prosecutor, as well as an essayist and legal analyst for television and radio. A Suggestion Of Death is her second novel. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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