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William Bernhardt’s bestselling novels featuring Oklahoma defense attorney Ben Kincaid capture the bare-knuckles reality of high-stakes criminal defense, as lofty ideals of justice clash with power, corruption, and wealth. In Capitol Murder, Bernhardt’s hard-charging hero takes on his most shocking, headline-making case yet.
Kincaid’s legal success has earned him a dubious reward: a journey through the looking glass into the Beltway. Here, in the heart of the nation’s capital, a powerful U.S. senator has been caught first in a sordid sex scandal, then in a case of murder.
Senate aide Veronica Cooper was found in a secret Senate office beneath the Capitol building, on Senator Todd Glancy’s favorite couch, blood pouring from the knife wound in her throat. The young woman’s death comes on the heels of the release of a sordid videotape depicting her and Senator Glancy in compromising positions.
With the senator’s reputation in tatters, the evidence against him–as a sexual predator and possibly a killer–mounts. By the time a nationally televised murder trial begins, Kincaid and his team know they’re facing the challenge of a lifetime. According to public opinion, and even in Kincaid’s most private thoughts, Glancy is one more politician who cannot admit his own culpability.
But while a dramatic trial unfolds in the courtroom–loaded with pitfalls, traps, and an astounding betrayal–another trial is taking place on the mean streets of D.C., as Kincaid’s investigator pursues a young woman who was a friend of Veronica Cooper’s, plunging Kincaid into a bizarre world of Goths, sadomasochists, and a community of self-proclaimed vampires. Somewhere in this violent underworld lies the secret behind Veronica Cooper’s demise . . . and the crux of Senator Glancy’s innocence or guilt.
In a case that pits Kincaid and his freewheeling partner Christina McCall against the brutal machinery of Washington politics, the answers they seek are hidden in a murderous maze of lies and hidden motives. And in William Bernhardt’s best novel yet, getting to the truth is an unparalleled experience in pure, satisfying suspense.
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William Bernhardt is the author of many novels, including Primary Justice, Murder One, Criminal Intent, Death Row, Hate Crime, and Dark Eye. He has twice won the Oklahoma Book Award for Best Fiction, and in 2000 he was presented the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award “in recognition of an outstanding body of work in which we understand ourselves and American society at large.” A former trial attorney, Bernhardt has received several awards for his public service. He lives in Tulsa, and readers can e-mail him at WB@williambernhardt.com or visit his website at www.williambernhardt.com.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
As Ben Kincaid peered at his client through the acrylic screen, he was startled by how appealing, how downright cute she still looked. Usually, the first few weeks behind bars took a terrible toll on first-time inmates. The lack of sunlight, the coarseness of the company, the absence of hair care and beauty products, the low-watt institutional lighting, the inevitable depression--all conspired to make the newly incarcerated appear as if they had emerged from the ninth circle of hell.
But not Candy Warren. Somehow Candy had managed to retain her fresh-faced charm. When her father first introduced her to Ben, he had compared his daughter to Lizzie McGuire--perky, effervescent, goofy but lovable. Two weeks in the slammer and a switch from Gap jeans to TCPD orange coveralls hadn't changed any of that. She was still adorable. She even had her hair up in pigtails.
"So you've talked to my daddy?" she asked, speaking into the telephone receiver that allowed them to communicate.
"Yes," Ben answered. "He's worried about you, of course. But I assured him we would do everything we could. And I got him the present you wanted to send. The Hilary Duff poster."
"Oh, that's wonderful." Ben loved the way her nose crinkled when she laughed. "Can you believe it? The man is in his sixties, and he's crazy about this girl who's barely a teenager. Isn't that wild?"
Ben could think of a different word for it, but never mind that. Always refreshing to have a client who still cared about her parents. "I have some good news for you. To my utter surprise, DA Canelli has made an offer."
"An offer?" She lifted her chin, giving those pigtails an endearing bounce. "What kind of offer?"
"A plea bargain. A chance to avoid trial."
"Assuming I plead guilty."
"To a lesser charge. Yes."
Candy kneaded her hands. Ben noticed that her fingernails were painted electric pink. "But what will my daddy say?"
"What will he say if this goes to trial?"
"Aren't I entitled to my day in court?"
"Yes. But that day is fraught with risk. Canelli is offering you a sure thing."
She sat up straight, throwing her shoulders back. "I can't do it. I can't take the easy way out. I owe that much to my daddy. And while we're talking about this, Ben, I want you to do something about those newspapers."
Ben didn't follow. "Which newspapers?"
"All of them. Have you read the articles they've been printing?" Creases flanked the bridge of her nose. "File some kind of lawsuit against them."
"On what grounds?"
"What grounds?" she said with great indignity. "They've been saying horrible things about me. They're libeling my reputation! Destroying my good name!"
Ben shook his head. "Candy . . . you're--"
"Ben, don't. You know I have labeling issues."
"Ben, I don't want to hear--"
"Candy . . ." Ben cleared his throat. "You're a hit man."
She gave him a stern look. "Excuse me?"
"Sorry. Hit person."
"Better." Her face hardened; the adorable factor vanished. In the space of a second, she went from Lizzie McGuire to Lizzie Borden. "Now, what are you going to do about those goddamn newspapers?"
Ben drew in his breath. "Nothing. A libel suit would be frivolous, given the circumstances, detrimental to your criminal case, and so utterly stupid that if you really want to do it, you're going to have to find yourself another lawyer."
She glared back at him with eyes like Uzis. "Then what do you suggest?"
"I suggest you take the DA's deal." He hung the phone receiver back in its cradle. "Be seeing you, Candy."
Christina McCall sailed through the front doors of her law office with an air of insouciance, bouncing with each step, whistling as she walked. Jones, the office manager and part-time oracle, did his best to interpret the signs. He could tell she was in a merry mood, not only from the whistling, but also because she was dressed less like an attorney and more like, well, Christina. She was wearing a short, pleated skirt, knee-high boots, and a clinging sweater ornamented with irregular patches of fake fur.
"I'm guessing you didn't get that outfit at Saks," Jones commented.
"Dear Jones," she said smiling, "Don't you know? This is all the rage amongst the jeunesse doree."
Jones didn't know what that meant and wasn't interested enough to ask. "Is there a reason why we're whistling this morning?"
Christina beamed. "Because it gives me a happy."
"Uh-huh. May I assume from this unsuppressed display of jocularity that you must've beaten Ben at Scrabble last night?"
She stopped at his desk in the lobby and snatched the pink message slips from her spindle. "Jones, Jones--you're so passe. We're long past the Scrabble stage."
"'Zat a fact," he said dubiously. "Might I have the temerity to suggest the possibility that he actually . . . kissed you good night?"
"Jones, Jones, Jones!" She leaned across his desk, still grinning. "You are such a busybody."
"I'm just trying to stay up-to-date on this putative romance."
"And I'd love to continue this delightful raillery, but--"
"Look, I'm trying to run an office," Jones said, raising his chin. "It's my job to know if anything insalubrious to the firm is developing. So I'm naturally concerned when the firm's two attorneys make the incredibly boneheaded decision to start dating each other. But if you don't want to tell me anything, fine. I don't care."
A few seconds of silence passed. Christina stared at him. Jones drummed his fingers.
"All right, so I do care. Don't make me grovel. Tell me already."
Christina fluttered her eyelashes. "Dear sweet Jones. Don't work yourself into a swivet. I'll tell all. Ben and I are so past the good night kiss stage." She gave him a pronounced wink. "Way way past. What a libido that man has."
"Really. I thought Ben was more glibido."
"All talk and no action."
"Well, you are . . . totally wrong."
"Glad to hear it. I guess." As Christina bounced toward her office, he added, "But I notice there's no ring on your finger."
Her neck stiffened first; the rest of her body soon followed. She slowly pivoted on one heel. "That . . . doesn't mean . . . anything. We haven't been dating all that long."
"Oh? Seems to me it's been . . ."
"Just a little over a year." She paused. "With, like, ten years of foreplay. Look, he's a typical nineties male. Afraid of commitment."
"Wake up and smell the calendar, Chris. The nineties were over a long time ago. Your boy is stalling."
"He isn't stalling. He's just . . . Ben." Her fingers fluttered through the air. "You know how hard he was hit by that Ellen mess, how she betrayed him. That's how he sees it, anyway. And that business with Belinda Hamilton didn't help any, either."
"And Keri Kilcannon."
"Ugh." Christina's face twisted into a grimace. "Did you have to bring her up?" She sighed. "I keep telling myself this so-called romance isn't hopeless, that eventually we'll take the next step. But how long can I wait for this man to come to his senses?"
"Hearing that old biological clock ticking?"
"Yeah. The one that tells me I probably won't live past one hundred and ten. And that may not be long enough."
"I feel for you. Truly."
"What would you know about it? You and Paula fell in love right off the bat."
"We didn't get married right off the bat." Jones's eyes twinkled. "But I knew it was going to happen. Knew the first moment I laid eyes on her."
"And you've been happily married ever since. How did you know? How could you be sure? Give me a test."
"That's easy enough. Has he ever told you he loves you?"
She frowned, then stomped across the lobby to her office.
Jones leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. "That's what I thought."
Ben crept into the lobby, carefully opening and releasing the door so the automatic chime would not sound. When was he going to have that private-access elevator to his office installed? Answer: probably sometime after he actually made some money, a goal that perpetually eluded him. And it wasn't because of his profligate ways, either. In all his years as a lawyer, he'd tried dozens of cases, mostly with some degree of success, settled a multimillion-dollar tort case, written two books, inherited a boardinghouse, and rarely spent a dime on himself. But he still only barely managed to keep the firm afloat. And for the most part, it was his own fault. And he knew it.
Which was why he was tiptoeing past his office manager's desk, hoping Jones kept his attention fixed on his computer screen. He felt certain that Candy Warren would take the DA's offer. He al...
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Book Description Books on Tape, 2006. AudioCD. Condition: Good. 11 AUDIO CDs withdrawn from the library collection. Some library marking. We will polish each CD for a clear listening experience. You will receive a reliable set. Enjoy this presentable AUDIO CD performance. Audio Book. Seller Inventory # 845092320167029
Book Description Books on Tape, 2011. AudioCD. Condition: Good. 9 AUDIO CDs in the clamshell case withdrawn from the library collection published by Books on Tape. Some library marking and sticker to the box. We will polish each of the Audio CDs individually for quality of sound. Enjoy this AUDIO CD performance. Seller Inventory # 14NWyrsev860308