A Suggestion of Death -0671035592

Wesson, Marianne

Published by Atria
ISBN 10: 0671035592 / ISBN 13: 9780671035594
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In her national bestseller Render Up the Body, former federal prosecutor Marianne Wesson delivered an "intense legal drama" (Sara Paretsky). Now, Wesson's unforgettable heroine, Colorado attorney Cinda Hayes, is the heart and soul of a thrilling and authentic new novel -- a page-turner that ranks with the best suspense fiction of Scott Turow and Linda Fairstein.

The cry for help first comes over the telephone: a scared young woman with a small voice calls a radio talk show hosted by Cinda Hayes, with searching legal questions about "intimate torts." When Cinda meets Mariah McKay in person, she encounters a troubled, delicate twenty-year-old with a shocking accusation: her father, a respected university professor and candidate for Colorado state senate, traumatized her as a child. Mariah retains only jagged pieces of her horrific memories, but with the clock ticking on the statute of limitations, Cinda cannot afford to wait. She must pursue the case with the evidence at hand.

Mariah has fled her privileged upbringing and retreated into the plains east of Boulder, where she has taken refuge among a band of people with their own political agenda -- a militia group. Her chief protector is Pike Sayers, a magnetic, mysterious man who is the community's judge of the "common law." As Cinda investigates Mariah's painful and secretive history, Sayers might be Cinda's greatest ally -- or her worst opposition. And as she deciphers the fragments of evidence, she plunges herself into danger. Someone wants to keep the past wrapped tightly in darkness, and will stop at nothing to ensure that Cinda comes up empty-handed. Under terrible pressure and mounting threats, Cinda will fight relentlessly for a desperate young woman's chance at redemption.

Cinda Hayes touches the heart and the mind in A Suggestion of Death, a taut, provocative thriller that resonates well beyond its gripping legal suspense.

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

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Title: A Suggestion of Death -0671035592
Publisher: Atria
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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