St. Martin's, Dec 2003, 24.95, 384 pp.
California lawyer J. Shepard would prefer to surf than work the legal system, but he understands that he needs money to ride the waves. However, the ocean is on hold when Dale Bleeker pays a visit on J. Dale, at one time, was the superstar of the prosecution world until he committed an embarrassing mistake that has made him persona non grata amidst the state Bar.
J would rather ignore the apparent alcoholic, but Dale gave him the lift that established his career ten years ago. Though concerned that good Samaritans get burned, J helps his former mentor. However, the mess is worse than he imagines as J finds himself in the midst of an unauthorized practice of law scenario. Even more dangerous is that those greedy people willing to use and dispose of Dale and now J are ready to commit a homicide or two.
The keys to this legal thriller are the intelligent, amusing California mellow dude J and the two humorous California Girls that support the lead protagonist. Surprisingly, the surf sidebars seem more of an undertow than the enhancement that this provided to the first tale (see REEF DANCE). Still, the legal look at UPLs and the subsequent assault in court, on the beach, and in the street at J and Dale make for surf's up time for readers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner