Putnam, Aug 2002, 24.9, 416 pp.
Producer Richard “Big Dick” MacArthur dies by apparently falling off the deck of his Baker Beach, California home. The police detain the movie mogul's third wife, Angelina Chavez, who was found by a bridge unconscious in a family car. After questioning and checking out her story, the police accuse Angelina of murdering her spouse as the murder weapon, his Oscar, is in the trunk of her vehicle. San Francisco attorneys Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez become the defense team because Angelina is the niece of the former.
The Big Dick case would be difficult enough to provide a defense for without the family connection. However, the lawyers have other clients in various states of legal trouble with most related in some way to the firm. Trying to balance each one's need while working a homicide case keeps Mike and Rosie working overtime.
The latest Daley-Fernandez novel is an engaging legal thriller that is superior when the story line focuses on either the Big Dick homicide case or the tour of the Streets of San Francisco. The secondary legal cases feel like filler and leave the impression that except for the police, the entire Bay Area is related to Mike, Rosie, or someone else in the firm. Still the prime plot is cleverly developed so that sub-genre readers will enjoy the homicide defense while series fans will like insight into the extended family.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner