Lawyers Paul Madriani and Harry Hinds are hired to represent Emiliano Ruiz, a thirty-eight year old retired Army sergeant, accused of killing the CEO of a prominent high-tech company. She was killed with a double-tap shot, a technique only a skilled marksman can make. They set out to prove Ruiz's innocence. Paul Madriani is one of a handful of lawyers called upon by veteran's advocacy group called the GI Defense Fund, to represent Ruiz. The fund pays for the legal defense of veterans who get involved in scrapes with the law.The story opens presenting a day in the life of Madelyn Chapman, the woman who is murdered; the day that results in her death - shot with a double tap, two bullet holes within and eight of an inch from one another, that required a skilled marksman to perform.
Madriani and Hinds, his partner, visit the defendant and ask his side of the story. He worked for a security firm that provided security for Chapman. The gun used to kill her was his, a gun issued to him by the Army, but which he never returned when he left. He describes his duties for Chapman, which included guarding her at her house overnight. They go over his military record, but soon realize there is a seven year gap, which Ruiz refuses to explain.
As the story goes on, they investigate Isotronics, the tech company of which she was CEO, and find that they had been doing work on a government contract that involved snooping on people, the details of which they would not reveal citing trade secret issues. As each bit of information turns up, they go to Ruiz to confirm or to find out what he knows. He continues to maintain his innocence. In the course of their investigation, they discover that the day of her death, Chapman purchased a glass piece called the Orb at the Edge, for which she paid just under a half million dollars. The piece is missing but is noted nowhere in the police reports.
Throughout the investigation, Madriani, his partner and the Herman, their private detective, find themselves running into brick walls. They try to talk to people at Isotronics but are finally forbidden from being on the property, However, in one meeting they are allowed to have, with all company lawyers present, they find two people who may be willing to talk, her executive assistant Karen Rogan and the tech guy working on the project, Harold Klepp. On his last day being allowed on the Isotronics property, Madriani runs into Nathan Kwan, a fellow student in law school who has recently been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was there for a meeting.
As the trial starts, they are still trying to get information to help them with Ruiz, but they realize without it he is essentially doomed. He was a skilled marksman, and could easily have done the double tap, one of the few who could. And then Kwan shows up to attend the trial, claiming the state legislature, of which he's a member until Congress is in session, is on recess, and this is the most exciting game in town. Herman manages to get the tech guy to talk at a bar, and sets it up for Madriani to meet them there. But just as he's getting down to it, the Rogan, the executive assistant shows up and drags Klepp from the bar.
They start looking for someone who can explain the software to them as they believe it is related to the murder. They don't believe their client is guilty. They find one, Kaprosky, and he happens to be the guy who wrote it to begin with, had licensed the government, but then had his contract cancelled when they went to Isotronics to deliver the product. He sued, lost everything and won nothing. He explained it all in great detail.
The rest of the book involves the trial itself, the wins and losses in the evidence areas, and there are many wins, and their ability to raise reasonable doubt since the evidence was left in relatively plain view with only one important piece missing - the piece that could make even a novice with guns, make the double tap kill.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that they kept on looking, that their client maintained his secrecy contract with the government and that they were willing to be taught all about computer programming so they could truly undertsand what they were dealing with.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when they shut down the detective working on the case by bringing up how funny it was that a guy would leave his own gun in plain view.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked his dogged determination to do the best for his client, though he was threatened if he did.