Holt, Jun 2004, 19.95, 355 pp.
In Portland, Oregon, Dr. Townsend Easterbrook returns home after working twelve hours to find his wife Clarissa, a minor administrative-law judge, missing. A shoe turns up outside the house and the family dog is found several miles away from their home. Soon Clarissa's battered body is located in an office park.
Following her harrowing case in which her life was threatened (see Judgment Calls), Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid receives a promotion from Vice to Major Crimes. Her superior assigns Samantha the Easterbrook homicide. The cops hone in on the obvious Townsend, but the grieving husband with his lawyer insures that he does not take the fall. Instead, the cops turn to a less protected victim, janitor Melville Jackson with a motive. Judge Easterbrook ordered the eviction of Melville from a public housing facility. Other evidence includes the fact that he owns the murder weapon and his prints are on her door making for an iron shut case. However, Samantha feels everything is too perfect and wonders if Jackson is the perfect scapegoat of the rich and powerful.
Though an exciting legal thriller that emphasizes that people are not equal under the law as money can buy better defense services, fans will wonder why Samantha even had a doubt about Melville's guilt. The heroine's scheming with Melville's court-appointed lawyer seems inappropriate, but justice is served even if Samantha's entertaining inquiries place her on the wrong side of the table. Still fans will appreciate Burke's Law due to this feisty independent counsel, who seeks justice not a scalp count.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner