Delacorte, August 2003, 24.95, 392 pp.
After years of pursuit, Nina Reilly finally realizes she loves Paul and is willing to see where their relationship will take them. She moves out of her home on Lake Tahoe, rents out her law practice, and moves into Paul's place in Carmel. Nina's former assistant Sandi's son Wish accompanies them because he is working during the summer for Paul in his private investigative business and is living in Nina's rental home with two other young men.
One night against his better judgment, Wish joins his friend up in the woods near the Siesta Court homes to catch and film an arsonist who has already set two fires. Things go terribly wrong and Wish's friend dies. The arsonist injures Wish who is later arrested on an assortment of charges including homicide. It will take all of Nina's considerable legal and investigative skills to get enough evidence to free a client she knows is innocent.
PRESUMPTION OF DEATH is a very good and exciting legal thriller but also is so much more. Nina returns to the place of her childhood and realizes one can go home again. Readers see the relationship between Paul and Nina grow stronger and see through Nina's eyes that she might have a long-term future with him, something he wants very badly. The story line has many twists and turns and it is only when the novel reaches the court phase that readers have a glimmer of what is really going on. Perri O'Shauqhnessy will appeal to readers who love John Grisham.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner