Pinnacle, Mar 2003, 6.99, 384 pp.
Anyone who expects to make it in business or politics in Kansas City had to deal with Jack Cullan until someone killed him. The circumstantial evidence heavily points towards ex-cop and now bar owner Blues Bluestone. Last night Blues interceded and roughed up Jack when he was physically bullying Beth Harnell, Chairwoman of the Missouri Gaming Commission. During the one sided scuffle between the males, Jack scratched Blues' hands leaving the barkeep's skin (DNA) under the political fixer's fingernails.
Homicide Detectives Rymer and Zimmerman arrest Blues for murder; Blues retains Lou Mason as his attorney. No bail is granted because someone with strings wants the pressure of prison time to either break Jack into a confession or have him killed in jail. Either way the case closed. Knowing the system is already heavily rigged towards the prosecution and this case is perfect for the other side, Lou realizes he cannot win in court so he must find the real killer.
The second Mason legal thriller is an exciting tale that reads more like a private investigative novel. The legal aspects of the plot show how the game is fixed to overwhelmingly maximize the odds in favor of the government regardless of whether justice is served or even whether a convicted person did the act (Governor Ryan). Besides the eye opening look at the American legal system, Lou is a wishbone pulled in two directions by his friendship for the accused and his loving respect for the lead detective. All together this combo makes for an entertaining, shockingly educational who-done-it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner