Warner, Jul 2002, 25.95, 448 pp.
In San Francisco, someone assassinates US Senator Jeremy Fullerton. The police spot a young black fleeing the scene. They fire, wound, and arrest Jamaal Washington for killing Fullerton.
Surprisingly, without any obvious let alone remote connection to the accused, elderly local lawyer Albert Craven brings in Portland, Oregon attorney Joseph Antonelli to defend Jamaal. After hearing Jamaal's story on why he was there and how he ended up with the Senator's wallet, Joseph thinks the youngster is a fall guy. Joseph quickly learns that Fullerton had presidential aspirations and built a cadre of cronies and supporters in the Bay area. A former KGB agent Andrei Bogdonovitch informs Joseph he has damaging information on the senator linking him to his former Soviet employer, but the informant is killed with an office bomb. The trial looks hopeless for the defense unless Joseph can pull off a last second Perry Mason-like miracle.
LEGACY starts off as an incredible legal thriller, but loses steam when it jumps the tracks into a conspiracy tale. The story line is at its best when Joseph investigates the senator and during the trial. The personal side of Joseph that frequents the plot slows down the story line while leaving the attorney not behaving as expected. Though the eyes of the world will pass JUDGMENT that Joseph is a strong egg, the exciting tale seems just off kilter.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner