Five Star, Oct 2004, 25.95, 334 pp.
Tom Tully, a former football player turned Virginia Squires Special Teams coach, hires attorney Albert “Agent Orange” Garfield to arrange for his divorce of his wife Serena because he knows she is cheating on him. Tom ignores the fact that he has always cheated on her as he wants her blitzed into total collapse and surrender.
Albert appears before a judge without his wife being present in the courtroom. He persuades the judge that Serena is dangerous to her spouse and their two small children, six years old Tom Junior and four years old Tina. He cuts her off from her home, funds, and friends with a smear campaign. The only setback is the assignment of honest forensic psychologist Dr. Morgan Reece to evaluate what is best for the two children. Reece will find himself in the midst of a brutal precision operation to annihilate Serena regardless of the cost to two preadolescent children. If Tom loses a battle, he could go over the edge killing everyone.
This is a dark legal thriller not for everyone. The plot showcases how far a law firm will go to spin “facts” in support of their client without regard to what they are doing to innocent children or the truth (sounds like a political campaign). The grim story line also paints a gloomy picture of family values. Tom is violently crazy while Serena is a distraught victim with no way to defend herself; Reece is a terrific psychologist struggling to stay neutral, but finds himself more in Serena's corner as much for the kids' sake as for the continuous attacks on her life. He is unaware that by leaning in her direction he jeopardizes his life.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner