Kensington, Apr 2001, 23.00, 336 pp.
In the Bay area, former professional football star, Ted Harper and his wife Terri hire attorney Kali O'Brien to expedite an adoption. The teenage single woman Melissa Burke is living with the Harpers until she gives birth. Not her usual case, Kali could use the easy fee and begins to insure all the papers are properly signed including obtaining the signature of the father, Gary Ellis. Melissa gives birth to a healthy girl named Hannah. Case closed.
Case reopened when obnoxious anti feminine radio talk show host Bram Weaver claims to be Hannah's father. He demands the Harpers hand over his child. Kali begins preparation for what seems like a sure shot losing custody battle. However, that preparation changes when the same night that Bram spent a court ordered hour with Hannah, someone kills him. The obvious motive lies with Terri, who already attacked Bram in court, leaving Kali to defend her from a charge of murder one.
WITNESS FOR THE DEFENSE is an exciting legal thriller that twists and turns from a simple adoption to a relatively simple custody case to a complex homicide. Kali in her fourth appearance remains a refreshing attorney. The key secondary players (Harpers, Melissa, and Bram) provide the depth to the story line that turns this into an exhilarating tale. With this legal suspense series and her Kate Austen murder mysteries, Jonnie Jacobs continues to provide some of the best genre entertainment.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner