Attorney Barbara Holloway has taken on the sort of cases no one else wants - hopeless messes, all of them - and with the help of her father, Frank, she has pulled through each time. But even from the start, this new case is different. Mitch Arno always meant bad news for the coastal town of Folsum, Oregon. When they ran him out of town seventeen years ago, he left behind a wife with two daughters and a family that never wanted to see him again. When he returns, he brings trouble in the form of a lot of suspicious...
Attorney Barbara Holloway has taken on the sort of cases no one else wants - hopeless messes, all of them - and with the help of her father, Frank, she has pulled through each time. But even from the start, this new case is different. Mitch Arno always meant bad news for the coastal town of Folsum, Oregon. When they ran him out of town seventeen years ago, he left behind a wife with two daughters and a family that never wanted to see him again. When he returns, he brings trouble in the form of a lot of suspicious money. As Barbara attempts to counsel Mitch's wife about the money, a second form of trouble arrives: a corpse, Mitch's. And now Barbara is in a morass of conflicting interests, and the only way out could lead her straight into the arms of the devil.
Mitch Arno is a spouse abuser, small-time thug, and general ne'er-do-well. When he trashes wife Maggie's cozy Oregon B&B after his latest "job," she kicks him out, and he heads for his brother's house. Meanwhile, Maggie turns to attorneys Barbara Holloway and her father, Frank, to get a restraining order against Mitch and file for damages. Then Mitch turns up dead, and brother Ray is arrested for murder. Maggie persuades Barbara to defend Ray, placing her and her father in the middle of a deadly web of deception and greed involving the theft of a valuable computer code, a senator's opportunistic wife, and a software tycoon who wants to settle the matter with a gun. Wilhelm (The Good Children, LJ 2/1/98) is a masterful storyteller whose novels have just the right blend of solid plot, compelling mystery, and great courtroom drama. Barbara and Frank Holloway are a likable team whose work in this latest case will leave readers begging for more. Highly recommended.--Susan Clifford, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA
Murder once again conceals a host of even dirtier secrets in this latest case for Oregon attorney Barbara Holloway (Malice Prepense, 1996, etc.). Seventeen years after he returned to his teenaged wife Maggie only to beat and rape her and abandon her and her baby again, Mitch Arno has come back once more. But this time he's the one who's beaten. Hours after he blusters his way back into Maggie Folsum's life, Mitch is dead, tortured to death, presumably, by someone who was interested in the contents of the suitcase ($$$$) and briefcase (something potentially even more valuable) that he brought all the way from Miami to Eugene. Barbara, agreeing to act for Maggie, maneuvers adroitly among Russ Major (the software developer whose property is in the briefcase), R.M. Palmer (the urbane businessman who's had Major's property hijacked), and the authorities (who would impound the money as part of Mitch's estate if they knew the story behind it), winning a belated $210,000 in child support for her client by playing the players off against each other. Meantime, though, the clueless D.A. arrests Mitch's brother Ray for his murder, and Barbara, who can't defend Ray because of looming conflicts of interest, has to watch from the sidelines while a spineless lawyer runs his case into the ground. Anybody who's not with the justice system will see where the guilt lies hundreds of pages in advance; Barbara's challenge here instead is to puncture the airtight case against Ray Arno, rout the apparently unstoppable forces of evil, and keep her father and partner Frank and her lover John Mureau from danger. She manages all this and more with the barely-legal dexterity of the early Perry Mason. Despite theoften faceless characters-Ray's wife, for instance, is a cipher, and Ray himself barely more-Wilhelm's skill in spinning out endless complications while keeping every subplot perfectly clear makes this legal thriller her best in years. .