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Chelsea Adams has visions. But they have no place in a courtroom. As a juror for a murder trial, Chelsea must rely only on the evidence. And this circumstantial evidence is strong—Darren Welk killed his wife. Or did he? The trial is a nightmare for Chelsea. The other jurors belittle her Christian faith. As testimony unfolds, truth and secrets blur. Chelsea’s visiting niece stumbles into peril surrounding the case, and Chelsea cannot protect her. God sends visions—frightening, vivid. But what do they mean? Even as...
Chelsea Adams has visions. But they have no place in a courtroom. As a juror for a murder trial, Chelsea must rely only on the evidence. And this circumstantial evidence is strong—Darren Welk killed his wife. Or did he? The trial is a nightmare for Chelsea. The other jurors belittle her Christian faith. As testimony unfolds, truth and secrets blur. Chelsea’s visiting niece stumbles into peril surrounding the case, and Chelsea cannot protect her. God sends visions—frightening, vivid. But what do they mean? Even as Chelsea finds out, what can she do? She is helpless, and danger is closing in. . . . Masterfully crafted, Dread Champion is a novel in which appearances can deceive and the unknown can transform the meaning of known facts. One man’s guilt or innocence is just a single link in a chain of hidden evil . . . and God uses the unlikeliest of people to accomplish his purposes.
In the prosecutor's seat behind the counsel table, Stan held his arm out from his side, rotating it at the elbow. Then rubbed the pressure point in his neck. Not even through with jury selection yet, and just look at him. Today's panel of potential jurors had been the lousiest he'd ever seen, and apparently the worst was yet to come in the search for the second and final alternate.
The courtroom door opened behind Stan. He resisted the urge to look back, although both defense attorneys did so. With such pleasant faces, he might add. Stan worked to keep his own expression as pleasant as possible. He was well aware of the twelve jury members and first alternate already seated in the jury box, watching the attorneys' moves with morbid curiosity.
"Come on in, folks," Judge Carol Chanson greeted the last two stragglers as a bailiff led them in. "I know it's been a long day for you. If you'll have a seat at the end of the first row in the jury box, I'll explain how we might need you." Stan's eyes darted to the two people taking their seats. One very impatient-looking man. And a knockout of a woman in her mid-thirties. Shoulder-length, cinnamon-colored hair and matching eyes. Clear skin and a trim figure, well fitted into an expensive-looking green silk shirt and off-white, belted pants. She fairly oozed grace and intelligence. Stan's heart sank.
Chelsea Adams looked even worse than he'd imagined. Quickly he shuffled papers before him. Anything to keep from staring at her. He wondered if T. C., as he privately called lead defense attorney Terrance Clyde, or his sidekick, Erica Salvador, had any hint of who this woman was. As fate would have it, the defense shared the same sinking boat with Stan--they'd used the last of their preemptory challenges allotted for alternates. Stan almost smirked. Nice little irony to their demanding a change of venue. Monterey County had its share of eccentrics, but it would have had to work mighty hard to spit out a sample the likes of this woman.
Knowing T. C., he'd probably used one of the minions on his fat payroll to run a check on the names of summoned people as soon as the attorneys received their lists that morning. All by his lonesome, Stan had wheedled help from a gum-snapping secretary in the district attorney's office. With rolling eyes, she'd finally agreed to check his list against the criminal clerk's records, finding out which people had previously served on a jury. But of course that's not how he'd heard the stuff on Chelsea Adams. Rather it was the I-know- something-you-don't-know look on the face of some deputy D.A. he'd run into during break just fifteen minutes ago. Someone in county records had noticed an infamous name on the list and had said something to her coworker, who'd said something to someone else, who'd run into said deputy D.A. during lunch hour.
As in every county, gossip was alive and well within the courthouse walls. Stan had heard an earful and reentered the courtroom with rising panic.
Stan rubbed his arm, wincing. So what? At the very worst, the woman would only be second and final alternate. If she got past his questioning at all, which she wouldn't.
Judge Chanson slid on her gold-rimmed reading glasses and, for the benefit of the newly arrived, began to read the complaint against the defendant. That in The People vs. Welk, Darren Wayne Welk was charged with second-degree murder under Penal Code Section 187, yada, yada. Stan forced his eyes to the judge, barely hearing her words. Not that he needed to. He'd heard them at least two dozen times since that morning, every time a new batch of potential jurors had entered the courtroom.
"Okay." Judge Chanson exchanged one paper for another, her glasses still perched on her nose. The ends were attached to a purple chain around her ample neck. Her salt-and-pepper hair was cut short, leaving nothing to frame her double chin. "First we have Greg Seecham. Mr. Breckshire?"
You're my boy, Greg, thought Stan as he pushed back from the table, automatically pulling his tie. He hustled to the podium that faced the jury, making eye contact with Mr. Seecham. "Good afternoon." The guy looked almost too good to be true. A yuppie white businessman, every prosecutor's dream. Brown hair perfectly coifed; the drawn, beleaguered face of stressful success; and a designer suit--right down to the magenta power tie. Stan knew that yuppies tended to fear crime, be fiercely protective of their property, and usually hadn't suffered enough to be sympathetic to some defendant. Unfortunately, the man also brimmed with impatience, obviously not happy at missing a full day at the office. Stan opened his mouth to begin questioning, hoping against hope that Seecham wouldn't claim work hardship.
"Your Honor, I have a real problem with staying." Seecham addressed the judge as if Stan weren't there. "Since I received my summons, things have now changed at my start-up software company, and I'm the only one there who can . . ."
Uh-uh, too late for a sob story. It was the end of the day and every-one was tired. Besides, these two were it for the panel. No one wanted to wait for another group to be called.
"Let's talk about this, Mr. Seecham," Stan pushed in before the judge could reply. "Court usually ends around five o'clock, and this case is only expected to take about two weeks. Can you manage to work in the evenings just for that long?"
"No way; that's not enough time!" the man replied, as if the mere thought were ludicrous.
"Well, is there a coworker who can fill in for you?" "No. As I said, I'm the only one who knows how to run the place."
"And the staff can't do without you for just a few days? Surely you have a cell phone. You could check in during breaks."
Seecham's face compressed. "I can't run the office from a courtroom. We're right in the middle of some very important projects, and I have to be there all day."
"Could you possibly--"
Posted August 3, 2004
This book was spectacular! It kept me on my toes from beginning to finish. I couldn't put it down. Brandilyn Collins is truely an amazing author. I've already read her other series, and I would definitely recommend that as well. I can't wait to read more from her!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 3, 2009
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