Suspicion of Malice

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In the fifth title in the Suspicion series, Suspicion of Malice, Gail and Anthony have recently broken up and find themselves on opposite sides of a tangled case when Anthony’s teenage daughter comes to Gail to defend her boyfriend in a capital murder case. Gail takes the case, expecting to have easy access to a reluctant but nonetheless available exonerating witness—until she meets her witness’s lawyer, Anthony Quintana. The personal and professional passions run high, with a young man’s life on the line ...

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Suspicion of Malice

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In the fifth title in the Suspicion series, Suspicion of Malice, Gail and Anthony have recently broken up and find themselves on opposite sides of a tangled case when Anthony’s teenage daughter comes to Gail to defend her boyfriend in a capital murder case. Gail takes the case, expecting to have easy access to a reluctant but nonetheless available exonerating witness—until she meets her witness’s lawyer, Anthony Quintana. The personal and professional passions run high, with a young man’s life on the line and conflict of interest in the air.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Malice, Murder, and Mayhem

For fans of the Suspicion mystery series by Edgar nominee Barbara Parker, there is good news. The next book in the series, Suspicion of Malice, is here, and it's the most riveting one yet. As a former state prosecutor for Dade County, Florida, Parker's keen grasp of the politics and subtleties involved in the practice of law is obvious in her books and is a large part of their appeal. But her strongest suit is her ability to pull readers into the lives of two of the most complex and fascinating characters to come down the pike in years -- lawyers Anthony Quintana and Gail Connor.

In the last book, Suspicion of Betrayal, Connor and Quintana had a major blowup and broke off their engagement. Anthony spent some time in Spain, while Gail remained in Miami to try to mend her broken heart, resuscitate her law practice, and raise her preadolescent daughter. Though determined to put Anthony as far behind her as possible, Gail finds the fates have something else in mind. She is approached by Anthony's teenage daughter, Angela, who begs Gail to defend her boyfriend, Bobby Gonzales, a talented young ballet dancer and the prime suspect in a murder case.

The murder victim is Roger Cresswell, one of the heirs apparent in the wealthy, yacht-building Cresswell family. Apparently Roger and Bobby had a falling-out, and their heated exchange was witnessed by several people, making Bobby the lead suspect. Plus, an altercation that led to Roger's bloody nose has left Bobby with a shirt that has the dead man's blood on it. Bobby gets a momentary reprieve when it's discovered he has an alibi -- two of them, in fact. But the reprieve doesn't last long. One of the alibis, a high-profile judge up for election, attended the same party Bobby did on the night of the murder, but won't admit to being there. Much to Gail's dismay, the judge's determination is supported by his lawyer, none other than Anthony Quintana. To make matters worse, the second half of Bobby's alibi is Quintana's daughter, who has been forbidden by her father to see Bobby.

Caught in the middle and struggling to deal with her own issues, Gail reluctantly accepts Anthony's help, realizing that a criminal murder case is a bit outside her realm of experience. Together they take a closer look at the eccentric and powerful Cresswells, a family with too much money, too few morals, and a whole truckload of dark secrets they'd rather not expose. But Gail has a secret of her own, one she is reluctant to share with Anthony, knowing he'll be angry and unsure herself just what it means. Yet it's a secret that must come out eventually. And when it does, it will have a devastating impact on both of their lives.

As Anthony and Gail close in on the killer, they also close in on their shared emotions. There is much hurt to overcome and hefty walls to tear down, but there is no denying that they still have strong feelings for each other. When the killer is at long last revealed and Gail is targeted as a victim, it will force these two lovers to face some painful and tragic facts.

One of Parker's greatest strengths is her character development. The relationship between Gail and Anthony is every bit as riveting as the race to find a killer. And certain members of the Cresswell family are as twisted and corrupt as they come. Parker's talents at plotting make it hard to tell just which characters are the worst, as each one weaves a web of lies -- some for altruistic reasons, others for purely selfish ones. Unraveling this sticky web of half-truths is only part of the fun. Watching two proud, passionate, and stubborn lovers try to mend the rent fabric of their own lives is an equal joy. It's Parker's ability to keep these characters interesting and fresh that assures this series a long and successful future.

—Beth Amos

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
Gail Connor is back for another "nice, tidy" suspenseful tale - this time she's defending her daughter's boyfriend in a murder case that depends upon the testimony of a reluctant alibi witness - Connor's former boyfriend, with whom she has "explosive chemistry." "Miami is as much a character in this book as the protagonist, the heat in both kept me reading." For others, it was "impossible to read unless you've read the other books in the series." "Hard to follow without a Playbill."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Florida attorney Parker has produced a new installment in her series of legal thrillers that feature Miami lawyers Gail Connor and Anthony Quintana. Since the previous novel (Suspicion of Betrayal), Gail has split up with her Cuban-born lover, the rich and sleek Quintana. But events conspire to throw them together again when Roger Creswell, the heir to a yacht-building fortune, is shot dead during a wild party. Bobby Gonzalez, a dancer with the Miami City Ballet, is the prime suspect in the murder. Despite her father's opposition, Anthony's teenage daughter, Angela, is taking dance lessons with the ballet company. Having fallen in love with Bobby, Angela asks Gail to help exonerate him. Meanwhile, Anthony is investigating the murder on behalf of a friend of the victim's family. As in her earlier mysteries, Parker serves up an enticing plate of murder and intrigue baked by the hot Florida sun. Gail and Anthony generate more heat and sexual tension, while the painful history of Anthony's Cuban family adds poignancy. This fast-paced story may get overly dramatic at times, but that's more than made up for by its inspired mix of sexy love story, sulky teenagers, family feuds and secrets, dramatic contrasts between different cultures and sharp outbreaks of murder and mayhem. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Once again, Parker brings together attorneys Gail Connor and Anthony Quintana in a novel of suspense set in beautiful Miami. Her ability to weave strands of intrigue and deception are flawless, guiding the reader's search for the real murderer of Roger Cresswell, heir to the family yacht-building business. Parker fans will remember that in her last novel, Suspicion of Betrayal, Connor and Quintana had just broken off their engagement and were trying to recover their separate lives. However, this novel brings them face to face again, with each defending a client they feel is innocent. Will their reunion in court spark one outside? Parker keeps you turning the pages to find the answer to this question and many others. Recommended for all public libraries.--Stacey Reasor, ITT Technical Inst., Tampa, FL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
Miami lawyer Gail Connor squares off against her ex-fiancé Anthony Quintana in the fifth volume of this interchangeably titled series (Suspicion of Betrayal, 1999, etc.). After Roger Cresswell, do-nothing Executive VP of Cresswell Yachts, is shot dead in the middle of a spirited party on the family estate, Gail's old nemesis Sgt. Frank Britton naturally overlooks all the family members present to fix on Bobby Gonzalez, East Harlem tough guy/ballet dancer, who was working at the party even though Roger had just fired him from his job at the boating yard. Bobby's girlfriend Angela Quintana swears that he couldn't have been the killer, but she doesn't want to tell her old-world father that part of Bobby's alibi depends on her. So Gail goes instead after the rest of Bobby's alibi, Nate Harris, a criminal judge he talked to at the party, and finds that (1) Harris, hopeful of a job on the federal bench, doesn't want to tell the cops he was smoking weed with this kid; and (2) doggone if Harris isn't Anthony Quintana's friend and client as well. It's a lucky thing that Angela and the judge give Gail and Anthony grounds for endless skirmishes, because the real suspects are a dull lot: Roger's gold-digging widow Nikki; his parents Claire and Porter (the stuffy company president); Porter's brother Dub (director of sales) and his wife Elizabeth; Dub's and Liz's children Sean and Diane (the only Cresswell with an ounce of decency, outsiders maintain); and Claire's nephew, low-end art dealer Jack Pascoe. Longtime fans will know enough to forget the family's dueling alibis and canned secrets, which recall Agatha Christie atherweariest, and focus on Gail and Anthony as they revisit the gender battles of the '70s —or the Neanderthal Era. Sadly, the killer's revealed just as the lovers have resolved their differences. The last thirty pages might as well be blank.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497639195
  • Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media LLC
  • Publication date: 7/22/2014
  • Series: Suspicion Series, #5
  • Pages: 326
  • Sales rank: 1,370,944
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Parker was trained as a lawyer and worked as a prosecutor with the state attorney’s office in Dade County, Florida, before moving into a private practice that specialized in real estate and family law. Parker earned a master’s degree in creative writing in 1993. Her first legal thriller was Suspicion of Innocence, published in 1994, which was followed by another seven titles in the series featuring her two lawyer protagonists, and sometime lovers Gail Connor and Anthony Quintana. While writing the series, she also produced Criminal JusticeBlood RelationsThe Perfect Fake, and The Dark of DaySuspicion of Innocence was a finalist for the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Two of her titles, Suspicion of Deceit and Suspicion of Betrayal were New York Times bestsellers. Barbara Parker died in March 2009, at age sixty-two.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was the dog that awakened her, the strange noises he made. A yelping whine, then a bark. Then nothing, and she drifted back to sleep with the soft whirr of the air conditioner. Rain tapped on the roof of the cottage, and dim light came through the window. Then the barking started up again.

    Diane thought Jack might come down from the house and see about it, because after all, Buddy was his damned dog. She remembered that Jack had thrown a parry last night, and he'd been happily drunk when she'd gotten home at midnight. It had been three in the morning before the music and laughter had quieted down.

    Roof-roof-roof. Roof-roof. Hyeeeeeeee—

    Diane shoved the pillow off her head and squinted at her clock. 6:45. "Oh, great." In plaid boxers and a camisole, she stumbled out onto the small wooden porch. Nothing stirred in the yard. All she could see of Jack's house was some white clapboard and the steps to the screened porch. In the other direction, past the mildewing seawall, lower Biscayne Bay gleamed as dully as an old nickel.

    No dog anywhere in sight. "Stupid mutt."

    A walkway ran across the yard, vanishing under a cedar trellis and into a thick stand of palm trees. He was in there. Roof-roof. Roof.

    "Buddy! Come!" What was he doing? Diane thought of bufo toads—huge, slimy creatures with poisonous skin. Buddy would taste anything. She ran down the steps and across the yard, then under the trellis. Vines decades old kept out the rain, and the light dimmed. Dead leavesstuck to her bare feet. There was a fountain farther on, and Diane could hear it. The path turned, then opened up to a semicircle of teak benches, beds of bromeliads, and hanging baskets of orchids.

    Jack's black Lab stood right in the middle of the path. He turned his head and looked at her, and his tail wagged. Diane came closer, then stopped. There was something just past him. The low, overcast sun barely penetrated the shade, and the thing—whatever it was—lay halfway under some bushes. Gradually the details became clear. A man's legs in tan slacks, feet pointing upward. An arm.

    Barking, the dog loped toward her. Diane stumbled, caught herself, and raced back the way she had come, along the path, under the trellis, and across the wet grass to Jack's house, then up the steps. Her hair fell from its knot and into her eyes. Buddy danced in circles around her. She flung open the screen door, leaving him in the yard.

    A spare key was hidden in a conch shell. She retrieved it in trembling fingers and jammed it into the lock. The back door opened into the kitchen. "Jack! Jack!" She ran through the hall, slipping as she rounded the corner. Dim light came from a globe held aloft by a bronze nude.

    "Jack!" Her feet thudded up the stairs. "Jack, get up!"

    His door swung open and Jack came out in old hiking shorts. "I'm up! What in the name of God's little angels is going on?" He was pulling a faded green T-shirt down over his belly. His eyes were puffy, and his big sandy mustache was turned up on one end, down on the other.

    "There's a man by the fountain. On the path—oh, my God, Jack—he's dead. I heard Buddy barking, and I went to see—" Diane steadied herself on Jack's shoulder. "And there was a man lying on the ground. I think he's dead."

    "What do you mean, dead?"

    "I mean not breathing, Jack! Not moving."

    "Maybe he's sleeping."

    "No! Buddy's been barking forever."

    "Well, who is it?"

    "I don't know! I was afraid to look!"

    "Calm down." Jack rubbed his face. "My. How inconsiderate, right in my backyard. He's probably asleep. Wait for me downstairs. I'm going to get some shoes on."

    "Do you want me to call the police?"

    "No. If you want to be helpful, ma petite, go make some coffee."

    The door closed. Diane heard a woman's voice. Then Jack's low murmur. A few seconds later he came out in his old leather boat shoes. The door closed, but not soon enough to cut off a view of tangled red hair and a sheet clutched to somebody's breasts.

    Jack's stern glance admonished Diane for not being downstairs already. At the landing she whispered, "That was Nikki."

    "Shhh. You saw nothing, child." He nudged her along.

    Jack looked out the kitchen window as if the wild landscaping would part and reveal whatever was there. He held aside the curtain with one hand and with the other twirled the ends of his big mustache into points.

    "I had hoped, on this drizzly Sunday, to spend the day in the sack. No hope of that now." He dropped the curtain. "If my guest ventures downstairs, tell her to stay in the house. I'll go have a look-see."

    "What about the coffee?"

    "Of course. Start the coffee—not that I need it after this jolt."

    Jack pushed open the back door. The dog rose from the mat, and its swaying tail tipped over a beer bottle. More of them littered the porch. The ashtrays were full, and a roach clip lay on a side table. Dead? Dead drunk was more like it. Guests had occasionally been found in the yard, sleeping it off, but not, he had to admit, this time of year, not with mosquitos chewing on exposed flesh and humidity so high one could work up a sweat breathing.

    The drizzle was turning to rain. Jack touched his .38 snub-nose through his pocket. The neighborhood was generally safe, and he didn't expect to see any strangers, conscious or otherwise, but one never knew. Buddy trotted along beside him.

    The main walkway from the house, paved with old keystone, arrowed to the seawall and a boathouse, where Jack kept his fishing boat raised on davits. Stepping-stones curved left toward the cottage, and another path meandered through a collection of rare plants and palm trees to the grotto. That had been his cousin Maggie's mad creation. She had piled up coral rocks and studded them with tacky Florida souvenirs, then set a bronze manatee on its tail. The sea cow's hippo-like mouth spurted water into a pond where fat carp wove among purple swamp lilies.

    Jack could hear the splash of water as he took the path under the trellis. It blocked the rain, and intermittent drops spattered onto the keystone. Jack swept a spider web off his face. Then he saw it—a man's legs and feet. White canvas deck shoes with leather laces. Khaki pants, soiled with dirt and bits of rotten leaves. The rest of the man lay just beyond a clump of elephant-ear philodendron.

    "Hey!" Jack knew already, but called out, "Wake up!"

    Drops of water fell from the trellis onto a philodendron leaf, which moved slightly, as if shuddering. Buddy whined through his nose. Jack pointed toward the house. "Go home!" The dog circled, panting and wagging his tail.

    Walking closer, Jack felt a sharp crunch under his shoe—a snail, smashed like a tiny brown porcelain cup. Slime trails crisscrossed the path. Standing alongside the man's thighs, Jack slowly peered around the huge leaves of the philodendron, holding the edge of one to pull it aside. He saw the other arm—muscled, golden-haired—and at the end of it a hand covered in blood. The shattered bones of the wrist gleamed purplish through the skin.

    Without his volition, Jack's eyes traveled upward, quickly taking in details that mounted in horrific impact. A torso in a white knit shirt, neat little red holes in it. And so much blood. Not on the shirt. On the face. The left half was bathed in red, and streaks of it ran into the man's ear and matted his hair. One blue eye gazed upward. The other was a pulpy mass of glimmering black. It seemed to be moving. Then Jack saw the ants. Swarms of them.

    "Oh, sweet Jesus," he moaned, letting go of the leaf, which gaily bobbed and dipped. Hands on knees, he waited for the dizziness to pass, then stood up. "Buddy, come!" His voice cracked.

    Walking slowly through the rain, he gathered his thoughts. Water dripped off his eyebrows and chin, and his T-shirt clung to his back. Diane was on the porch. She pulled open the screen door, and her eyes took him in, finding the answer. She whispered, "He's dead, isn't he?"

    Jack went inside, shaking his head when she asked who it was. He grabbed a dishtowel and ran it over his face and neck. The smell of coffee filled the kitchen, but he had no taste for it.

    Nikki sat at the table, green eyes open wide. Jack absently smoothed his mustache and stared across the kitchen.

    Diane spoke again. "Jack? Who is it?"

    He beckoned to Nikki. "Come with me into the study for a sec. Diane, be a good girl and tidy up the back porch, will you? Don't go anywhere. I won't be long."

    He took Nikki down the hall, their footsteps reduced to soft thuds on an ancient oriental carpet gone to threads at the edges. The house was too cold. He had turned the air conditioner down to sixty-something before Nikki had slid into bed, giggling. In the study, gray light filtered through wooden blinds.

    "What is going on, Jack? Say something. What happened out there? Somebody died?" Her glossy pink mouth was open.

    He set his hands firmly on her shoulders. "I want you to be very calm. Can you do that?" Nikki nodded. "It's Roger. He's been shot."

    She stared, then blinked. "Roger? Roger is ... dead?" She dropped onto the sofa. "Oh, my God."

    He sat beside her. "This is a mess, baby."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 16, 2011

    Highly recommended

    I was really hooked after reading the first book in this series. I subsequently have read the entire series and really enjoyed reading about the main characters - Gail and Anthony and their families and how their relationship progressed. Great stuff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2001

    Do yourself a favor, and map the Cresswell family tree before you get too far into the book

    This is the second Gail Connor/Anthony Quintana novel I've read (the other was Suspicion of Betrayal), and once again this book was fast-paced, suspenseful, and not at all predictable. Having read Suspicion of Betrayal helped A LOT to understand the subtext of the romantic relationship between Gail and the oh-so-sexy Anthony, so I would definitely recommend reading the books in order. As for Suspicion of Malice, I found it hard to get into at first, simply because the Cresswell family tree is not at all intuitive. Even now, after having read the book, I'm not sure I could draw it correctly. Aside from this though, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read..something you can read in a matter of 2-3 days and enjoy every hour.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2001



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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2000

    I love Gail and Anthony

    The book is GREAT!!! I enjoyed it so much, we need another one(as long as they stay together). I want to see them married. Thank you for keeping the storeyline interesting!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2005

    More Miami Thrills !

    I had been waiting for this sequel to see what happened to Gail and Quintana, so if you were curious, too, your answers have arrived! I won't spoil that part, but there is a good mystery involving a death in a wealthy family and the involvement of a young dancer (in love with Quintana's daughter). One can almost feel the heat of the humid Florida city -- and there is plenty of passion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2000

    The best in the series

    I have read all of the books in this series and in my opinion this is the best yet. The author is successful in making Gail and Anthony's relationship very real to us readers. Not only that, but the book does a very good job at not getting sidetracked by just dealing with their relationship, the suspense plot-line keeps you interested as well. Very good read!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent series entry

    Once they were lovers planning to marry until Anthony Quintana turned his back on his obligation to the law, forcing Gail Connor to walk out on him. He went to Spain to forget his feeling of betrayal while she remained in Miami just as determined to overcome her feeling of deceit. She started to make a life for herself and her daughter from a previous relationship. Unbeknownst to Anthony when he left her, Gail was pregnant with his child. <P>A chance encounter with Anthony¿s eighteen-year old daughter Angela results in Gail accepting the teen¿s boyfriend Bobby as a client. Bobby, who has been previously convicted of some petty criminal activity, is suspected of killing Roger Cresswell, owner of Cresswell Yachts, who fired the lad for allegedly stealing. One person who Bobby insists can provide him with an alibi and prove he is not guilty is Judge Nathan Harris, a person under consideration for an appointment to the US District Court. Heeding the advice of his attorney, Nathan sends his lawyer Anthony to deal with Gail. As the two former lovers closely work together to prove Bobby¿s innocence, their relationship flares to life once again. <P>As suspense novels go, the Connor-Quintana novels rank with the best ones, but SUSPICION OIF MALICE provides the audience much more than an exciting legal thriller. The tale is a relationship drama that will remind readers of the works of Delinsky and Siddons. The investigation is fascinating but the heart and soul of the tale rests in the relationship between Gail and Anthony, two obstinate but compatible individuals. Barbara Parker shows much talent in this exciting thriller has cross-genre appeal. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2011

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    Posted February 8, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2011

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