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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
According to the publisher, Terry Devane is the pseudonym of a well-known, award-winning novelist, a fact that should come as no surprise, because Uncommon Justice is a crisply written, cleanly constructed entertainment, the clear product of a seasoned professional.
Devane's appealing heroine is fledgling attorney Mairead O'Clare. Mairead, who was raised in an orphanage and suffers from hemangioma -- extensive birthmarks covering her hands and wrists -- is a lawyer imbued with a sense of mission. Dissatisfied with the soulless mechanics of her current position, she walks out on her prestigious Boston law firm to work with eccentric, low-rent criminal defense attorney Sheldon Gold, a first-rate lawyer with a tragic personal history.
Almost immediately, Mairead and Gold find themselves embroiled in a complex murder trial in which a homeless man -- a "Celtic Hermit" known only as Alpha -- stands accused of murdering a fellow member of Boston's homeless community. The case against Alpha seems, at first, to be open-and-shut, but subsequent investigation reveals hidden connections to a number of potential suspects. Included among them are a trio of privileged college kids, a wealthy, upper-crust environmentalist, and the owner of an overextended construction firm. The trial serves as Mairead's baptism of fire, and it leads, in the end, to an uncommon form of justice, and to the related discovery of an earlier, carefully concealed murder.
Ultimately, Uncommon Justice is notable less for its central plot, which is serviceable and quietly engrossing, than for its vivid evocation of Boston and its credible array of highly individualized characters. Mairead herself is an immensely likeable heroine, a woman with guts, brains, and spirit. Her mentor, Sheldon Gold, is a colorful, convincing guide to the intricacies of the American legal system. And the supporting cast, which includes Gold's feisty, driven secretary, Billie Sunday, and a gay private investigator named Pontifico Murizzi, is constructed with care, affection, and unobtrusive skill. Whoever Terry Devane may be, he (or she) knows how to deliver a satisfying legal thriller. (Bill Sheehan)
Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, has been published by Subterranean Press (www.subterraneanpress.com).