About the Author
Rose Connors, whose debut novel, Absolute Certainty, won the Mary Higgins Clark Award, grew up in Philadelphia and received her law degree from Duke in 1984. A trial attorney for eighteen years, she's had experience from the prosecutorial and defense sides of the courtroom, and has exasperated any number of judges in both capacities. She is admitted to practice in both Washington State and Massachusetts and lives with her family on Cape Cod, where she is at work on the next Marty Nickerson novel.
Read an Excerpt
"You nailed him, Martha."
I know it's Geraldine Schilling without looking up. She's the only one in the office -- or anywhere else for that matter -- who calls me Martha. Geraldine is the First Assistant District Attorney for Barnstable County, a county that includes all the towns on Cape Cod. She intends to be Barnstable County's next District Attorney, a position no woman has ever held.
"You nailed him. Now let's go in there and finish it."
"I'm ready, Geraldine."
I snap my briefcase shut and gesture for Geraldine to take the only empty seat in my cramped office. "But Judge Carroll released the jurors for lunch. He'll call for closing arguments when they get back."
Geraldine doesn't sit down. She never does. She leans against my old wooden file cabinet instead, pressing a spiked heel against the bottom drawer. She draws hard on her cigarette and rolls her pale green eyes to the ceiling. "Lunch? Who the hell eats lunch?"
There is a widely held belief in our office that Geraldine doesn't eat -- ever. All of us have seen her attend professional luncheons and political dinners, but no one has seen her swallow a morsel of food. Caffeine and nicotine seem to keep her going. She weighs 110 pounds wearing her neatly tailored suit.
Kevin Kydd appears in my doorway, grinning as usual. "I do. I eat lunch. Where are we going, ladies?"
He always makes me laugh. But Geraldine doesn't crack a smile. She shakes her long blond bangs and blows a steady stream of smoke toward the doorway. "Lunch with you, Kydd? I'd sooner starve."
His grin expands. "Ah, Gerry, you're a peach."
Kevin Kydd arrived in our office one year ago, a young Southern gentleman fresh out of Emory Law School in Atlanta, Georgia. He is tall and lanky, with slightly stooped shoulders and a grin that doesn't quit. Geraldine christened him "the Kydd" immediately upon his arrival and the rest of us adopted it. He, in turn, calls her "Gerry," always with the grin. We marvel that he still has a job.
The Kydd ambles in and settles in the chair Geraldine rejected. "How about you, Marty? My treat."
"Thanks, Kydd, but I'll have to pass. I'm expecting Judge Carroll's clerk to call any time now. We're closing Rodriguez this afternoon."
"Mind if I watch?"
The Kydd's question is intended more for Geraldine than for me, but I answer him quickly. "Not a bit."
I remember my early days in this office, handling the traffic offenses and bounced checks that the Kydd is stuck with now, waiting for an opportunity to prosecute a "real" crime. Whenever I could, I watched closing arguments in the more serious cases. I watched Geraldine in action in a number of trials. She doesn't try cases anymore, but she was excellent in her day.
The old black phone on my desk doesn't finish its first ring before I grab it. "Marty Nickerson."
It's Wanda Morgan, Judge Carroll's courtroom clerk. The jury is back; the judge is calling for summations.
I head for the door. The Kydd reaches it before I do, but he pauses to look back at Geraldine, to verify that he has her permission. She blows a smoke ring at him.
"Go ahead," she says. "Maybe you'll learn something."
Copyright © 2002 by Rose Connors
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Right up my alley as far as murder mysteries go. Serial killing. Nothing super suspenseful though. Not predictable.
Marty Nickerson is a dedicated prosecutor for the DA's office on Cape Cod. As this debut novel opens, she is wrapping up a murder case, with absolute certainty that the defendant is guilty. When a similar murder occurs the day after the trial ends, she's still certain that the state has its man. But public defender Harry Madigan, an attorney whom Mary admires, is convinced the opposite is true. The reader is privy to Ms. Nickerson's thought process as she sifts and resifts through evidence, considers and reconsiders, consulting privately with Harry as the situation grows more intense. It has become a trend in recent years to write about professional disillusionment. Author Connors does so with refreshing style, penning terse courtroom segments, office infighting, and family/personal scenes with skill. She needs more work with creating genuine suspense, but three out of four's not bad. Good first effort.
As an assistant D.A., for Massachusetts' Barnstabel County, Marty Nickerson sees her job as a means for doing right. When a jury finds Manuel Rodriguez guilty of a brutal murder committed on a Cape Cod beach at the beginning of last year's tourist season. Marty feels vindicated. But when another body turns up as this year's vacationers begin to arrive and Marty has to wonder. Did they target the wrong man? The D.A. refuses to reopen the high-profile case, but Marty fears that the real killer will strike again. With er career on the line and lives at stake she must rely on her own moral compass, legal savvy, and gut instinct as she matches wits with a twisted killer.