Blind Spot

Blind Spot

by Stephanie Kane


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553763461
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/03/2000
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,202,227
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Stephanie Kane is the author of Quiet Time, Blind Spot, Seeds of Doubt, and Extreme Indifference. 

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

No more date rapes, Jackie Flowers swore as she flung her bomber jacket over a chair and kicked her briefcase under her desk. No matter who called or how big the retainer. Slipping off her hiking boots, she closed her eyes and tried to block out everything but the sound of the copy machine down the hall. When all extraneous stimuli had been reduced to a rhythmic whoosh and thump, the image behind her eyelids began to take form and she switched on her microcassette to record her impressions of the witnesses she'd interviewed in Boulder. Having found the missing piece to her client's defense, she wasn't about to lose it. "Courtney Briggs, eighteen, freshman from Grand Junction . . ." Elfin face and ragged cuticles, the little match girl staring through the window as the banker carved the Christmas goose. But the setting was an ivy-covered sorority house on the University of Colorado campus and not a fairy tale. . . . The phone rang two doors down and a burst of laughter from the estate planner across the hall sent the match girl scurrying back into the cold. Concentration shot, Jackie padded across the floor to the window. Her second-floor office was one of the smaller units in the converted mansion of a silver baron who'd gone bust a century before. The suites on the first floor had bars on the glass, and when you looked out you were as likely to catch a man urinating against the dumpster in the parking lot as a whiff of lilac and forsythia. The mansion on Denver's Capitol Hill was now home to a band of solo practitioners who enjoyed an easy camaraderie no downtown sweatshop could match. And far fewer financial entanglements. Gazing across the street at the egg-carton high-rise that partially obstructed her view of the mountains, Jackie spotted one of the few reliable signs of spring: dusty ficuses and elephant ferns crowding the screened balconies, hauled outside to bask in the sun. But the brilliant rays masked a nip to the air and the trees couldn't decide whether to trust the calendar. Three inches of wet snow had fallen earlier in the week, and the cherry blossoms outside the window had turned to wax. In her own yard the dwarf irises had come and gone, the crocuses that pushed through the earth in March like grape and lemon lollipops were but a memory, and now the daffodils were struggling to . . . With a sigh she realized she was projecting her own ambivalence about the date-rape case onto the weather. Spring storms always threw her. Back at her desk, she unsnapped the waistband of her stone-washed designer jeans and flexed her toes in the Ragg socks she hadn't worn since college. Regression had paid off; Courtney Briggs's sorority sisters had told her everything she needed to know.

Or, more accurately, shown her. Prom queens though they may have been in high school, these children with their professional manicures and cover-girl smiles were nonetheless novices at the art of deception. A dip of the chin and sudden hesitation, the momentary drop in pitch—Jackie caught it all and was about to memorialize every gesture and phrase to use against them if any of them pulled a one-eighty on the stand. Freeing her honey-colored mane from its leopard-print scrunchie, she punched the rewind button and started over. "
Courtney Briggs, a very young eighteen, at the Delta Kappa—" "Cute outfit. Takes me back to a place I never was." The smell of freshly brewed coffee hit Jackie before she looked up. Pilar Perez, built like a desktop computer but four times more efficient, gazed enviously at the getup that made her boss appear no older than the girls half her age she'd gone to Boulder to meet. "Figure out your opening statement yet?" "Peer pressure." The coffee's earthy scent dispelled the vision of bloodred nails and perfect teeth. "Too bad they can't charge Courtney's sorority sisters." As Jackie gratefully sipped her coffee, the afternoon sun embraced her wall of books in its mandarin glow. AmJur legal treatises with pebbled covers the color of jade, maroon Colorado statutes with gold lettering across fat spines, an entire set of calfskin Colorado Reporters she'd bought at auction from a law firm that rode the energy boom of the early '80s to crash just as spectacularly a decade later. A fitting library for the long-dead silver baron. Like her own immaculate desk, those rows of books provided a queer comfort. "Gonna knock off a bank with Vinnie and the boys?" Jackie asked Pilar. In her man-tailored pinstriped suit and snap-brim hat, her fifty-five-year-old investigator resembled a Mafia don. "Just drinks with that silver fox from Dispatch," Pilar replied. "Maybe place a couple bets at the dog track. He got paid today, sky's the limit." "I thought he was history." "Springtime in the Rockies." Pilar treated Jackie to a lewd wink. "

Speaking of which, when's the last time you had a date?" "Longer ago than either of us can remember." They both laughed, and Pilar switched on the television set on the shelf behind Jackie's desk. The Channel 9 logo flashed across the screen, quickly replaced by the five-o'clock anchorwoman. The generic blonde who'd almost been canned the year before for pronouncing "Deutschemark" as if it were a feminine hygiene product. "I hate to be rude," Jackie began, "but I've got to dictate my—" "Haven't you heard?" "Heard what? I've been in Boulder all day, squeezing blood from adolescent barracudas—" "Shush!" Pilar turned up the volume. "They found the body of that woman from Castle Pines. You know, the divorcée . . ." The story had made every edition of the papers and each nightly broadcast for the better part of a week. It had all the right ingredients: ex-wife of a wealthy developer, abducted without a trace from her home off the fifth hole of the most exclusive golf course in the state. Nothing stolen, no enemies or ransom note. Every clerk at the supermarket checkout stands had a theory, and there was nothing Pilar relished more than sinking her teeth into a juicy murder. The camera moved in for a close-up of three squad cars beetled nose-in by the railroad tracks, then cut to a cluster of uniformed men kneeling over something in a slushy patch between two fences a hundred yards away. "—Rae Malone," the man in the Channel 9 windbreaker was saying, "missing since last Friday from her exclusive estate in Douglas County. For complete coverage of this breaking story, we now return to—" "My money's on the ex," Jackie said. "With a spread in Castle Pines, he must be paying alimony up the wazoo." "What's a million here or there?"

Pilar parked her square butt on the arm of Jackie's chair. "But my source says it's a sex crime. The bedroom was a mess and they found blood in the drive—" "—eminent forensic psychiatrist," the anchorwoman intoned, "Dr. Richard Hanna, Jr." To her right sat a man in his mid-forties with pale skin and a shock of black hair. "As some of you may recall, Dr. Hanna testified in the case of convicted killer—" "A hunk." Pilar sighed with the resignation of a wo- man never too old to look. "Of course, he only bats for the prosecution. . . ." The camera zeroed in on the psychiatrist. Hanna's aquiline features and startlingly blue eyes would have qualified him for a GQ cover, and the conservative cut of his suit seemed calculated to mute an attractiveness of which he was surely aware. The camera moved to a close-up of his left hand to capitalize on the Channel 9 logo on his coffee mug. No ring. "—suspects in the most heinous crimes in recent memory." The anchor ended her fifteen-second recap of a two-decade career with a smile that was positively kittenish. "Working with these people must be fascinating. Tell me, doctor, have you ever felt in danger?" "My job tends to be more frustrating than dangerous.

" Hanna shrugged with an appealing modesty and Jackie leaned forward. "Modern psychiatry and the legal system are frequently at odds. Courts are geared toward absolutes, yes-or-no answers to questions that are inherently uncertain, whereas psychiatry is ambivalent. We're more concerned with internal motivation, emotional truth—" "I'm sure you're very good at what you do." The anchor licked her whiskers. "Now, what can you tell us about the man who killed Rae Malone?" "Not much, I'm afraid. It would be unethical to provide a real diagnosis for someone I've never met." His voice was low, almost intimate, the diction curiously without inflection, and Jackie wondered where he was from. Was it that soft-spoken tentativeness or Hanna's unwillingness to allow himself to be reduced to sound bites that made you not want to miss a word? "But I will say this. Whoever killed Ms. Malone is almost certainly a psychopath." "Does that mean he's insane?" "Not necessarily. Psychopaths mimic sanity." His eyes were close-set but they drew you. Trust me, they said, I'm here to listen. "They construct a mask of self-control, live a life of deceit while acting out fantasies to deal with a sense of impotence and need for revenge originating in childhood. But inside they're hollow." His tapered fingers spread as if to pluck an image from the air. "You might call them empty suits." "Speaking of suits," Pilar whispered, "he must have a hell of a practice to afford threads like those. And I'd give anything for that head of hair." But Jackie was mesmerized by the vision he had conjured. A walking husk. A hollow man . . . Her gaze wandered to the neat row of AmJurs across from her desk. What would the good doctor say about her if he knew those spines had never been cracked? "Will he strike again?" The anchorwoman leaned forward expectantly. Thirty seconds to kill and the ratings signs in her eyes were dimming. "Who knows?" Hanna shrugged again with mute eloquence. Not too slick or folksy, a nice note to end on— "But I'd venture a guess Ms. Malone wasn't his first victim." The anchor pounced. "Why do you say that?" "I—well, violent patterns are often established early in life. From what I've been told of Ms. Malone's death—" "The decapitation?" she asked sweetly, and Hanna gave a start. She'd sandbagged him; he walked right into it. "We have it from an inside source that body parts were left at two locations north of Coors Field. . . ." "Jeez-us!" Pilar exclaimed. "I'm afraid I can't go into detail," Hanna replied. But his failure to deny that Rae Malone had been beheaded had given the anchor her lead for that night's broadcast, and Jackie couldn't help feeling sorry for him. "Tune in at ten for the latest," the woman purred. Pilar switched off the TV and Jackie settled back in her chair. As she reached for her dictaphone she was still picturing a husk in shiny black wingtips. "The barracudas bite?" Pilar asked sympathetically, but her boss was lost in thought. "In Boulder," she prompted. "We have a solid consent defense. Courtney Briggs bragged to half the sorority the next morning that she had sex with our guy. When he didn't call that weekend, she had to cry rape." "She told you that?" "Didn't have to. She comes from Grand Junction and still wears a training bra, for God's sake! Of course she wants their approval." "But why did her sorority sisters turn on her?" Pilar persisted. "It was a one-night stand. When those girls bag a tight end on the football team, they make sure he's good for a couple of dates. Blaming our guy was the only way for Courtney to save face." "Great!" "Yeah." A guilty victim and a semi-innocent client . . . Richard Hanna had it right. In the courtroom there were no shades of gray, and no place for an attorney who was ambivalent about her work.

Jackie stuffed the recorder in her briefcase and reached for the clunky boots. "I thought you were going to stay and dictate your interviews," Pilar said. "Have to stop at the dry cleaner's before it closes." A white lie, but Pilar wouldn't hold it against her. She'd been claiming she was thirty-nine years old since the day Jackie met her. "

Nothing wrong with Lily, is there?" Pilar demanded. On target as usual, but there was no sense worrying her. "

Of course not," Jackie replied. "Know what you need?" "Besides getting laid?" "A nice, clean murder. Maybe when they bust that guy—" "The Hollow Man?" "Yeah, the Hollow Man." Pilar patted Jackie's arm reassuringly.

"Maybe he'll call." "His brand of deceit would be refreshing," Jackie said, and meant it.

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Blind Spot 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a serial killer loose in Denver, Colorado and the district attorney hasn't a clue. The reader of Blind Spot, a first novel by Stephanie Kane, has many clues as to who dunnit, but they are there to misdirect and confabulate the reader. Enter center stage, a new heroine of the genre of lawyer novels. Enter Jackie Flowers who depends on drawing diagrams in place of notes as a learned tool to compensate for her dyslexia - a disability to some and an advantage to Jackie in her fight to save a client from the net of a politically ambitious district attorney. The ingredients of a good mystery begin and end with plot, character, and style. Blind Spot shows that Ms. Kane is adept at all three. The mystery genre requires a plot that misdirects the reader at every turn. We all want to know who the kiler is before the last chapter. Is it Aaron Best, the accused killer of a wealthy middle-aged wife of a local developer and Ms. Flowers' client? Is it his brother who failed to inherit the family construction business? Or is it any one of a number of other candidates? I dare say that only the most perspicacious of readers will know the answer before the last chapter. That's a plot. Jackie Flowers is surrounded by a truly delicious cast of characters. There is her spark plug Spider driving investigator cum confidante, Pilar Perez, the crusty old judge, the political DA, the forensic psychologist who only testifies for the prosecution, and of course, the serial killer loose in Denver. It is a pleasure to read a courtroom drama that has verisimilitude and that moves the plot along to its ultimate exciting conclusion. And, in the opinion of this trial lawyer, it's not just a good read, it's a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With each page you turn as you read Blind Spot, you are drawn more deeply into the vivid world Stephanie Kane has created. The characters soon become real in your mind, to the point that you find yourself comparing them to people you have heard about or even know personally. Pretty soon the book is simply gripping, and it really is hard to put down even though you know you are staying up too late. Like a good movie, the book reaches into your psyche and leaves an emotional impression. (I found it pleasantly creepy.) This is an engaging and very worthwhile read. The author has sweated every detail, and it shows.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We travel in Colorado so visiting old haunts through Blind Spot was familiar territory. However, the twists and turns of the excellent narrative kept my attention as does driving on a mountain road. There were clues, but I didn't figure out who the killer was until I almost reached the end.I hope that Jackie Flowers and her gang will come back in other Stephanie Kane novels and I look froward to reading them. A real page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
With a book this engaging, who can sleep? Stephanie Kane's plot, characters and dialogue grab the reader by the throat and refuse to let him go. Yet you can't even lament the lost sleep, as this book is so satisfying. What a joy to finally get an expert's peek at the courtroom, the judicial system and the shenanigans of lawyers. But how chilling to step inside a serial killer's head and understand the twisted elegance of his thinking. The conclusion of this novel is a shocker, yet a credible one that leaves you wondering why you didn't identify the culprit sooner. I only wish Ms. Kane had more Jackie Flowers books available. This is a character I want to know even better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best legal fiction novel since Presumed Innocent. Don't miss this exciting journey into a thrilling investigation and trial. As a former prosecutor who currently represents citizens accused of crimes, I appreciated reading a perceptive and sophisticated novel about an exciting criminal investigation and trial. It is so refreshing to read a novel with substance. Jackie Flowers, the central character,has raised the bar for criminal defense attorneys. I will sleep easier knowing that I will never have to face Jackie Flowers in court. The 2000 model of Atticus Finch is a beautiful and brillant female attorney with a big bag of legal tricks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Kane has written a captivating psychologial thriller. Her use of a secondary plot brings added intrigue and suspense to an excellent novel. (This is movie material!) I eagerly await the next installment of Ms. Flowers exploits.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Criminal defense lawyer Jackie Flowers is the perfect all-around heroine. Jackie is the extremely competent adversary, handling her former law school class-mate in the courtroom with ease and aplomb in some of the best courtroom scenes ever written. Jackie is the perfect friend and mentor to her faithful side-kick, Pilar Perez, Jackie's sassy 'thirty-nine year old' assistant and head cheerleader. Jackie is an ideal role model and third parent to Lily, Jackie's preconscious eight year old neighbor who shares Jackie's affliction with dyslexia. Stephanie Kane tells a great story. Her powers of observation are superb and Blind Spot is a thriller that will keep your attention from start to finish. I hope that Jackie Flowers will be a recurring character that we have the chance to meet again soon!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Kane mines much personal experience to produce a start-to-finish thriller that will keep mystery buffs awake till the wee hours. It's not so amazing that a crackerjack defense attorney can create believeable legal narrative. What does astonish one in this debut is cracklingly realistic dialogue, multi-dimensional character development, and stunning plot twists and turns. For someone who rarely picks up a mystery, I found Blind Spot a compelling read. Cheers!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thank you Stephanie Kane for a novel which reads beautifully, touches on the vulnerabilities of the human condition, holds the lucky reader in suspense, and has a totally surprising ending. In short, 'Blind Spot' is a gift to whomever has the privilege to read it. More please!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Blind Spot was an unexpected joy to read. The courtroom scenes in this legal thriller by newcomer Stephanie Kane are dramatic and compelling. Scenes this good could only come from a criminal defense attorney who has lived it and breathed it! This murder mystery kept me guessing all the way to the end. It is truly a cut above anything out there!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an aspiring writer, I am always interested in the first effort of a new author. Two elements of storytelling that are especially challenging are strong character development and solid pacing. Stephanie Kane seems to have mastered these concepts at an early stage in her writing career. Readers will not be disappointed in this novel... it is controlled, compelling, and at points downright thrilling. I eagerly await her next novel to see how she can top this stunning debut. Let's just say Ms. Kane has a new fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Kane's first work will keep readers intrigued right to the very end! The backdrop for Blind Spot is the Colorado Rocky Mountains where protagonist Jackie Flowers has been hired by Aaron Best to defend him in a grisly murder case. The plot is brillantly crafted and will lead the reader through some unexpected twists and turns. Kane's grasp of narration will make readers feel as if they are actually witnessing the scenes as they unfold. Kane has a gift for writing and readers will be anxiously awaiting the return of Jackie Flowers. I highly recommend Blind Spot to those readers who are looking for a fresh, new perspective in legal thrillers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Blind Spot' is an original take on the murder mystery genre. It is compelling and, at times, harrowing. I loved the insight it gives into the mind of a seasoned trial lawyer, something Stephanie Kane clearly understands. She is a remarkable writer, and this is a remarkable book. I had a great time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're a lawyer, and tired of reading books by and about lawyers where your reaction is 'WHAT? That isn't the way it happens!' (and would like to read a book that 'gets it right') this is a book for you. Blind Spot is realistic, a bit 'gritty' (criminal defense ain't beanbag), and has for its lead character a welcome change from the politically correct female lawyer. So meet Jackie Flowers, tough, smart, and kind to small children--all the things a trial lawyer should be. She cares about her clients and about winning her cases (just like you do.) Kane's account is excellent at opening the mind of a trial lawyer and making the reader understand WHY certain choices get made. The courtroom scenes are first rate: the questions are real questions, the rulings (and judicial commentary) all have the ring of truth. You'll like it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Denver, the police arrest Aaron Best for the decapitation rape-murder of his lover Rae Malone. Aaron, the CEO of Best Energy calls the only criminal lawyer he knows, former client Jackie Flowers, whose home was rewired by the firm of the accused last year. Jackie accepts the case.

The evidence against Aaron includes his affair with Rae, testimony by her best friend that it is over, a violent incident with his wife last year, and his semen on her bed. Upon meeting Aaron¿s estranged wife, Jackie believes her client is innocent. Jackie also learns that Aaron¿s alibi is family friendly, depending on outrageous environmental stupidity on the parts of Aaron and his older brother that will most likely destroy the environmental friendly company they own. After obtaining bail for Aaron, similar murders occur leaving Jackie to wonder if she represents a clever psychopathic serial killer?

BLIND SPOT is a well-written legal thriller that will thrill sub-genre fans with the notion a new exciting author has come on the scene with a fresh voice. When Stephanie Kane stays with the prime plot of Aaron¿s guilt or innocence, the story line is excellent. When the author brings in a major twist involving serial killing and subsequent profiling, though that sidebar is intriguing, it slows down the momentum of the main tale. Still, Ms. Kane shows she is quite a talent and readers will want more works starring Jackie, a noteworthy character even with this being her first appearance.

Harriet Klausner