Carmela Jared is practicing law in her small hometown, San Carlos, New Mexico, when JUDGE SALAZAR upsets her world by appointing her to represent the REVEREND PAUL MORRISON, pastor of a very conservative church, who has been charged with sexual abuse of a child. She is reminded of the scandals of Catholic priests in New Mexico who have been accused of similar acts, but never criminally charged. Knowing the public will demand a conviction, she hastens to turn down the appointment, claiming she has a conflict of interest, but she hesitates to reveal that conflict, if indeed it is one. She and the pastor have been spinning partners in a local gym, and she is embarrassed to admit she finds him romantically attractive, even daydreaming that he returns her interest.
She cannot believe the charge that PAUL improperly touched CODY STOKES, one of the cub scouts in his church den. JUDGE SALAZAR challenges her claim of conflict of interest and insists she is best suited to win this case…which appears to be a certain loser. That conclusion seems foregone when, at her jail interview with the minister, Paul reveals he is secretly gay. This seems like a guarantee that the case is unwinnable, especially since many people believe all gays are pedophiles. It also complicates her close friendship with police captain TRAVIS HAWK, who admits to being homophobic and vociferously objects to her defending the gay man. These problems further increase the severity of the migraine headaches she’s suffered since her hippy parents abandoned her at age six.
Carmela believes her best chance of winning this case is to find the real predator. Marvin Stokes, Cody’s stepfather, appears to be a candidate. He is the primary suspect in the rape of a fifteen-year-old girl at the stable where he works. However, when his wife Lucille is led to believe he has abused her son, she takes a definitive action.
Carmela is left only with the hope that Judge Salazar will dismiss the case for lack of evidence. Cody has not named his predator, there is no physical evidence of abuse, nor witnesses to the act. However, she can find legal case support for this argument only from other states, and it is not mandatory for New Mexico courts to follow their lead.
Carmela’s private eye, HARRY RODRIQUEZ, and her secretary, ROSEMARY, add humor to Sierra's world and keep her grounded. They stand by her side when the trial comes to a shocking conclusion.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Love Is a Legal Affair, writer Maxine Neely Davenport creates twists and turns in the convoluted mystery of a complex trial on a current topic, child abuse by the clergy. Attorney Carmela Jared struggles to deal with the constantly changing investigation forced on her as the appointed attorney for the defense. Davenport also keeps the reader engrossed with uncertainties in the romance between Carmela and Detective Travis Hawk, who seems ‘on again’ and then ‘off again’ in their relationship, as he deals with issues in his life. This is a fun and interesting read for anyone who likes a good mystery with many unexpected twists of the plot on about every page.