A young Vietnamese immigrant is brutally slaughtered by a crossbow. The prime suspect is a ruthless member of a white supremacy group.
When attorney Ben Kincaid reluctantly agrees to confer with the presumed murderer, he encounters a chilling certainty: an innocent man has been cast as a scapegoat. To rebalance the scales of justice, Ben chooses to represent the accused man--thereby placing both attorney and client at the explosive center of a community torn apart by xenophobia, racism, and violence.
But the real fireworks will go off in court--in an incendiary murder trial with more twists than a dustbowl tornado (.
"REWARDS ITS READERS WITH A GENUINELY SURPRISE ENDING WHILE ALSO RAISING SERIOUS ISSUES."
--The Orlando Sentinel
About the Author
As an attorney, William Bernhardt has received several awards for his public service, and (in 1993) he was named one of the top twenty-five young lawyers in the nation. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his wife, Kirsten, and their children, Harry and Alice.
Read an Excerpt
Rising to begin his cross-examination, Greg Monarch stared hard at Sandy Polson. She smiled faintly, tilted her head, held his gaze. In her eyes, he searched for a sign of madness, for evidence of where she'd been, where she now dwelled. He saw nothing.
If only the jurors could know her as he did. That was not possible though. He'd been shown her confidential presentencing report on the sly. There was no chance he could introduce something so remote in time, involving a witness's minor years. Hedgespeth had snorted when Greg tested that issue in chambers. Her drug dealing conviction he could get in, but nothing more. If she were to be further revealed, it would have to be by her present conduct in this courtroom.
How to bring that about? How to unnerve a witness who had no nerves? As Greg mulled that question, the spectators in the courtroom leaned forward with anticipation.
"Ms. Polson," Greg began. "You are still being held in the Chumash County Jail, facing charges related to the murder of Bob Wilson, are you not?"
"Yes, I am."
"And you have been in the Chumash County Jail awaiting trial since the day of your arrest?"
"Yes, that's true."
"And you still are negotiating what you finally will be charged with?"
"Yes, I am."
Greg was thinking again of Joe Hilliard's trial. Frankie, testifying against Hilliard, insisted he'd cut no deals with the prosecutor. Only later, when Hilliard was sitting on Death Row, did Greg find a confidential memo in the case file. . . .
"And is it true," Greg asked Sandy, "that your case has been continued from time to time to allow you to testify against Ira Sullivan?"
Dennis Taylor jumped up. "Objection, as to why the case was continued."
Hedgespeth waved him down. "Overruled."
Sandy Polson looked almost as if she were going to reach out and place a calming hand on Greg's arm. "Yes, it has been continued for that reason."
"Are you expecting any benefits in your case from your testimony?"
"I haven't been promised anything, no."
"So will you tell us why you're testifying here today?"
Sandy regarded him gently. "Because I don't feel anyone should get away with murder, Mr. Monarch."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Kincaid series are always enlightening, this one in particular. Hate crimes are heinous and the insight from both sides is breathtaking. Makes you know that you must consider all sides before drawing conclusions