On a cool night in May, a teenage foster child named Anlya Paulson plummets to her death from a San Francisco overpass. But did she fall…or was she pushed?
Homicide inspectors focus their attention on a likeable but naïve middle school teacher and volunteer foster care advocate. At first, his only connection to Anlya’s death is the meal they shared earlier that night. But soon his story falls apart, and Rebecca Hardy, now an associate at her father’s law firm, is drawn into his defense.
As the case rushes toward trial, Dismas and Rebecca battle an aggressive prosecutor, a disinterested police force, and their own client, who isn’t faring well in jail. When a dying woman’s last words cast a surprising new light on the evidence and problems develop with a key witness, the father-daughter duo begins to glimpse the intricate web that connects the young victim to the city’s complex political and judicial machine. Proving their case in court, however, will be harder, as Rebecca comes to realize that a trial doesn’t always end with the truth.
About the Author
Hometown:El Macero, California
Date of Birth:January 14, 1948
Place of Birth:Houston, Texas
Education:B.A. in English with Honors, UC Berkeley, 1970
Read an Excerpt
The Fall 1
THE BODY FELL straight out of the sky.
Those were the words in her original statement, and that was exactly how it had appeared to Robyn Owen. No foreshadowing, no warning. She had just turned right out of the Sutter-Stockton garage and was about to enter the tunnel when all at once the body fell out of the sky and landed on the hood of her brand-new Subaru. The head bounced against the windshield, shattering the safety glass into a spiderweb. Robyn had slammed on her brakes as she screamed. She’d been going fast enough to send the body flying, rag doll–fashion, what seemed an impossibly long distance in front of her.
The time was exactly 11:03 P.M. on her dashboard clock. She was leaving the parking garage after a nice dinner at Campton Place—and no, she was not drunk!, as she’d told the police officers about a hundred times, blowing into a breathalyzer twice to prove it.
Before turning, she had checked to her left for oncoming traffic in her lane and noted the car about a block down, coming toward her. This turned out to be the BMW that had tried to stop after Robyn had slammed on her own brakes, but still plowed into her after the impact. Robyn hadn’t been speeding. The Beemer had not been speeding, either: It hadn’t forced her to super-accelerate out into her lane; it was a normal safe distance from her when she had turned. Robyn did not lay rubber coming out of the garage. She couldn’t have stopped or slowed to keep from hitting the woman, because she never saw her, never had even a hint of her existence, until she landed on the Subaru’s hood. There hadn’t been anything she could have done that would have led to a different outcome.
And who was going to pay for the repair to her car? Did insurance cover bodies that fell out of the sky? She suspected it did not.