Probate attorney Hollis Morgan is branching out into criminal law. Pardoned after serving time for her then-husband's white-collar crime, she knows something about the workings of the criminal mind. Hollis' first criminal case quickly gets complicated. Her client is a young man initially accused of identity theft, but his charge soon includes murder. Hollis has a knack for detecting lies, and although Justin Eastland lies with every breath, she doesn't believe he is a killer. Eastland is let out on bail as bait, and Hollis struggles to keep her client alive. She enlists the services of her young friend Vince, a former addict she helped get back on track, telling him to not let Eastland out of his sight. At the same time Hollis is handling a sensitive probate matter for a whistle-blower hiding from a revengeful cartel. It has not been easy for Hollis to learn to trust again, and in both these cases, a surprising number of people are not telling her the whole story. She thinks she can sort the truths from the half-truths and the outright lies, but how reliable are her instincts? Hollis' sense of justice does not always consider the law. If she's wrong, her clients aren't the only ones who could lose their lives. The sixth and final book in the Hollis Morgan mystery series.
About the Author
R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco East Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She and her husband currently live in northern California. The Fallen Angels Book Club is her first novel and the first book in the Hollis Morgan Mystery series. You can find R. Franklin on the Web at rfranklinjames.com.
Read an Excerpt
"How did you really get your hands on the Nike bag?"
He held up his hands. "Now, this is the truth, I swear." He scratched his nose. "It's true I saw the Nike bag in the bushes, but … but I saw a dude leave it there."
"So, let me understand … you can identify the real identity thief?"
"Well, no, because it was dark like I said, and I could only see his shape. But I did see him drop the bag."
Hollis looked him in the eyes and scribbled more notes. "Okay, let's move on. Did you open the bag?"
Eastland moistened his lips. "Nah, I just snatched it and ran to my car. And I was driving back to my place when the cops stopped me, and everything fell out of the bag."
"So, until the police stopped you, you had no idea what you had picked up?"
He held up his hand. "I swear."
He was lying.
"How did the stuff slip out on the floor of the backseat if you hadn't left it open?" Hollis leaned back in her chair. "I find it really hard to bel--"
She was interrupted by a loud knock. Two uniformed officers and a deputy sheriff entered the room, followed by a suited man holding out a badge.
"Excuse me, Counselor," the man with the badge said. "I'm Detective Cook with the county sheriff. We're here for your client." He nodded toward the young man. "Justin Eastland," he said, "we are arresting you for the murder of Marguerite Fields." He turned to one of the officers. "Read him his rights." To Eastland, he said, "Please follow us."
For a moment, Hollis stood transfixed as the officer droned on with the required wording, and then she spoke. "As his attorney, I can tell you that he is not talking to anyone. But who can I talk to? What evidence do you have?" She didn't know what bothered her more, that she'd been caught completely off guard, or that her client was silently and without protest allowing the officers to cuff him and lead him out the door.
Detective Cook looked her over and said firmly, "Your client is a murderer, Miz …?"
"Hollis Morgan," she answered quickly. "So you've mistakenly pointed out. How is he linked to this murder?"
"Did he tell you about the Nike bag he said he found?" Cook stepped aside for his deputy to pass through with his prisoner. "Fields' murder was reported yesterday. When our officers went through the Nike bag, they found several pieces of Fields' identification. We got a warrant this morning to search his apartment, and we found more IDs that don't belong to Mr. Eastland. Eastland's prints are the only ones on the bag and the IDs, and that's why we have your client nailed as the killer."