Bestseller Ellis conceals and reveals information like a skilled poker player in his strong fourth legal thriller featuring Midwestern attorney Jason Kolarich (after 2012’s The Wrong Man). Jason, who’s on trial for murder, is sure of only one thing: if he testifies, he won’t tell the truth. The clock turns back six months to when Jason meets beautiful court reporter Alexa Himmel, whom he’s soon dating. He also has an odd-looking new client, James Drinker, who tells Jason that he’s afraid that he’ll be accused of murder. Jason and his partner, Shauna Tasker, begin to suspect that Drinker is guilty of murder, though the victim’s identity isn’t revealed until halfway through the book. Meanwhile, Jason appears to be battling a simple illness that turns out to be something a lot more sinister. Ellis’s own background as an attorney gives weight to the courtroom scenes, and the plot twists keep readers guessing throughout. Agent: Susanna Einstein, L.J.K. Literary Agency. (Aug.)
From Edgar winner Ellis, a complex courtroom thriller filled with tension and twists as the protagonist stands trial for murder. The story opens with the trial but moves back and forth in time. As the reader quickly learns, a man calling himself James Drinker asks attorney Jason Kolarich to represent him for a murder that no one has accused him of, because he "knows" someone is going to frame him. How do people even go about framing a person, Drinker asks conversationally, and Kolarich mentions a variety of ways. But Kolarich soon finds himself on trial for the slashing murder of five women. He's been framed. Can you guess who framed him? Yep, that's right. But why? And how can Kolarich defend himself? He can't talk about Drinker without violating attorney-client privilege, which would destroy Kolarich professionally and not help him legally. It's a great premise made even better by flaws in Kolarich's character that Drinker exploits to the hilt with malicious delight. Many of the short chapters focus on the trial itself, where the prosecution presents a powerful case for sending Kolarich to prison for life. The defendant, by all appearances, has been a successful and honest lawyer. But, in this case, he might have to take liberties with his ethics, including telling lies. And then there is his problem with oxycodone, which can turn out to be almost as dangerous as the murder charge. Luckily, his law partner, Shauna Tasker, has his back. But is that also true for his girlfriend, Alexa, the court reporter? Tasker doesn't think so, suspecting that Alexa may not have her partner's best interests at heart. Hero and villain are both smart and motivated, making for an even match in this exciting drama. Ellis ranks among the best writers in the genre, and this book will keep readers entertained from start to finish.