Barbara Holloway's a trial lawyer who tends to take on difficult cases. One involved a woman accused of killing her own child, another involved a mentally handicapped man, and her last one found her entangled in such a mess that it's a wonder she lived through it at all.
But in every previous case she has had some fragment with which she could build an argument. This time out, it seems there's no defense at all.
Lara and Vinny Jessup had a lovely May-December marriage. It renewed his lease on life after a battle with cancer, and it rescued her from a bad first marriage.
Initially, the sheriff out in Loomis County thinks that Vinny died when his car rolled over on a bad curve on Lookout Mountain. Then he finds the gunshot wound. Was it suicide or was it murder? With a large insurance policy as her motive, Lara could have staged the death---or so it appears to the sheriff.
Barbara Holloway finds herself drawn to the Oregon desert to take on this case, accompanied by her associates: her colleague Shelley with her Barbie-doll looks, the inimitable detective Bailey Novell, and her father Frank (who's soon to be a published writer!).
But the case itself is as dead as the desert. Is there any defense at all?
Compelling and distinctive, this drama demonstrates anew why Kate Wilhelm is considered a master of the form.
Kate Wilhelm (1928–2018) was an American author. She wrote novels and stories in the science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres, including the Hugo Award-winning Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, and she established the Clarion Workshop with her husband Damon Knight and writer Robin Scott Wilson.