"In a courtroom, David Sloane can grab a jury and make it dance. He can read jurors' expressions, feel their emotions, know their thoughts. With this remarkable ability, Sloane gets juries to believe the unbelievable, excuse the inexcusable, and return the most astonishing verdicts. The only barrier to Sloane's professional success is his conscience - until he gets a call from a man later found dead, and his life rockets out of control." "The call is from Joe Branick, special assistant and personal friend of the president of the United States, made just hours before Branick eats his gun. In a single moment, the death of a man Sloane has never met propels the jury master out of his successful career and into a whirlwind that is shattering lives from San Francisco to Washington, D.C." To get back his life, Sloane needs to know more. About Branick. About others who are in as much danger as he is. And about the president and his gun. But in the face of a secret that spans decades and governments, and puts billions of dollars at risk, there's one thing David Sloane can't possibly envision - that this runaway conspiracy is all about him - and only he can stop it.
The most impressive thing about this gripping legal thriller is what it doesn't do. Dugoni, a lawyer who coauthored a nonfiction book about an Idaho worker brain-damaged in 1996 by cyanide fumes, opens his debut novel with a wrongful death attorney in San Francisco, David Sloane, about to make his closing remarks defending a corporation in a similar case. Sloane, who has won 14 cases in a row, hates his arrogant client and must face an obviously hostile jury. But instead of devoting many chapters to the case, Dugoni quickly moves into some unexpected and very interesting territory: a recurring childhood nightmare Sloane shares with former CIA agent Charles Jenkins, apparently a complete stranger. Meanwhile, unstoppable West Virginia police detective Tom Molia investigates the suicide of a top adviser to the president, and what he finds draws Sloane and Jenkins closer to the truth behind their shared terror: an international conspiracy 30 years in the making. All of Dugoni's characters have a fresh and believable edge, and there is plenty of action in far-flung settings. One looks forward to Sloane's return. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Grand Central Publishing
March 20, 2006
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