William Bernhardt's bestselling novels featuring Oklahoma defense attorney Ben Kincaid capture the bare-knuckles reality of high-stakes criminal defense, as lofty ideals of justice clash with power, corruption, and wealth. In Capitol Murder, Bernhardt's hard-charging hero takes on his most shocking, headline-making case yet. Kincaid's legal success has earned him a dubious reward: a journey through the looking glass into the Beltway. Here, in the heart of the nation's capital, a powerful U.S. senator has been caught first in a sordid sex scandal, then in a case of murder. Senate aide Veronica Cooper was found in a secret Senate office beneath the Capitol building, on Senator Todd Glancy's favorite couch, blood pouring from the knife wound in her throat. The young woman's death comes on the heels of the release of a sordid videotape depicting her and Senator Glancy in compromising positions. With the senator's reputation in tatters, the evidence against him-as a sexual predator and possibly a killer-mounts. By the time a nationally televised murder trial begins, Kincaid and his team know they're facing the challenge of a lifetime.
In Bernhardt's somewhat predictable 14th thriller to feature ace Oklahoma trial lawyer Ben Kincaid (after 2004's Hate Crime), Ben goes to Washington, D.C., to defend his home state's senior senator on a murder charge. Sen. Todd K. Glancy, a former law school colleague who later became "a successful and fabulously wealthy oil magnate" (a fact Ben's mother never lets her son forget), has been caught on video in flagrante with a much younger intern. Soon after the video is shown endlessly on television, the young woman is found dead in a tunnel leading from the Capitol to the Senate offices, and Glancy is charged with her ritual murder. Worst of all, Ben begins to distrust his own client, though dropping the case would be a political and financial disaster. The author has obviously had fun with his research, letting Ben and his team wander around the seats of power, making observations that range from the ironic to the openly gung-ho touristy. If Bernhardt occasionally makes Margaret Truman's books look shrewd and sardonic by comparison, his zeal should please his loyal readers. Agent, Daniel Strone at Trident Media Group. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 31, 2006
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Excerpt from Capitol Murder by William Bernhardt
As Ben Kincaid peered at his client through the acrylic screen, he was startled by how appealing, how downright cute she still looked. Usually, the first few weeks behind bars took a terrible toll on first-time inmates. The lack of sunlight, the coarseness of the company, the absence of hair care and beauty products, the low-watt institutional lighting, the inevitable depression--all conspired to make the newly incarcerated appear as if they had emerged from the ninth circle of hell.
But not Candy Warren. Somehow Candy had managed to retain her fresh-faced charm. When her father first introduced her to Ben, he had compared his daughter to Lizzie McGuire--perky, effervescent, goofy but lovable. Two weeks in the slammer and a switch from Gap jeans to TCPD orange coveralls hadn't changed any of that. She was still adorable. She even had her hair up in pigtails.
"So you've talked to my daddy?" she asked, speaking into the telephone receiver that allowed them to communicate.
"Yes," Ben answered. "He's worried about you, of course. But I assured him we would do everything we could. And I got him the present you wanted to send. The Hilary Duff poster."
"Oh, that's wonderful." Ben loved the way her nose crinkled when she laughed. "Can you believe it? The man is in his sixties, and he's crazy about this girl who's barely a teenager. Isn't that wild?"