Hammond Cross wants to be the district attorney, and for years he has proven himself to be a man of high principles and irreproachable character. When his investigations turn up evidence of the corruption of local tycoon Lute Pettijohn, Hammond has no doubt about what is the right thing to do--even when his own father is under suspicion. However, this simple debate becomes complicated when Pettijohn is murdered and Hammond's alibi is a night of forbidden passion with the suspected murderess, Dr. Alex Ladd.
Brown's quick dialogue, character quirks, and plot twists help give a modern bent to the classic detective tale. While some of the characters prance across the pages with a predictability that would make Dashiell Hammett proud (the drunk-makes-good assistant, the light-hair-dark-history socialite) most of the characters show refreshing individuality. As Hammond's internal conflict intensifies--and the passion and danger do, too--readers will find all criticisms vanishing as they blast their way through this suspenseful page-turner. --Nancy R.E. O'Brien