From Publishers Weekly
"As usual, the story begins with a woman crying." So says Atlanta lawyer Jack Hammond in this mesmerizing thriller about a good man caught in a web of bad love and murder. Beautiful client Violeta Ramirez is doing the crying on behalf of her dope-dealer boyfriend when Jack tumbles so hard for her his high-flying legal career is grounded and Violeta ends up dead. Two years later, Jack is working out of his one-man law office fishing for clients at the bottom of the criminal pool when he begins investigating the suspicious overdose death of his old college pal, Doug Townsend. With the help of a local hacker, Nightmare, Jack unlocks Doug's computer and stumbles into a quagmire involving the deaths of eight hepatitis C patients who were all enrolled in an experimental drug trial gone horribly wrong. Doug was also strangely obsessed with beautiful African-American opera singer Michele Sonnier, as is Jack after one look at her photos and a night at the opera. That her husband is the billionaire CEO of a local drug firm with its own hep C drug makes the liaison even more dangerous. After finding the disgraced researcher who headed the botched drug trial, Jack and his lowlife helpers begin to make real headway in solving the case. Even though melancholy, wisecracking Jack is a lawyer, this isn't a legal thriller so much as a knight-in-shining armor tale with the hero cast in the mold of the great Travis McGee. It's not Grisham that Arvin (The Will) should be compared to, but the incomparable John D. MacDonald. Those readers who value intelligence, fine writing and action will find it all in this outstanding novel.
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*Starred Review* Doug Townsend is just another overdose as far as the Atlanta cops are concerned. His friend and lawyer, Jack Hammond, doesn't share the cavalier attitude. His suspicions multiply when he learns that Doug's fatal dosage was delivered intravenously despite a lifelong needle phobia. Jack also learns Doug had an obsessive interest in Michele Sonnier, the hottest star in American opera and the trophy wife of Charles Ralston, founder of Horizn Pharmaceuticals. Jack contacts Sonnier and soon learns her well-hidden secret: Michele grew up in Atlanta's poorest, most notorious housing project and had an illegitimate child, whom she gave up for adoption while still a child herself. Doug was tracking down her daughter for her. Did Ralston's company, about to go public with a well-publicized cure for Parkinson's, get rid of Doug rather than allow him to drag the CEO through a scandal? Jack, himself a man with a regrettable past, enlists the aid of a Fagin's army of borderline miscreants to help Michele and, in the process, discover what Horizn is trying to hide. Arvin's first legal thriller, The Will
(2000), generated excellent reviews. His second just might kick him to a whole new level, critically and commercially. He presents love, sex, money, power, and violence in an irresistibly melancholy noir package in which redemption is the motive but hell beckons at every turn. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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