Excerpt from Her Kind of Case by Jeanne Winer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Her Kind of Case

A Lee Isaacs, Esq. Novel

by Jeanne Winer

Her Kind of Case by Jeanne Winer X
Her Kind of Case by Jeanne Winer
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    Aug 2018, 320 pages

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Kim Kovacs
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"Can I help you?" Lee asked, yanking the door open.

"Oh, you're there."

An attractive middle-aged woman with auburn hair stood up looking appropriately embarrassed. She was wearing a simple but expensive pantsuit, much like Lee's in fact, and carried an elegant green leather handbag on her arm. Her smile was warm and open. Not a potential client unless she had a secret addiction to painkillers or was one of those lonely affluent women who couldn't stop stealing things they didn't need.

"I know it's early," the woman said, still embarrassed, "but I have to be at work at nine and so I thought I'd just pop over and see if perhaps you were an early bird like me."

Lee nodded in the polite noncommittal way she'd perfected for meetings such as this. Only fools rush in. Lee never rushed, and she rarely misjudged.

"May I come in?" the woman asked, peeking over Lee's shoulder in case someone else, an even earlier bird, was already there. "You're Lee Isaacs, aren't you?"

"That's me. What can I do for you?"

"You look exactly the way I imagined, except you're taller. And your silver hair is gorgeous. Lucky you. I started dyeing mine a year ago and I'm already sick of it."

"Pardon?"

"God, listen to me. I sound like a housewife at the gym. In fact, I have an MBA and I'm the head of human resources at The Boulder Tea Company. People fear me." She grinned. "That was a joke, the fear part." She stopped and took a deep breath. "Okay, I'm going to start again. Hi, my name is Peggy O'Neill and I think I want to hire you."

Within the wide acceptable range of normal, Lee decided, and finally smiled.

"Nice to meet you, Ms. O'Neill. Why might you want to hire me?"

"Please call me Peggy. And forgive me. I rarely say the first thing that pops into my head. Well, sometimes I do but only when I'm nervous or upset, which isn't often. My nephew is in trouble. Big trouble."

"Sounds serious." Lee stepped aside and pointed to a large oak chair that faced her desk. "Come on in and let's see if I can help him."

"Thank you. Thank you very much."

As Lee sat down, she brushed the pile of papers to the side and grabbed a blank legal pad off the small credenza behind her.

"So right now," Peggy was saying, "he has a public defender, a young man who seems quite competent but very busy. I have only one nephew. I want to help him and I want him to have the best." She blushed a little, which made her even more likeable. "Anyway, I've called around and the lawyers I spoke to thought this was your kind of case."

Lee knew what they meant: difficult, seemingly hopeless, emotionally draining cases that turn your hair silver. A paranoid schizophrenic stalking the same frightened woman for more than twenty years, a distraught mother suffocating her newborn while her husband was out of town on business, an abused runaway stabbing a social worker who threatened to call her parents—just a few of the many cases where she'd managed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat.

"What's your nephew charged with?"

"Murder," Peggy said, as if she still couldn't quite believe it. "His name's Jeremiah Matthews, but everyone except his parents call him Jeremy. He'll be seventeen in a couple of months, on December 25th actually, which never seemed fair to me. When he was younger and my sister Mary still let me see him, I would always buy him two sets of presents, one for his birthday and one for the holiday." She sat back and glanced around the room. "This is very nice." She pointed at Lee's favorite picture, a print of an odd, curiously compelling purple horse, hanging near the door. "That's a Fritz Scholder, isn't it? I love his paintings."

"I do too," Lee said. "What did you mean by 'still let you see him'?"

"Okay, before she met Leonard, my sister Mary was a smart independent woman who made her living as a graphic designer. She was her own person, a feminist like me. I don't know what happened to her, but I think she was lonelier than she let on. Leonard was this good-looking charismatic man who talked like he had all the answers. He was a serious Christian but not yet a zealot." She shuddered with distaste. "From the moment I met him, I thought he was a creep. I couldn't understand why Mary went for him. Married him! But I love my sister, so I tried as hard as I could to get along with him, never argued when he pontificated about religion or politics." She rolled her eyes, reached into her pocket and pulled out a stick of sugar-free gum. "Would you like one? It's a pathetic substitute for Marlboros."

Excerpted from Her Kind of Case by Jeanne Winer. Copyright © 2018 by Jeanne Winer. Excerpted by permission of Bancroft Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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