Excerpt from The Attorney by Steve Martini, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Attorney

by Steve Martini

The Attorney
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2000, 429 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2001, 429 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter One

I can trace it back with precision to one of those fitful weeks in August, when the thermometer hit triple digits for the tenth day in a row. Even the humidity was high; unusual for Capital City. The air conditioner in my car had died and at six-fifteen, traffic on the Interstate was stalled behind an overturned truck-and-trailer rig filled with tomatoes on their way to the Campbell's plant. I would be late picking up Sarah from the sitter's.

Even with this as background, it was an impulsive move. Ten minutes after I got home, I called a realtor I knew and asked the fateful question: How much can I get for the house? Would you come by for an appraisal? The real estate market was heating up, like the weather, so in this respect my timing was good.

Sarah was out of school, in that awkward gap between fifth grade and middle school, and not looking forward to the switch. Her best friends-twin sisters her same age-were in the southern part of the state. I'd met their mother during a legal seminar in which we were both speakers, almost three years ago now.

Susan McKay and her daughters lived in San Diego. Susan and I had been seeing a lot of each other, between monthly trips to San Diego and meetings at the halfway point in Morro Bay. For some reason that adults will never comprehend, the kids seemed to bond at that very first meeting. In San Diego, the weather was cool and breezy. And it held the promise of family life, something Sarah and I had been missing for nearly four years.

We had spent two weeks visiting in early July, part of that in Ensenada, south of the border. I had become infected with the scent of salt in the air, and the facets of the sun dancing on the surface of the sea at Coronado. In the late afternoon, Susan and I sat on the beach as the girls played in the water. The Pacific appeared as some boundless, undulating crucible of quicksilver.

After fourteen short days, Sarah and I bade farewell and piled into my car. As I looked at my daughter, I could read her mind. Why are we going back to Capital City? What is there for us?
It took her an hour in the car to verbalize these thoughts, and when she did, I was prepared with all the cold, adult logic a father can command.

I have a job there. I have to get back.

But you could get another job down here.

It takes a long time for a lawyer to build a practice. It's not that easy.

You started once before. You could do it again. Besides we have money now. You said so yourself.

On this point she had me. I had made a killing in a civil case eight months earlier, a wrongful death that went to the jury. We'd hit a verdict, Harry Hinds and I, like gold bars on the pay line of a slot machine. We'd plucked the insurance company for eight million dollars. It's what happens when a defendant circles the wagons in a bad case. A widow with two children was now financially secure, and Harry and I had been left with a tidy nest egg in fees, even after taxes.
Still, uprooting my practice was risky.

I understand. You're feeling lonely, I told Sarah.

I am lonely, she said.

With that I looked at my daughter sitting in the passenger seat next to me, staring doe-eyed, braces and long brown hair, waiting for an answer that made sense. I didn't have one.

When my wife, Nikki, died, she left a hole in our lives that I have never been able to fill. As we headed back toward Capital City, the nagging question remained: What is here for us?

The corrosive politics and blistering summer heat of Capital City held few attractions and a great many painful memories. There had been the year of Nikki's illness that even now I could not blot out. There were places in the house where, when I turned a corner, I still saw her face. Couples who had been friends no longer had anything in common with a widower approaching middle age. And now my daughter wanted to put it all behind us.

From The Attorney by Steve Martini. (c) Novemeber 1999 , Steve Martini used by permission of the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Fair Fight
by Anna Freeman

A page-turning novel set in the world of 18th century female pugilists.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!