A drug-addicted mother is pitted against her daughter's newly rich grandfather in a contentious custody case that leads to criminal accusations and ultimately murder.
"Riveting . . . a suspenseful tale, right up to the satisfying climax," wrote Publishers Weekly in praise of The Judge. "Legal thrillers don't get much better than this." Kirkus Reviews hailed Undue Influence as "the courtroom novel of the year." Now Martini delivers Paul Madriani's most challenging case yet: one pitting a drug-addicted mother against her daughter's newly rich grandfather in a contentious custody case that leads to criminal accusations and ultimately murder.
Having moved to San Diego to be closer to the woman in his life, Madriani takes on the case of Jonah Hale, an elderly man in terrible straits. As a result of their only child Jessica's longtime drug addiction, Jonah and his wife have been raising their eight-year-old granddaughter, Amanda. On the heels of Jonah's multimillion-dollar state lottery win, Jessica revives her interest in mothering. When Jonah won't deal--maternal rights for a mega-bucks payoff--Jessica plays dirty: she accuses the old man of having sexually abused her as a child and similarly abusing Amanda now.
Enter Zo Suade--a flamboyant, feminist activist with a penchant for making the objects of custody battles and their mother/plaintiffs "disappear." True to form, a week after Zo takes on Jessica's case, mother and daughter vanish. When Zo's body turns up, Jonah becomes the prime suspect. And Madriani is the man who can prove his innocence.
Filled with action in and out of court, rich in characters with motives obvious and subtle, The Attorney marks the much-anticipated return of Paul Madriani.
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'...
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