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Joan Brady, Bleedout - In Springfield, Illinois,...”

Written on: 06/03/2005 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

Joan Brady, Bleedout - In Springfield, Illinois, someone murders blind lawyer Hugh Freyl in his firm's law library. The police suspect former con David Marion as the killer, though motive seems elusive except for his having been convicted for killing his abusive foster-father and foster brother as a teen; Hugh got David freed from incarceration. In fact, adulation would be more apropos; besides, with the help of his assistant Stephanie Willis getting the inner city young man freed, he mentored David over the objections of his socially-conscious, upper-crust family led by the apt conducting of his mother.

However, David has an iron-clad alibi that proves he could not have killed his teacher though the victim's mother harangues the police and local politicians to arrest him as her son's killer. Knowing that the cops still will not look much beyond him, David and Stephanie begin to investigate Hugh's brutal murder, starting with some seemingly financial wrongdoings at the law firm. Suspects with motives appear all over the city, but who would turn to murder remains difficult to solve.

The insightful description of David's time in prison starting at fifteen will have even compassionate conservatives screaming for reform as Joan Brady makes no pretensions on where she stands on the subject. David and Stephanie are fabulous lead protagonists; through them and the victim's mom, a complete picure of Hugh comes into focus, though sharp differences arise. Though much of Springfield, to include the shrilling mommy dearest, the police, and the scions of society, seem one-dimensional, the amateur sleuth investigation conducted by two strong characters into the life of another well-drawn player provide a fabulous who-done-it with a deep message.

Touchstone, Apr 2005, $24.95, 376 pp.

ISBN: 0743270088

Harriet Klausner

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