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Desperate Measures (2001)
by Kate Wilhelm
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031227663X, Hardcover)Oregon lawyer Barbara Holloway and her father, Frank, formerly her partner, find themselves on opposite sides in the murder of Gus Marchand, a case with two suspects. Kate Wilhelm gives this smoothly told version of "Beauty and the Beast" an interesting added dimension, since the relationship between the two equally hardheaded and talented lawyers has usually been collaborative, at least professionally. But when the school principal, who's Frank's client, dies under mysterious circumstances, Frank's determined not to let Barbara pin the blame on the dead woman in order to deflect attention from her own as-yet-unidentified client. By the time Frank learns that the defendant in question is Alex Feldman, a horribly disfigured and immensely secretive young man who was accused by Marchand of stalking his teenage daughter, the reader has begun to understand why Barbara is so convinced of Alex's innocence in Gus's death and so determined to protect him from public scrutiny.
Alex is a man with a secret: was Frank's late client (and friend) killed to protect it? As usual, Wilhelm devises a clever plot and peoples it with a cast of well-developed, fully human and complex characters. There's Alex himself, who's found a way to cope with the circumstances of his disfigurement and the rage and bitterness that might otherwise have consumed him; Graham Minick, the elderly doctor who has been his friend and confidante since he was a teenager; and Shelley, Barbara's beautiful young associate, who sees beyond Alex's ugliness and into his heart. By the time the trial of the man they call "the devil's spawn" begins, Frank and Barbara are on the same side, but it's the younger Holloway's star turn in the courtroom, which is where the novel really shines. A solid page turner that should delight the prolific Wilhelm's (No Defense, Defense for the Devil) many fans. --Jane Adams
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:27 -0400)
Gus Marchand, a hard-working, god-fearing man, has been found dead on his kitchen floor. Without any real evidence, the locals cast their suspicions toward Alex Feldman, Marchand's hideously deformed neighbor. At the request of a fellow attorney, Barbara agrees to defend him. But another suspect is the high-school principal, Hilde Franz, who'd had a contretemps with Gus earlier that week. He had threatened to have her investigated and Hilde was seen near Marchand's property around the time of his death, giving police both a motive and an opportunity for murder. Hilde also happens to be an old friend of Barbara's father, Frank, so naturally he's going to defend her. Will Barbara have to square off against the man who taught her all she knows?
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