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In my review of the novella THE KNIFE I said that the story was too short for any real character development for Alex Stone and I had no idea of how Joel Goldman would build a new book series around this character. This book gave me some of the answers.
Alex Stone is a public defender dedicated to making sure that the innocent are not convicted - until she meets Dwayne Reed, a scumbag of a drug dealer accused of murdering disfiguring a fellow dealer. While Alex accepts Dwayne's plea that he is innocent she fears that Reed could murder those who give damaging testimony at his trial. After a dramatic conclusion to the trial Alex is very fearful for those involved in the outcome.
The next answer is that Alex has lived with her sapphic and beloved beautiful partner, Dr Bonnie Long, an ER specialist, for seven years. Her worst fears happen when Dwayne is treated by Bonnie for injuries sustained in trying to avoid arrest and when she deliberately makes the treatment more painful than needed Dwayne threatens to find and hurt her. Things then go rapidly downhill as situations run out of control, the body count rises and Alex learns more about the legal system from a personal perspective than she ever imagined.
Most of the book is the kind of edge-of-your-seat legal thriller I expect from Joel Goldman but the finale is over the top stuff that even Perry Mason wouldn't expect. I am intrigued that in the next in the series Alex hasn't learnt any lessons and is still a public defender dedicated to protect the innocent and "Alex becomes the killer's next target".