The marriage between Lara and Vinny Jessup was quite unusual. Vinny was thirty years her senior with grown children of his own. He was also a cancer survivor whose illness returned. The much younger Lara had escaped, with her young son, from a bad marriage. Although Vinny and Lara seemed ill-suited, the marriage worked.

Unfortunately, Vinny dies a tragic death in the Oregon desert, a probable suicide because of his terminal illness. However, evidence shows that it wasnt suicide and Lara is the most likely suspect. Lara is sure she is being framed and she is equally sure that the person responsible for Vinnys death was also responsible for the disappearance and possible death of Vinnys son years earlier. Because of this, and her impending arrest, Lara brings her story to attorney Barbara Holloway.

Barbara is intrigued and sympathetic so she takes her case. However, Lara has nothing but suspicions to go on and in actuality all evidence points to her. Barbara realizes that there really is no defense in this caseand barring a miracle, her client will be convicted.

NO DEFENSE is a satisfying, complicated legal thriller with many exciting twists and turns. Wilhelm builds a strong plot that hooks the reader right from the start. (Jan., 384 pp., $5.99—Hardcover published February 2000)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg