PLEA OF INSANITY
More a psychological inspection than a mystery, Hoffman's novel features an assistant prosecutor whose behavior is improbable in many places, as is the plot about the insanity defense. While the characters and the romantic story are interesting, the mystery is left hanging. Still, Hoffman's writing is graceful, and it is an enjoyable read.
New prosecutor Julia Vacanti gets a reputation-making case when well-known Miami surgeon David Marquette is accused of killing his wife and three children. Julia believes she was in part brought on as second chair because she's sleeping with assistant chief of major crimes Rick Bellido.
Marquette's defense team uses an insanity defense, made more complicated when it's discovered that he had a twin brother who was mentally ill. The prosecution believes that Marquette is just trying to escape punishment for the brutal murders, but Julia has a secret that could jeopardize the trial. (VANGUARD, May, 404 pp., $25.95)