Fresh from law school, Leslie Conners is appointed lead defense council in a volatile first-degree murder case. A 16-year-old girl is accused of shooting her abusive stepfather. The girl claims self-defense, but forensic evidence points to premeditation. Yet aspects of the case don't add up. Like all criminal defense attorneys, Leslie must decide whether she can adequately represent a client she thinks is guilty.

News that she has a rare, life-threatening heart condition couldn't come at a worse time, hurting her concentration on this dizzying case and her relationship with her fiancé.

By the end, Singer ties up a complex plot in a series of satisfying ways. The solution to the mystery becomes obvious a short way into the book, but other issues carry reader interest. However, the main characters are not always as appealing as they should be. (May, 400 pp., $13.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson