Author ~ Scott Pratt
Publisher ~ Onyx
Publication date ~ November 2008
Pages ~ 368
ISBN ~ 0451412656
From Amazon ~
A preacher is stabbed to death in a Tennessee motel. The suspect is a waitress at a strip club. Defense attorney Joe DillardÂ’s too burnt out to defend anyone he knows in his heart is guilty. Then he meets the vulnerable AngelÂ—the accused, incriminated by circumstantial evidence. DillardÂ’s sure sheÂ’s not capable of killing anyone. What Dillard doesnÂ’t count on are the others drawn into the storm of the stunning crimeÂ—from the vindictive detective to the victimÂ’s avenging son to DillardÂ’s own deeply troubled sisterÂ—all of whom will help to erase the line between guilt and innocence, and between an unthinkable lie and the unbelievable truth.
My thoughts ~
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Phillip Landers is an arrogant womanizer, a boozer, one to not always play by the rules, and he’s looking to settle a score. If the bad guy ends up behind bars, does it really matter how he got there? So what if a few rules were broken. It’s the end result that counts. Defense Attorney Joe Dillard is over defending one scum ball after another. He’s finishing up his last few appointed cases before he switches teams and heads over to the other side, the prosecution. There is just one last thing he wants, and that’s An Innocent Client. He just wants one, one he knows in his heart is completely innocent of the charges leveled against them. And he just may have found that case.
Preacher John Tester is found murdered and missing a vital organ in a local motel. The investigation quickly leads the TBI to The Mouse’s Tail, a “gentleman’s club” owned by Erlene Fowler. It soon becomes apparent that Erlene (who practically steals every scene she is in) is hiding something, we just don’t know what it is yet. Then Angel Christian, a waitress at the Mouse’s Tail, who is a young, beautiful, timid runaway that Erlene has taken under her wing, is arrested for the murder, and Erlene begs Joe to take the case. Joe is determined to refuse the case, he wants out of the business, he’s done. But then two things happen: he meets Angel and can’t picture her committing murder, and Erlene offers him more money than he’s ever made on one case. How can he say no? The money will help provide for his family since he will be working as a lesser-paid prosecutor, and Angel will finally be the one innocent client he’s been looking for. Unfortunately this isn’t the only case Joe is dealing with. He has a few other death row cases he’s trying to resolve, with clients that are so demented they should be locked up 24/7, never seeing the light of day again. What these men have done, and will do, will make your insides curdle. And if all of this isn’t enough, Joe is also dealing with his mom being in a nursing home and his drug-addicted, thieving sister. A sister who holds a dark secret, a secret Joe is part of and has so much guilt over.
As a former lawyer, Scott Pratt knows what he writes about. The jailhouse visits are vivid and realistic, the people are tough and very true to the character roles they play, and the courtroom scenes are on par with any John Grisham or Scott Turow book that I’ve read. I can’t wait to read the next Joe Dillard book to find out if defending those that may in fact be innocent finally appeals to Joe and he remains a defense attorney, or if he still wants to become one of the good guys, a prosecutor. Scott Pratt hits his first legal thriller solidly out of the park. A brilliantly twisted tale of deceit, murder and the truth, that will have you shaking your head in amazement and wondering – is it really over?
About the author ~
Scott Pratt has been writing for nearly his entire life.
He started as a contributor to a high school publication, then won the McClellan Award for outstanding writing while majoring in English at East Tennessee State University.
He later worked as a newspaper reporter, columnist and editor for daily papers in Johnson City and Kingsport, Tennessee. Scott earned a law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1998 after commuting over two hundred miles a day for three years.
Scott and his wife Kristy have raised two wonderful people, Dylan and Kody, both of whom are currently pursuing their dreams at the collegiate level.
Three dogs now demand Scott’s attention at home: a German Shepherd named Rio, a Yorkshire Terrier named Pedro, and a Bichon Friese named Nacho. When he isn’t writing, he’s reading, watching sports on television, exercising, mowing his yard, or thinking about writing.
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Other books in the Joe Dillard series ~
FTC Full Disclosure ~ I purchased this book for my Kindle.