…“In her three years as a prosecutor, never had her job affected her the way it had today. Never before had a case…rushed back to consciousness the horrible memories her brain had long since purposely displaced. Memories that nightmares were made of…”
Julia Vacanti --- young, beautiful, intelligent, with a promising legal career ahead of her --- harbors a dark past that she has spent years trying to forget. Now that dark past threatens to surface with a vengeance that may ruin her if she cannot find a way to control it.
Dr. David Marquette, a successful surgeon, father and surviving twin of a schizophrenic brother, apparently went berserk one night and slaughtered his entire family. It didn’t take the police long to focus their investigation on him as the one who violently stabbed his wife and children. Everything pointed to him as the killer.
Prosecutor Rick Bellido --- handsome, confident, smug --- knows he has a slam dunk in State vs. Marquette. For his own reasons, Rick asks Julia to second chair in the courtroom for the upcoming trial. Julia hopes it isn’t just because of their personal relationship, which has become pretty hot and heavy lately. Whatever the reason, she jumps at the opportunity, for this could cement her career.
It really should be a cakewalk. The evidence is solid. It’s a high-profile case that the media can’t get enough of. Plus, the case against Dr. Marquette will go forward on a timeline that will spotlight Rick and, if handled right, could bolster his bid for advancement come the next election. And lovely Julia will look good next to him at the prosecutor’s table. What could possibly go wrong?
Julia, thrust into sudden fame, finds her success coming at her a little too fast. Her experience has never included a murder case. She is thrilled to have Rick’s attention, but did he name her as his co-counsel so she would keep the sexual favors coming? Is he merely trifling with her for now? Just having some temporary fun? Or, worse, is he seeing someone else at the same time? Julia learns the answers to these questions too late. Hopefully, she won’t make the same mistake in the courtroom.
Meanwhile, the doctor’s defense attorney surprises them all with a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. That puts a whole different spin on the state’s approach to their case. It also puts Julia in a tough position, one that will send her spiraling down into her most dreaded memories and will threaten to tear apart what’s left of her family.
Jilliane Hoffman --- an Assistant State Attorney in Miami between 1992 and 1996, and author of the international bestsellers RETRIBUTION and iggulden WITNESS --- writes with an authenticity born of personal experience. Her courtroom scenes throb with vivid realism. The players in their roles of judge and attorneys pulse with judicial life. PLEA OF INSANITY will keep you on the edge of your seat as the jury brings in their surprise verdict. You will want to be there when they do.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on June 2, 2011