The Constitution guarantees that everyone accused of a crime is entitled to a defense--even though he or she might actually have committed the offense for which they have been charged. This is bound to cause difficulties for many attorneys--at least for those with a conscience--who find that they must mount the best defense they can even for clients that they personally find reprehensible.
Boston attorney Brady Coyne finds himself in this situation when the son of one of his clients is charged with killing two people while driving drunk. There's no question about the fact that the son was driving the car, that he was legally drunk, that he hit another car and killed two people. But the wealthy father wants his son off the hook.
As readers of this series know, Coyne's one-man law practice is largely confined to administering the affairs of wealthy, mostly elderly clients. He doesn't do criminal defense himself, but acting on the instructions of his client, Coyne finds an excellent defense attorney named Paul Cizek to take the case. Cizek, who is one of Brady's friends, was once a prosecuting attorney with an outstanding record. Since going into private practice he has successfully defended a number of high-profile defendants who have been acquitted as the result of his efforts, which certainly does not mean that they were not guilty.
Such is the case here, and against seemingly impossible odds, Cizek wins an acquittal for the drunk driver who was surely as guilty as sin. But Cizek is troubled by the fact that he is now helping guilty clients escape the consequences of their actions. His marriage is also in trouble and one night, shortly after the trial, he disappears off his boat which he has taken out into a storm.
Did Cizek die by accident? Was he so depressed that he took his own life? Brady Coyne is haunted by the death of his friend and goes searching for answers. Naturally, his quest will stir up all kinds of additional problems that Brady never anticipated, and before long, he will be in considerable trouble himself.
If that weren't bad enough, Brady's own love life has hit a troubled patch. For some time, he has been in a relationship with a newspaper reporter who seems to be his ideal mate. But when she get a chance for a big advancement, it may mean moving away from Boston and may, in turn, have serious consequences for her relationship with Brady.
This is a very good entry in this series. The case is an interesting one, and the reporter, Alex Shaw, is one of Brady's more appealing love interests, and so the reader winds up rooting for them to succeed. All in all, a good read.