A stained legal career spent defending mob enforcers, two-bit hoods, and other dregs of humanity has left Philadelphia lawyer Victor Carl jaded and resentful -- until a new client appears to offer him an escape and a big payday. Caroline Shaw, the desperate scion of a prominent Main Line dynasty, wants him to prove that her sister Jacqueline's recent suicide was, in fact, murder before Caroline suffers a similar fate.
It is a case that propels Carl out of his courtroom element and into a murky world of fabulous wealth, bloody family legacies, and dark secrets. Victor Carl would love nothing more than to collect his substantial fee and get out alive. But a bitter truth is dragging him in dangerously over his head, and ever closer to the shattering revelation that the most terrifying darkness of all lies not in the heart of a Central American jungle...but in the twisted soul of man.
You can see the dollar signs light up in the eyes of Victor Carl, Lashner's money-hungry Philadelphia lawyer (first seen in Hostile Witness), when he learns that his new client, Caroline Shaw, is one of the filthy rich Reddmans. Caroline wants Victor to use his mob connections to get to the bottom of her sister Jacqueline's death. The police think it was suicide, but Caroline is convinced that it was murder and had a lot to do with all the money her brother Eddie owes a loan shark. There are bigger skeletons than gambling debts, however, in the family closets of Veritas, the Reddmans' exquisitely misnamed mansion. Victor soon discovers that the history of the Shaws and the Reddmans provides ample proof of the old saying that at the source of every fortune is a crime. He also gets trapped within the storm clouds of a brewing gang war that may hold the answers to the Reddman mystery, if only he survives long enough to find them. Energized by crisp and delightfully venal first-person narration, this guided tour through the lifestyles of the rich and nasty teems with clever plot twists and (literally) buried secrets, with greed and revenge running neck and neck as the winning motive of a patient murderer. Think Danny DeVito in the Victor Carl role, and Lashner on the hot list of up-and-coming legal thriller writers. 75,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; simultaneous Harper audio; foreign rights sold in Germany and the U.K.; translation rights: HarperCollins; first serial rights: Ray Lincoln; dramatic rights: ReganBooks.