The secretary of state has been murdered in his home. It looks like a robbery gone wrong. It seems the prime suspect is the politician's gardener. But in Washington, D.C., nothing is as it seems. Justice Department lawyer Ben Hartwell is assigned the unenviable task of finding the truth. His greatest obstacle--and ally--is the lawyer for the accused. Together they uncover a lifetime of political intrigues, private indiscretions, personal ememies-and questionable ties to the Chinese Government--in the victim's high-level career. But was the secretary of state merely a puppet in a vast conspiracy? And if so, who cut the strings? The answers could expose America's darkest secrets--and silence anyone who digs too deep.
John Grisham and Richard North Patterson may have a new successor in Topol. The Washington D.C. lawyer's second thriller (after Spy Dance) exposes a power-hungry group of people in the White House's inner sanctum. When womanizing Secretary of State Robert Winthrop is murdered, Washington's top brass push for a quick conviction of Winthrop's African-American gardener, even though many doubt his guilt. Eventually, federal prosecutor Ben Hartwell and Gillis's attorney, Jennifer Moore (also Hartwell's old flame), team up to uncover an intricate operation linking Winthrop's murder to officials in the Chinese government who loathed the secretary for supporting arms build-up in Taiwan, and to someone who may have close ties to the Oval office. Suspicions fall on a broad cast of characters, including the President's chief of staff and a young FBI agent appointed to the case. As entertaining as it is complex, this energetic narrative is loaded with close calls and compelling relationships. While keeping track of the numerous key characters isn't always easy, Topol weaves a convincing conspiracy theory.