With her unique blend of courtroom drama and feverish suspense, critically acclaimed author Jonnie Jacobs has won a legion of fans for her Kali O’Brien thrillers. Now the edgy San Francisco attorney is back to handle a simple adoption – and winds up defending her client for murder . . .
Straightforward and short term: that’s precisely the kind of case Kali O’Brien needs at the moment. Yet the Harper adoption makes her uneasy from the start. Maybe it’s because psychologist Steven Cross – a man whose path hasn’t crossed hers since the tragedy that shattered his life and their forbidden relationship years ago – unexpectedly referred the couple to her. Or could it be that Ted and Terri Harper’s previous brush with parenthood ended in heartache when the birth mother changed her mind?
This time around, the former star quarterback and his lovely blonde wife aren’t taking any chances. They’ve even moved pregnant Melissa Burke into their lavish Pacific Heights home. As Kali watches her determined clients shower the lonesome teenager with love and attention, she can’t help wondering just how desperate they are to claim the unborn child. When Melissa delivers a health6 baby girl and promptly signs the final adoption papers, Kali breathes a sigh of relief . . . until Bram Weaver surfaces.
The controversial, chauvinistic radio talk show host announces he’s the baby’s father – a claim Melissa can’t dispute. With a sinking heart, Kali prepares to defend the Harpers in a bitter custody battle that’s certain to end in the birth father’s favor – until the case takes a shocking turn when somebody murders Weaver. Despite Terri Harper’s staunch denial, the police have compelling evidence linking her to the crime, leaving Kali to wonder how far an emotion-fraught new mother will go to protect her child.
Once again, Jonnie Jacobs delivers an explosive, fast-paced thriller infused with authenticity and well-drawn characters. Witness for the Defense is a razor-sharp ride through the ethical dilemmas ripped from today’s headlines.
Jacobs's latest legal thriller (Motion to Dismiss, etc.) will catch the attention of anyone captivated by current scandals involving botched adoptions and bitter custody battles. Following the collapse of her brief love affair with a married man, crackerjack attorney Kali O'Brien returns to San Francisco to single life and a languishing law practice. When psychologist Steven Cross, a grief-stricken widower from Kali's past, refers Terri and Ted Harper to her for what seems like a simple adoption case, Kali accepts. But she is wary because Ted and Terri's previous adoption attempt ended with the birth mother reclaiming her infant. This time Ted, a former quarterback, and his beautiful wife take the extra precaution of moving the pregnant girl, Melissa Burke, into their home until the birth of the baby. Melissa and the birth father both sign the requisite papers, to the Harpers' relief. But their joy is short-lived: when the baby arrives, brash, reactionary radio talk-show host Bram Weaver announces he is the father and sues for custody. Kali prepares to fight an uphill legal battle until Bram is murdered and police arrest Terri based on evidence found at the crime scene. As Kali gathers information about Bram, uncovering his many enemies, her relationship with Cross becomes more personal. And when an eyewitness with a shady past surfaces, she must convince him to testify. Though the deus ex machina ending disappoints, swift pacing, multiple motives and twisting plot lines will satisfy and keep readers guessing.