It's July, 1975 and an overworked Chicago police force receives a call that an 85-year-old white man has been attacked by a gang of black youths on the lakefront in Burnham Park. Amid public outrage, contentious Mayor Richard J. Daley commands his police to find the killers fast and make the bucolic park safe again. Uncommonly but fortunately for the police, twelve-year-old James Overstreet steps forward and identifies five of the six assailants and arrests are made. But detectives and county attorneys bungle the case, leaving the judge no choice but to release the accused. This startling turn of events jeopardizes James's life, forcing the entire Overstreet family into witness protection in Arizona, and creates a nightmare that will haunt the brave witness forever. Fast-forward thirty years. The stoic young man has grown to become Maricopa County's most feared prosecutor. But his life is about to be turned upside down when paths from the past cross into the present, veering toward a shocking climax.
Bad writing and a ludicrous plot mar Marco's debut thriller. In 2005, Stan Kobe, known as Maricopa (Ariz.) County's most ruthless prosecutor, snaps when, at a friendly barbecue, his close friend homicide detective Brian Hanley shows him a baseball bat that Hanley says was used to set a home-run record. Kobe's reaction is so extreme that he pulls his family away from the celebration without explanation. The middle of the book consists of an extended flashback to 1975 that gives the backstory behind Kobe's freak-out, which won't be much of a surprise given the too-revealing prologue. The final third returns to 2005 for an over-the-top windup. A violent conclusion featuring gang members and an African-American senator from Illinois believed to be a viable candidate for the White House reads like bad David Baldacci, replete with clich d situations.