Defense Attorney Sophie Giraudo is about to open a new legal practice in her hometown of San Sebastian, California, when the beloved governer is shot and seriously wounded during a celebration in the town park. The only thing more shocking than the crime itself is the identity of the would-be assassin: a seemingly gentle teenager named Donny. Driven by her desire to understand what could make a person with no history of violence suddenly commit such a terrible act, Sophie reluctantly agrees to take him on as a client, knowing that, at least, it will bring her some income. But soon she realizes that she also has personal motivations for taking the case: a desire to prove to her overbearing mother that she is not the reckless and self-destructive tennager she used to be, to prove to her ex-husband, who happens to be the prosecuting attorney, that she can win her case, and to prove to herself that the traumatic events of her adolescence no longer define her.
As she digs deeper into Donny's past, Sophie begins to suspect that he might not be the cold-blooded killer everyone thinks he is. Does Donny's narcissistic mother really have her son's best interest in mind? Is Donny's mentor who runs Boys Into Men, a program for disadvantaged youths, the altruistic man he claims to be? Is Donny a deranged murderer, or a victim of his circumstances acting out of desperation? As Sophie races to uncover the truth, she is forced to come to terms with her past and to fight for what she knows is right...even if it means risking her reputation and possibly her life.
As if her provocation of local meth dealers during her most recent case weren't enough, attorney Sophie Giraudo gets the rest of her hometown of San Sebastian, Calif., up in arms when she agrees to defend Donny Crider, the 17-year-old accused of shooting popular governor Maggie Duarte, in this headline-driven family drama from Campbell (When She Came Home). Even Sophie herself is less than keen on the assignment until she starts to discover that the case may be murkier than it initially appears. Days earlier, Donny's mother, Elena a nightmarish narcissist obsessed with Maggie pulled him out of the residential agricultural program Boys into Men after threatening to sue charismatic director Roman Devane. As feisty Sophie and laid-back PI Lorne Hampstead dig deeper, they begin to unearth something rotten in San Sebastian. As engaging as the central mystery and fire-and-ice team of Sophie and Hamp are, Campbell's momentum slackens in subplots tied to the theme of dysfunctional families. Less would have made for more, no doubt.