“This one is fresh, intelligent, and emotional with a plot that envisions an alternate reality hard to dismiss as unreal. It’s a legal thriller, with a big twist, stirring and imaginative, brimming with skullduggery, that will have you asking: is this possible?”-- New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
Better Call Saul meets Ben Winter's The Last Policeman in this first volume in an explosive legal thriller series set in the world of Tropic of Kansas—a finalist for the 2018 Campbell Award for best science fiction novel of the year.
Defeated in a devastating war with China and ravaged by climate change, America is on the brink of a bloody civil war. Seizing power after a controversial election, the ruling regime has begun cracking down on dissidents fighting the nation’s slide toward dictatorship. For Donny Kimoe, chaos is good for business. He’s a lawyer who makes his living defending enemies of the state.
His newest client, young filmmaker Xelina Rocafuerte, witnessed the murder of an opposition leader and is now accused of terrorism. To save her from the only sentence worse than death, Donny has to extract justice from a system that has abandoned the rule of law. That means breaking the rules—and risking the same fate as his clients.
When Donny bungles Xelina’s initial hearing, he has only days to save the young woman from being transferred to a detention camp from which no one returns. His only chance of winning is to find the truth—a search that begins with the opposition leader’s death and leads to a dark conspiracy reaching the highest echelons of power.
Now, Donny isn’t just fighting for his client’s life—he’s battling for his own. But as the trial in the top secret court begins, Xelina’s friends set into motion a revolutionary response that could destroy the case. And when another case unexpectedly collides with Xelina’s, Donny uncovers even more devastating secrets, knowledge that will force him to choose between saving one client . . . or the future of the entire country.
Possession is nine-tenths of the law, and this intense near-future legal thriller tries to find solace in that final tenth. A prequel to Brown's 2017 dystopia, Tropic of Kansas, it features the same all-too-real political and cultural crackdowns on civil liberties, cheered on by a substantial fraction of the American people. Donny Kimoe, a former prosecutor and corporate attorney exiled to pro bono cases, is the public defender for accused terrorists whose crimes are trying to reform a broken America that has suffered the loss of Hawaii to a victorious China. While begging the White House for clemency for a death row client, Donny also works on uncovering the murderer of a popular Houston politician whose death is tied to mysterious corporate interests. Donny, smart and smart-mouthed, provides a glimmer of hope that the usurpers of the Constitution may be beaten at their own game, "one case at a time." Interpersonal drama fuels the story as much as legal maneuvering, and Brown keeps tight control of his narrative even as this alternate America slips its gears. Fans of Tropic of Kansas will like this prequel even better, and it's very accessible to new readers.