When an innocent woman is ambushed with divorce papers, she must learn to fight dirty
On the wall of his office, high above Washington, DC, Albert Olen Garfield keeps a letter detailing the Mongol sack of Persia. “There is a great shrieking before us,” wrote Genghis Khan’s general, “and an even greater silence behind.” When he’s in the courtroom, Garfield aims for the kind of savage devastation that would make the great Khan proud. He’s a master of total war, a divorce lawyer who takes no prisoners, and his latest target is Serena Tully.
Wife of one of the most brutal players to ever tear his way through the NFL, Serena is blindsided by her husband’s accusations of infidelity and his demands for a divorce. As Garfield rampages through her life, taking her kids and freezing her bank accounts, Serena must resort to guerrilla warfare to protect her family and safeguard what little she has left.
Edgar- and Shamus-winner Schutz (Embrace the Wolf , etc.) makes a brilliant return after a 10-year absence from the publishing lists with a psychological thriller that roils the emotions from shocking start to shattering end. When Tom Tully, ex-pro football player, decides that his wife, Serena, is cheating on him, he sets out to destroy her by legal and extralegal means. Locking her out of the house, taking her (their) kids, leaving her without a cent and undermining her fragile mental health are first steps taken with the aid of a lawyer as unscrupulous as any in memory. Effective use of the legal system is coupled with Tom's cruder methods of launching a numbing, all-out assault on Serena. Court-appointed specialist Dr. Morgan Reece, thorough, objective, decent, offers the first ray of light, but his professional neutrality prevents him from assuming the role of white knight. That's left to retired domestic relations lawyer Lou Carlson, who's moved by Serena's plight to defend her. The battlefield shifts from the terrible brutality and single-mindedness of Tom to the nefarious manipulations of the legal system in deadly concert. Schutz's gut-wrenching story plays out with all the inevitability of a Greek tragedy.